MMO Glitch may seem a million years away from stripped-back adventure Journey, but for Robin Hunicke, one project naturally succeeds the other.
Hunicke, who announced a move to Glitch developer Tiny Speck last week, will take up a position as “executive design wrangler” – a deliberately silly job title which epitomises the carefree environment the company is becoming famous for.
The designer told Gamsutra she felt a “natural yearning for change” at the end of such a long project, but working on Journey also inspired her to pursue more work in multiplayer gaming.
“Working in the online space made me think about… how do we get from [a two-player experience] to two thousand, to ten thousand?” she said.
Additionally, there are some parallels between the two games. While Journey artifically confines player behaviour in a way that makes it hard to be anti-social, something about Glitch encourages or attracts positive interactions.
“It’s a truly connected online space, where people are nice to each other,” Hunicke said.
“What won me over was the players themselves. They’re really into Glitch, and they make it a really beautiful place to be.”
THunicke said Glitch reminds her of the kind of freeform, positive creativity that went on in chat rooms in the early days of the Internet, something she feels is missing from today’s experiences.
“It bears exploring; for me, it’s about taking that experience of online play that’s safe and creative, and taking it to the next level,” she said.
Whatever Tiny Speck is doing behind the scenes, it’s clearly working; the company managed to lure Katamari Damacy designer Keita Takahashi back to the games industry and even all the way to Canada.