Journey Officially Announced
thatgamecompany has made official that which was leaked earlier this week, and announced Journey on their official web site. The announcement for the game is somewhat unorthodox, with a somewhat lengthy piece having been written by Jenova Chen on their blog. Chen describes Journey as an experience in which the player is meant to notice everything. He puts it best in his piece;
“In today’s society, man is powerful – We can travel at 60 mph; we can fly; we can connect with just about anyone, anywhere, at anytime. But on the street, people pass by each other ignoring the wonderful existence of other beings. We are overwhelmed by the attention needed to gain and execute our own power – just like we are in most video games. While we are doing that, we can become isolated and insecure deep inside our mind.
On the contrary, when we are hiking in the wild, we become tiny and weak again. These feelings make every other person we encounter much more important and enjoyable. We greet them, giving them genuine and useful help. We might travel together for a period, learn from and rely on each other. Struggling against the dangerous nature together, somehow, makes us warm and powerful inside. (This doesn’t make any rational sense, but somehow that’s how I feel. And I’m sure many of us do.)
While most video games offer the sense of empowerment in the online gaming experience, we felt the player will pay more attention to the other players if they are less distracted by the power, and the online gaming experience will be quite unique if it carries the feeling of awe towards the unknown. In a world where the majority of the players are distracted by technology, evoking a sense of awe and mystery could be very refreshing and powerful.”
From this we can gleam that Journey is a game designed around a sense of isolation, in a harsh and unforgiving land. The screenshots of the game help to further this feeling, as you can see what I can only assume is the player character completely isolated, with a strange backdrop glaring down upon him. The theme of power being a distraction interests me most, as in an online world where you are effectively powerless against the world’s many challenges, the game should take players on an entirely new path of gameplay, and not down the traditional route of empowering the player to the point upon which he is effectively fearless.
The rest of the blog takes on a more informative tone, and paints the game as purely exploratory, with the only motivation coming from the player to further their own traversal. The online mechanic is only briefly touched upon, with Kellee Santiago of companionship stating that “As you travel through the world, you may encounter a stranger who is on his or her own journey” This interests me the most, as it suggests that, should you be connected to the internet when you play Journey, the game will form an online experience for you without you realizing it, and I’m looking forward to the day in which they release more details on the online component, as it feels fresh and unique.
This is what interests me in Journey the most, the feeling of helplessness in a vast world, but with the constant feeling of discovery that game seeks to portray. I can’t wait to get my hands on it when the game when it releases in 2011.
[Source: thatgamecompany Blog]