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Chen On Journey's Creation: It Bankrupted The Company

Just about everyone fell in love with Journey. But in order to achieve such acclaim, which ultimately resulted in numerous end-of-year awards, developer Thatgamecompany quite literally had to go bankrupt.

In speaking to Polygon, Thatgamecompany boss Jenova Chen said said that the creation of Journey exhausted all the team's funds:

"I wouldn't say that the development of Journey was a successful example of game development. We bankrupted the company."

Thankfully, the game went on to break PlayStation Network records and they did earn their money back, plus some extra profit. That being said, Chen said that due to the limited availability of the title (Journey was a PS3 exclusive), that ultimately hurt the game's sales potential. He said that in order to be a true financial success, "it has to be much bigger than a game on the PlayStation platform." And as we know, Thatgamecompany's next project is slated to arrive on multiple platforms; the studio got $5.5 million in venture capital funding to start.

So it seems the developer had to go through a lot to give us Journey, so we should be all the more appreciative.

Related Game(s): Journey

Tags: journey, thatgamecompany, journey ps3, jenova chen

2/11/2013 1:30:14 PM Ben Dutka

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Legacy Comment System (11 posts)

Monday, February 11, 2013 @ 2:00:35 PM


Good thing it did well. No sales would have ended them.

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Monday, February 11, 2013 @ 2:39:34 PM

Agreed! Journey was one of the greatest experiences of 2012! It would've been a sad day indeed if thatgamecompany didn't make their money back. Luckily for them, their game really was one of the rare gems that don't come along often.

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Monday, February 11, 2013 @ 3:36:04 PM

Well the risk paid off! Even if they didn't make that much profit, they pretty much have guaranteed publisher support. They probably have publishers fighting over their next game.

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Monday, February 11, 2013 @ 5:23:47 PM

I hope Sony learned from Journey that taking risks on an original IP can sometime pay off. Sure it wasn't Halo big or something you can regurgitate sequels and prequels from, but it give the company credibility and expand the quantity of hit games in their library.
I'm looking forward to what Thatgamecompany comes out with next for all systems.

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Monday, February 11, 2013 @ 5:39:03 PM

$5.5million on

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, February 11, 2013 @ 6:03:56 PM

That wasn't for Journey; it's for their new project.

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Monday, February 11, 2013 @ 6:09:18 PM

Journey was a great game, in my opinion. I'm glad Thatgamecompany made enough money to recover. I don't see why their games would be any different on multiple systems, so I expect their next game to be as good or better than Journey.

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Monday, February 11, 2013 @ 10:12:53 PM

Talk about taking risks....

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Monday, February 11, 2013 @ 10:52:30 PM

Yeah, I read that Chen stated that TGC had no funds left & nobody got a paycheck for the last 6 months of Journey being made.

So in my book, Journey honestly became "A labor of Love".

(BTW, it was just a shame that TGC lost those 3 exec's who decided to move on during that turbulent time).

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013 @ 4:12:58 AM

does not mean you have to go MP though, they really should stick with $ony and this time bring your game to retail!
you know, so the 99.99% of the world who does not live in JP with unlimited download usages and ADSL2 speeds can actually enjoy the game!
always why ive hated DL games, that and your always left with a sense of they could of been so much more.
splosion man one of my all time favorite games, yet i cant help but wonder what it would of been like if it had the budget and freedom of a typical AAA retail game.
i am alive another perfect example, such a big ambitious game, almost too much so for a DL title.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013 @ 4:31:58 AM

It's very interesting what he says about releasing a game only on the PlayStation platform. It makes one wonder how many 1st party projects actually makes any money at all, or if Sony file them under "marketing expenses".

It would sure help explain why most exclusives have a very high focus on "showroom factor".

Last edited by Beamboom on 2/12/2013 4:38:55 AM

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