Although thatgamecompany enjoyed a tremendous amount of success while developing their three Sony-exclusive titles, their last game literally broke the bank. While flOw and Flower were critical and cult successes, they failed to hit quite as large a population of gamers as Journey, which has become thatgamecompany’s best selling and most popular title. It just so happens that the developer went bankrupt while making it.
In a talk at this year’s D.I.C.E., thatgamecompany’s Jenova Chen revealed the company went bankrupt while developing Journey. The game began in development in 2006, and received two extensions from Sony to help improve the game’s emotional impact. Thankfully the game, which released late last year, was showered with critical acclaim and tremendous accolades, which has helped the developer live on.
“I wouldn’t say that the development of Journey was a successful example of game development. We bankrupted the company.”
With their contract fulfilled with Sony, and their three games including Journey delivered, the developer plans to expand to multiplatform titles. Chen believes that moving beyond the Sony platform will help make a game that “changes everyone.”
Speaking about that forthcoming game, Chen wouldn’t say much, but he did reveal he’d like to make a game that is similarly artistic but more commercially successful than Journey.
For a developer that has bucked the trends in recent years, it’s hard not to be disheartened by talk of commercial success from Chen. Journey didn’t end up as a Game of the Year candidate because it was developed with success in mind, but to deliver a unique experience to gamers. The success simply was a byproduct of that ingenuity.
So while we hope that the developer’s next project is just as, if not more, interesting than Journey, we don’t blame them for shooting for a project that doesn’t break the bank.
Would you like to see thatgamecompany go for a more commercially successful game while sacrificing quality? Do you think that casual gamers will take notice of thatgamecompany after Journey?