It’s been a bittersweet couple of days for thatgamecompany whose most recent effort, Journey, was just revealed as the fastest selling PSN title of all time. Though the developer is sure to be expanding, and will have a lot more leeway in terms of future opportunities, two key members of their staff are moving on.
Yesterday, co-founder of thatgamecompany Kellee Santiago announced that she would be parting ways with the company. After assisting fellow founder Jenova Chen on their three main projects Flow, Flower, and Journey (and even more while she and Chen were classmates at USC) it was time for Santiago to move on.
Unfortunately, Santiago did not reveal where she might be headed after packing up her things at thatgamecompany. She of course wishes Jenova and the entire team the best, but found that she now has the tools to foster a unique development process for projects that intrigue her.
“So much of my work at Thatgamecompany was really supporting Jenova’s visions for the types of games he wanted to make, and I felt like I have done everything I needed to do there, and that he’s in a great place now to go on and continue with some of the other people at Thatgamecompany, to take that to a whole new height.”
Santiago doesn’t necessarily want to enter a directorial role, but expresses interest in supporting another developer’s vision, and ultimately work towards the same goal of “elevating the medium.”
And right on Santiago’s coat tails comes news that Journey Producer Robin Hunicke has also left thatgamecompany and will taking a position at developer Tiny Speck. A relatively unknown developer, Tiny Speck’s biggest claim to fame is their unique MMO Glitch, which lets players literally create the future.
Hunicke seems very excited by the prospect of working for Tiny Speck, and became interested in joining the team when they revealed that new “fun” was coming to Glitch.
It seemed pretty inevitable that things would start to change once Journey released, especially since the game was the last in a three-part deal between Sony and thatgamecompany. The developer seems to be gearing up for a much more ambitious, potentially multiplayer project, and with that new transition will come individuals that want to branch out in their own way.
Are you worried about future thatgamecompany projects now that one of its co-founders has left? Would you like to see the developer adopt more of a mainstream appeal or continue exploring video games as an artistic medium?
Source: Gamasutra, Robin Hunicke