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Journey cost “multiple millions of dollars”, no royalties for a year

Wednesday, 13th March 2013 02:44 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Thatgamecompany founder Jenova Chen has clarified earlier comments about not receiving royalties from Sony on Journey, the fastest-selling PlayStation Network game to date.

In an interview with Joystiq, Chen said the independent developer wasn’t counting on making money from Journey straight away, even though he believes it has broken even.

“When the game makes money, the money first goes back to pay back the money they’ve invested. So, that’s going to take a while – Journey cost multiple millions of dollars to make. Once that money is recouped, then we will get royalties,” he said.

“But for almost a year, we are not going to be relying on the money from Journey to keep the company going.”

As Journey wrapped up, completing a three-game deal with Sony, thatgamecompany had to find another source of funding so it could work on a new project and wait for its royalties. It pitched a new title to venture capitalist firms, eventually securing $5.6 million from Benchmark Company in northern summer 2012 – just after Journey’s launch, but too late to retain many staff who left when the indie went bankrupt.

“We were at a spot where, if we couldn’t figure out the next game, or find the next deal, then at the end of Journey we’d run out of money,” Chen said.

Being funded by a venture capitalist group rather thna a publisher isn’t much of a change, Chen added.

“When we switched to a venture capital, we raised the money because we pitched the project; we sold them on the vision. They believe it, they want to support us to make that happen. So, creatively I’ve never gotten any input from the venture capital. It’s actually very similar, we are always ourselves, and no one is really messing around with us. With Sony, it was the same thing,” he said.

Thatgamecompany hasn’t announced its next project yet, but it’s expected to use touch controls.

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11 Comments

  1. Telepathic.Geometry

    I’ll tell ya, it scares the shit outta me how these talented guys are going from job to job on a wing and a prayer. Just a couple of small things going wrong for them could mean the end. You’d imagine that by now they’d be able to raise enough capital to float themselves in case things ever went bad… :(

    #1 1 year ago
  2. YoungZer0

    “Journey cost multiple millions of dollars to make”

    Where did all that money go?

    #2 1 year ago
  3. DrDamn

    @2
    It took about 3 years to make, 18 person dev team on an average of $50k a year(*) and that’s multiple millions of dollars just on wages.

    (*) Low end guessimate

    #3 1 year ago
  4. YoungZer0

    Wow, 3 years for a game that lasts 1 hour.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. DrDamn

    @4
    A multi-multi-award winning, critically acclaimed couple of hours.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. YoungZer0

    One hour.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Gnosis

    Every game is way shorter, if you just run through it without paying no attention at all.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. Deacon

    I dare say if you rushed through Journey in one hour you’re kind of missing the point.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. DrDamn

    @6
    http://howlongtobeat.com/gamebreakdown.php?gameid=2997

    Average main story completion time 2 hours.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. YoungZer0

    Didn’t run through, played it slow and with some exploring, collected some things on my way and the moment I was about to fall in love with the game it ended. Short game is short.

    It’s also rather boring if you play it offline.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. polygem

    game is great. really moved me. first playthrough took me 2 hours approx.. i paid 12 euros for the game. a little more than going to the cinema. i will play it again some day though. it´s worth every cent. you cannot compare it to a 70 euro title. it´s a great and very unique game and 12 euros is a great price for an awesome experience like this.game made me sad in a good way. few games were able to really hook me emotionally. job well done. all the praise is well deserved.

    #11 1 year ago

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