The first game from thatgamecompany since the end of its three-game deal with Sony is aiming for a reveal sometime this year, co-founder Jenova Chen has told VG247, with a decision on its publisher “in the next month”.
“It takes us a little bit of time to basically readjust after the three-game deal [with Sony]. We’re very close in figuring out what the next deal is.”
Thatgamecompany’s first title post-Journey looks set to be announced sometime this year, studio co-founder Jenova Chen has said.
TGC ended its three-game deal with Sony back in March after the release of Journey, the two previous titles being PSN launch effort Flow in 2007 and 2009’s Flower.
Speaking to VG247 in an interview on Monday, Chen said negotiations with “various partners” were taking place.
“It takes us a little bit of time to basically readjust after the three game deal [with Sony],” said Chen. “We’re very close in figuring out what the next deal is.
“We’re negotiating with various partners, so maybe within the next month, we’ll be able to determine which is the [right deal].”
Chen added: “In terms of when you’ll know about the next game, I think we intentionally announce our games very early. We announced Flower half a year after we launched Flow. We announced Journey half a year after we launched Flower. So hopefully within this year, you’ll hear from us about our next game.”
Chen was talking to us alongside Giant Sparrow creative director Ian Dallas in an interview revolving around PSN and the announcement of The Unfinished Swan.
TUF will have Move as a optional control aspect to the game. All of thatgamecompany’s games to date – Flow, Flower and Journey – include SIXAXIS controls, the latter two more so.
But when asked if Move could be incorporated into its next game, Chen left the door open and even suggested that Move could have been included into Journey if it was out before then.
“When we started Journey, Move did not exist. And so, when we’re starting out on a game, we tend to figure out what’s the best control and stick with it. So during the middle of Journey, Move came out.
“We looked at it and if it was possible to use Move controls. It was about that point the SIXAXIS controller felt more suited for this game, so we didn’t switch to Move during that time.
Chen said he “probably would use Move” for something in the future, but in regards to Journey, “it was slightly too late for that”.
He added, however: “I can see if Move came out a little bit earlier, we might have been able to add something to that.”
Chen “happy” at “overwhelming” Journey reaction
TGC and Sony released Journey, the final title of the three game deal between the pair, in March of this year to critical acclaim to media and players alike. Even now in early May, it’s very likely to be seen as a game of the year contender.
Asked about the game’s reception, Chen told VG247 the response, which is still continuing now two months after release, had been “overwhelming”, but admitted there’s now “a lot of pressure” for what comes next.
“Initially, it was very overwhelming,” he said. “We basically read through all of the reviews rather than not and we’ve been getting a lot of emails from the fans – I think at this point, over 500 emails – and initially, each email seemed very, very moving and rewarding.
“But then, when it reached about 200, you just kind of tune out.
“But every so often, there will be one email that is very personal, telling a story from the player that is really moving and I’m surprised people are still able to give us emails that are really, really moving after you see so many of them.”
Chen was very open in admitting the three game deal with Sony was the right one for thatgamecompany.
“If it wasn’t for Sony’s deal, I don’t think we’d be ever to get into a situation to make a game like Journey because Journey is so far the largest budget for a PSN game and there is some money spent on marketing for Journey and I think that’s the first time in history.
“If it weren’t for the three-game deal, we would not have the luxury to be able to build this game. It’s much larger and a more expensive game and it took us three years to make.
“Internally, we’re calling Journey the AAA PSN game.”
Jenova Chen is the co-founder of thatgamecompany. Journey is out now on PSN.