Although the critical and commercial pay-off may have been worth it, thatgamecompany skirted financial disaster while working on Journey.
Speaking at DICE Summit 2013, as reported by Destructoid, thatgamecompany boss Jenova Chen said that at the end of the two years of development Sony had agreed to fund, Journey wasn’t finished.
Interestingly, it wasn’t a technical issue that troubled the developer; it just wasn’t happy with the game’s emotional impact, noting better results when one tester’s playthrough crashed before the ending.
Sony agreed to fund a third year of development, but thatgamecompany took even longer than that, and ended up bankrupt, unable to pay its employees even as they continued to work on the game.
At the end of a play session showing off the completed game, three of 25 play testers cried, Chen said, making it all worthwhile.
Journey wowed critics and quickly became the best selling PlayStation Network release of all time.