Posted by Aaron on March 29th, 2012
Hello, PlayStation.Blog readers. It has been an exciting two weeks for us since we launched Journey on PlayStation Store. We see the personal connection between our work and the players, which is the most real and priceless reward for us. For that, we thank you so much for your support, for spending time and money to play our game and for spreading the word about Journey to your dear friends and family. Thanks to you, Journey has officially broken PlayStation Network and PlayStation Store sales records, surpassing all first and third-party games to become the fastest-selling game ever released in the SCEA region on the PlayStation Network.
After we released Flower in 2009, players sent hundreds of emails about their experience with the game. They varied from a nine-year-old girl to a 65-year-old man, from a marine serving duty overseas, to a soldier returning from Iraq. There were even stories about a mother’s memory of her two children in the wheat fields, a surreal butterfly fantasy from someone’s grandmother who passed away, and a young man who spoke about his brother who has Down syndrome. Those kinds of letters are what drive us at TGC to keep working.
And now, the reaction to Journey has been even more overwhelming. We have received more letters from fans in the two weeks since Journey’s launch than we did for Flower over the past three years!
We owe a lot to our fans. In fact, idea of forming the thatgamecompany team to create games with Sony Santa Monica originated from several dozen emails that players sent in after playing our first student game, Cloud, from our time at USC. It was the players who told us how moving the game was and how it is important that we keep making these types of games so that more people in the world will realize what video games can be, and can grow to love games through our work. To me, that was a life-changing moment. I knew making games was my life calling.
This art piece expresses our gratitude.
Lastly, a lot of you have seemed to really enjoy the music in the game, which was composed by Austin Wintory. And we’ve received a lot of requests to release the soundtrack of the game. Well, I’m happy to announce that the soundtrack will be hitting the PS Store and iTunes on April 10, and there will be a limited CD release in the near future as well.
Thanks, again, for all your support. We’ll see you online!
Posted by Aaron on March 29th, 2012
Just off a wave of critical acclaim for Thatgamecompany’s newest PlayStation Network title, Journey, big changes are afoot at the studio: As the studio begins work on a new game, co-founder and president Kellee Santiago departs.
Gamasutra sources say that other key staff departures may be forthcoming as well. Santiago declined to confirm or to speak to her colleagues’ plans, but suggested future announcements are ‘likely.’ As for her own departure, it’s entirely amicable, Santiago tells us, explaining that it’s simply time to seek new challenges.
Santiago co-founded the studio six years ago with creative director Jenova Chen, but the two first teamed up even prior to Thatgamecompany. While they were University of Southern California students, Chen and Santiago worked together on an experimental game called Cloud, and launched the company based on a mutual vision to create new forms of expression through video games.
Thatgamecompany, which has enjoyed much support from Sony, has released PSN titles FlOw, Flower and Journey, and the most recent game is viewed by many critics and fans as the attainment of the style and vision for which the studio aimed through the first two.
“After doing these three games, I think it was a really great opportunity for all of us to look at what we’ve learned and what I’ve taken from that experience, and go forth and take it into new arenas,” Santiago tells Gamasutra.
In addition to the learning experience of founding a studio and gaining exposure to all its inherent roles and responsibilities, Santiago had the opportunity to take a leading role in establishing an oft-publicized unique internal creative process the studio applies to all its games.
So, Journey came out two weeks ago. It’s been really busy around here since then, especially with The Art of Video Games exhibit opening the week of release! Anyways, let’s begin!
We have received so many gleaming reviews from journalists all over the world, and thousands of tweets, hundreds of Facebook comments, and hundreds of e-mails that it is impossible for me to do justice with a keyboard and a bunch of letters. So, let’s start off with the reviews:
Joystiq | Journey review: I want to go there
“I bring this up, because I don’t want to be misconstrued as generic or uninspired when I say that Journey is an awesome game. In the most classical, archaic sense of the word, Journey is a beautiful, evocative and unequivocally transcendental experience.”
thesixthaxis | Review: Journey
“Never before has a game illustrated such tragic fragility with such humanity and character – Journey might live up to its name on many levels, but on the deepest, most personal level possible thatgamecompany manage to transcend all expectations.”
A.V. Club | Journey Review
“Journey wants players to press onward, but isn’t so insistent that they can’t take time to experience the delightful animation of sliding on sand, or swimming in wonderous air. “
The Escapist | Journey Review
“Journey is best experienced with someone at your side, but you might want to play a few times by yourself simply to stand around and gawk at the stunning imagery.”
G4TV | Journey Review for PS3 – (Video by Adam Sessler)
““Dammit,” was the first word out of my mouth after beating Journey. I was unhappy because I knew this review would be the hardest review I’ve ever written. If I had my way, I would simply write three words, email them to my editor and push back from my desk. Those words? ‘Go play it.’”
Here are some amazing fan responses to Journey:
YouTube | BROD3O: JOURNEY – An Emotional Review Of A PS3/PSN Exclusive Game
“There’s just so many amazing parts in the game. Just please, do yourself a favor. Play it, come back and tell me what you think. But Journey is this generation’s Ico, if not better. Well, in fact it is better.”
Twitter | @zackjewell
“I want to thank you guys/gals for making Journey. It is one the best and most moving games I have ever played.”
“I just finished Journey. I can’t even describe how or WHY it moved me, but it’s changed my perception of what a game can be.”
“Seriously. My jaw actually dropped a few times and there have been moments when I could almost literally feel my heart soaring.”
Facebook | Dennis Pena
“I just finished the game. I got choked up at the ending. The game seems like a parable to life. I’m not sure if it was the big score or if it’s the heavenly kingdom that you eventually reach, but it was very spiritual.”
Facebook | Peder Bergenwall
“Never before has the gamepad felt less like a mechanical piece of equipment, and more like a direct extension of my mind to me in the “game,” than with Journey. It was genuinely giggling to myself, feeling like a child, as I slid down the sandy dunes.”
Again, we’ve received thousands and thousands of messages from ecstatic fans, and wish to thank every single one of you! Remember, we always love to hear your thoughts on our games!
How has Journey affected you?
Journey releases today in North America, tomorrow in Europe/PAL territories, and Asian territories on Thursday.
It’s been a little over three years since we launched our last game, Flower. It was a difficult game to describe, but a game that we took great pride in. Many of you took a chance with it and were as moved by it as we hoped people would be. Now we’re here, three years later, on March 13th, 2012. We can’t wait to let you experience our latest PlayStation-exclusive game, Journey.
It has been heartening to see the reactions from the press so far. We’ve had editors tell us how much the game moved them emotionally, or fundamentally changed the way they think about multiplayer in video games. Our goal was to change the impression players have towards each other over the network. We wanted to bring a thatgamecompany-style adventure to our players and create an emotional connection between them. And it’s been great to hear we might have achieved this goal.
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Posted by Aaron on March 12th, 2012
It is an incredibly exciting time for PlayStation Network and PlayStation Plus. This week we not only saw a midnight launch of Mass Effect 3 on PlayStation Network, day and date with the retail release, but we offered access to one of the best games of the year and one of the best downloadable games ever—Journey—a whole week early to PlayStation Plus subscribers. Every month PlayStation Plus subscribers are getting more and more great content out of their subscriptions, and this week’s early access marked a new milestone.
PlayStation Plus now not only offers gamers early access to demos and betas but also to full downloadable games, in addition to the tons of free and discounted content and extra exclusive features like online storage for game saves and automatic updates. That’s why we are so excited to be able to deliver Journey, one of the most highly-anticipated games of the year, to our most die-hard fans, our PS Plus subscribers, a whole week early so they can experience it before everyone else.
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