'That Game Company' was tasked with making their third game for Sony. Jenova Chen was thinking about a game that could bring true emotional connection through an online experience. They started working on the game under the title of 'Journey'.
They mapped out the course of the game on a graph, plotting the emotional impact in each section of the game, even the design of the levels, their actual height and visuals coming from this chart. The emotion of fear taking place in a cave, the destination being high atop a mountain, it was all related to this chart, their entire design doc, which was only 2 pages, based off of this graph.
They started working on the game with all this in mind, and once the 2 years of required development was up, they gave it to game testers to try it out. They were told it was terrible.
Jenova Chen was devastated that the project was a failure, and knew that it was the emotional high point, the ending, that was a part of it. He went to Sony and begged for another year. They gave it to the team, and they worked on improving the ending sequences.
After the year was up, they were still not finished. Sony cut funding for the game. 'That Game Company' went bankrupt. The entire team of 12 people ended up taking money from their personal savings accounts for the last few months of development. They only cared about finishing this game.
The game was finished, and released on Play Station Network. Jenova Chen, and the rest of the company, was left thinking if all that they went through was for nothing.
The game exploded, becoming the highest selling game on PSN, people praising the game from the rooftops. 'That Game Company' was saved. The inbox for their website's email flooded with over 800 letters.
One email in particular, though, stood out to Chen:"Your game practically changed my life.
It was the most fun I had with him since he had been diagnosed.
My father passed in the spring of 2012, only a few months after his diagnosis.
Weeks after his death, I could finally return myself to playing video games. I tried to play Journey, and I could barely get past the title screen without breaking down into tears. In my dad's and in my own experience with Journey, it was about him, and his journey to the ultimate end, and I believe we encountered your game at the most perfect time.
I want to thank you for the game that changed my life, the game whose beauty brings tears to my eyes. Journey is quite possibly the best game I have ever played. I continue to play it, always remembering what joy it brought, and the joy it continues to bring.
I am Sophia, I am 15, and your gamed changed my life for the better." 1/8/2013"
Chen said that this letter brought tears to his eyes. After receiving this email, he knew, even if the game was a complete failure, and the company remained bankrupt, and he was out of a job
He knew that because of this email, it was all worth it.[link]
- The video behind this entry. I suggest you watch it if you enjoyed this journal. Thanks for reading~.