Journey - PS3

Game Description: Flower developer thatgamecompany returns with a brand-new game called Journey. Set in a desert environment and sprinkled with MMO (yes, MMO) elements, Journey seems poised to turn gaming conventions on their head all over again.
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Gamescom 2010: Journey Preview

Gamescom 2010: Journey Preview

By Jem Alexander - Posted Aug 20, 2010


What We Know:

Journey is ThatGameCompany's third game for the PSN, after flOw and Flower. It's a whimsical adventure through a ruined civilization, with one very interesting premise. You'll meet other players taking their own journeys along yours. We learned more about how the game plays and the backstory of the world in an extended demonstration at gamescom.

What We're Seeing Now:

At times it feels like Jenova Chen, co-founder of independent developer ThatGameCompany, is constantly coming up with the most ludicrous game concepts possible. They just keep getting accidentally green-lit.

"You play a floating petal on the breeze. Inside a plant's dream." This was probably the random thought which, when verbalized, led to the excellently atmospheric and relaxing PSN title Flower. The developer's third title, Journey, has an even stranger premise. "A man made of cloth explores ruins of an ancient civilization in a desert as he journeys towards a distant glowing mountain."

Of course, Journey seems to be so much more than that. You'll find the same eerie, yet weirdly comfortable atmosphere that was present in Flower, but with more emphasis on exploring the game's desert environment for clues about what event 2000 years in the past saw the destruction of such a civilization. This will be achieved without a single word of dialog or text box, we're promised. It also sounds quite optional. If your personal journey is one of ignorance and haste towards the end goal, it's possible to miss hidden areas containing the world's backstory.


That sense of wonder and of discovering the world around you is what Chen is ultimately trying to replicate with Journey. With Wikipedia and Google Maps all the information about the world around us is at our fingertips. The world in Journey is unmapped and enigmatic. It's hard not to wonder why giant walkways jut from the sand and where that set of giant stone steps lead.

Of course, it helps that the game is absolutely gorgeous. Sand flows realistically while pieces of cloth billow satisfyingly in the wind. The world is made up of warm yellows, oranges and reds as you look towards the distant horizon. This horizon line is where you'll find your ultimate goal, a mountain bathed in light. You're not told you need to go there. You just know.

While Journey is very much a single player game, it is enhanced with a multiplayer mode. As online multiplayer is something ThatGameCompany has never done, Chen was eager to try and tackle it with his third title. As you explore the desert you will see other players who are also exploring the same area. It's up to you to ignore them or try to communicate. As there are no words (and no headset support) your only method of conversation is to sing at them.

There will only ever be one other player inside your game at a time. Chen didn't want the desert to be overrun with players as it would ruin the atmosphere of the empty and desolate environment. This means that meeting up with someone in your world feels special. Chen was keen to state that the game can be completed on your own, but it will be a lonely experience.

Your singing ability (a short chime that is reminiscent of many sounds in Flower) is one of the few actions you can perform, alongside jumping. With these you'll take part in the actual gameplay of Journey, which involves taking advantage of the cloth that is found all over the desert. Because the main character is made of the same material, he reacts to any cloth he comes across, allowing him to float and access higher, harder to reach areas.

Solving simple environmental puzzles might unlock some new sections of cloth, or give you material fragments. These form a scarf around you, allowing you to fly for a short amount of time. Singing near these fragments will draw them towards you.

Other non-player characters do exist in the world, and we met up with a figure which reminded us of No Face in Spirited Away, except both his cloak and mask were a brilliant white. When asked whether Hayao Miyazaki was an inspiration for the game, Chen said that quite a few people had been making a similar comparison between White Mask and No Face, joking that perhaps he should change the design before the game ships. At least, I hope he was joking.

Once again it looks as if ThatGameCompany is creating a mysterious, atmospheric world which I can't wait to explore. Journey's stunning visuals, along with its realistic sand effects and simple yet engaging gameplay means that its nebulous 2011 release date is painfully far away. Perhaps once the game is finally available you and I will be taking the Journey together.

Comments are Closed

  • ..Unknown..

    This looks SO interesting...can't wait.

    Posted: August 24, 2010 8:54 AM
  • kiwasabi

    I wonder when Jenova Chen will finally admit that Journey was inspired directly from playing my game Flytrap. I guess he'll probably do it once my game is more successful than his.

    Posted: August 22, 2010 4:02 PM
  • Sablicious

    Very Shadow of the Colossus-y. Nice!

    Posted: August 22, 2010 8:57 AM
  • houdini pro

    Same here Losarot

    Posted: August 21, 2010 10:44 PM
  • Losarot

    This actually makes me wish i had the Ps3
    this game has such an innovative concept and the urge to simply explore freely,
    good game and i hope it comes out to be as good as it sounds

    Posted: August 21, 2010 8:25 PM
  • JoshuaCorning

    I am surprised a game like this was not made 10 years ago....in fact i am surprised that a tool suit does not exist that could be used by anyone to mak ea game like this is not sold retail.

    My guess exploration games such as this one have only just now become possible because of online stores to give it an audience.

    Anyway i hope this does well....I want to see more world exploration games like this.

    Posted: August 21, 2010 4:45 PM
  • DragonRider6

    This concept sounds amazing and truly unique. I'm a bit skeptical of the "singing" and "cloth" thing, but if it woks, i won't complain. I love the comparison to Spirited Away. If this game is anything like any Miyazaki movie, my breath will be taken away once more.

    Posted: August 21, 2010 3:20 PM
  • ZBlaster700

    Cannot wait. Too intriguing

    Posted: August 21, 2010 3:17 PM
  • marcusdjackson

    this indeed is a great looking game.

    Posted: August 21, 2010 9:42 AM
  • MasterNoble6

    Tight! I thought I was the only one who wanted single player campaigns to run across eachother while playing, without having to actually play co op style campaign. Multiplayer n co op is definately cool, but Id like to see something different.
    Imagine if red dead single player missions had it so everyone you came across was not AI but real person. like if everyone had their own role to play besides john marston. Could be sik.

    Posted: August 21, 2010 8:21 AM
  • SkyCrawler


    Posted: August 21, 2010 7:48 AM