Journey studio losing key staffers - Report

Co-founder Kellee Santiago leaves Thatgamecompany after six years, others also believed to be on their way out as "big changes" in the works.

by

Journey, Flower, and Flow studio Thatgamecompany is embarking on a new adventure without co-founder and president Kellee Santiago and possibly other important personnel, according to a Gamasutra report.

Santiago's journey at Thatgamecompany has come to an end.

The site says "big changes" are in the works at the Santa Monica, California-based developer. Further details were not offered.

Santiago co-founded Thatgamecompany six years ago with creative director Jenova Chen, whom she worked with at the University of Southern California on the experimental game Cloud. She did not elaborate further on her colleagues' prospective plans but indicated that announcements were "likely."

Explaining her own departure from Thatgamecompany, Santiago said, "So much of my work at Thatgamecompany was really supporting Jenova's visions for the types of games he wanted to make, and I felt like I have done everything I needed to do there."

Santiago said her departure from the studio was amicable. She did not elaborate on where she is headed, saying only that she wants to press forward.

"My hope is that I can take what I've learned and use it to support more teams, more projects…and really, hopefully, help in accelerating the growth of video games as a medium," she says

In a company statement, Chen said, "After the hard struggle behind Flow, Flower and Journey, we've finally reached our goal. Awaiting at the mountaintop are new enlightenments and new sets of milestones for our life."

There have been some hints about what's next for Thatgamecompany. A studio job listing spotted last month indicates the studio is building a "full-scale online service," which will accommodate hundreds of thousands of users.

The studio's latest game, Journey, shipped earlier this month for the PlayStation 3 to rapt reviews.

Discussion

29 comments
Lazy_Marine
Lazy_Marine

Internal conflict i guess, also not enough money from such games. I hope they joins the big guys like Bioware for example

nyran125
nyran125

i thought Jourrney was a step forward?

franzito
franzito

Life is made of comes and goes, so is Journey. Ms. Santiago, like every person, is entitled to free will that she's using it.

badiie05
badiie05

Well... all the best Kellee Santiago

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

They've done well by us so I won't complain if Santiago and Chen now want to move on, as long as they and thatgamecompany keep doing what they have been. I lack the vocabulary to properly express how Flow, Flower and Journey have changed the way I think about games, not to mention the calming influence they have on me.

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

@oajlu maybe you should visit "Steam" sometimes its digital distribution for PC Games, there are zillion indies there, and currently there are 450 titles that support Gamepad Controller (mouse/keyboard only is a thing in the past). I have iPhone but honestly playing my games on those platform is crap with small-screen! I prefer my HDTV-PC connected and yes, PC is main platform for Indies, hate it or not its happens. ;) hardcore Indies like Amnesia, Hard Reset, or upcoming Hawken & Grim Dawn is never gonna works on iOS / Android platforms.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

worlock77
worlock77

@KevinPlanet [quote]@jmr1986 It can't come to PC since Sony owns the rights to Journey not thatgamecompany[/quote] Yes, but Sony does publish PC titles as well, so it's not unreasonable to hope that 'Journey' might get ported to the PC.

Ducez_III
Ducez_III

Good luck to Kellee wherever her journey takes her :)

KevinPlanet
KevinPlanet

@jmr1986 It can't come to PC since Sony owns the rights to Journey not thatgamecompany

oajlu
oajlu

lol @ indie games on pc. who wants to sit in front of their computer and using stupid keyboard/mouse to play a game like journey and flower. PC has the worst standard input device for indie games. ppl are not going to spend $50 on input device for a $5-15 game. The best platforms for indie games are tablet and smart phone now. They should consider to port it to iOS or android.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

I hope this means Ms. Santiago will spread the spirit of the company to more places and the company itself will press forward with new visions without forgetting its roots. What Santiago and Chen said.

jmr1986
jmr1986

I'll like to see thatgamecompany stay as an indie studio (will be great to see Journey come to PC at some point), but taking in consideration the high amount of talent this developer have i can see them being a first party at Sony. Bad thing? i don't think so, if there is one company that knows how to work well with their first party studios it's Sony. I mean look at Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch, Media Molecule, Santa Monica... Sony seems like the kind of company that doesn't interfere on the development process of the studios they own

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

It's quite fantastic that thegamecompany found support in Sony and DIDN'T get buggered to create a game with making money as its focus. Instead, they made exactly what they wanted to make, an option that every developer wishes was available to them. I say better those developers go find new interesting projects to work on then end up desperate for funding and find themselves in positions like Infinity Ward with Activision. Slaves to the dollar.

daabulls23
daabulls23

I guess every journey must come to an end, but a new one begins.

craigc05
craigc05

@TommyT456 Journey Cloak DLC in Assassin's Creed 3 or CoD or something, if the concept of groupthink has anything to say about it

Cozm1kaos
Cozm1kaos

@InnerSenses LMFAO!!!!!!!!!! sorry had to.

paxis85
paxis85

good to see talent blossoming and moving in new directions. this can only help the industry as a whole as long as their input is given its due attention

TommyT456
TommyT456

Good news I would say, in that having someone with her kind of imagination at a bigger game studio might help drag them out of the rut they all seem to have got into and start inputting a little more vision into their game design, mirroring the originality she helped infuse at thatgamecompany. Journey was a beautiful and intoxicating masterpiece, a work of art!

InnerSenses
InnerSenses

I'd say it's very likely Sony will (try to) acquire thatgamecompany, considering the success of their three games and now that Sony's 3-game deal with them is finished. And... @MEDzZ3RO I completely agree. It would be much worse if thatgamecompany were picked up by, say, Activision. Else we could be playing Call of Journey: Sandy Warfare with all-new scarfstreaks.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Only mainstream games that works on Consoles.. If you guys remember GDC talks recently, Cliff Blezyinski said that indie sucked hard on Consoles, Indies should not go to those systems, they must go for PC, if Devs want to achieve something, etc, etc!! well,, Cliff Blezyinski said that, not me :P

Blade_Runner22
Blade_Runner22

It's still somewhat sad that she leaves. I mean RIGHT after the bomb journey was, you'd expect flowers and champagne for a long time. She will keep getting recognition but not as the 'dream team' anymore :( .... I sensed a disturbance in the force when I found out they had completed their 3 game deal with sony.

nate1222
nate1222

To be perfectly honest, I'd really like to see thatgamecompany move on to the PC scene. The console scene is just gonna tie them down to the mega-publishers and all their corporate political crap. But, sadly, I think $ony is planning to acquire them. Perhaps Santiago sees this too and is politely jumping ship. Really can't say I blame her. I'd bounce too.

worlock77
worlock77

Thatgamecompany has been operating on Sony's dime and under Sony's watch for the past few years now, so if Sony did purchase them nothing really changes at the practical level.

MEDzZ3RO
MEDzZ3RO

@Gelugon_baat I see it as a good thing personally if they did, it's certainly one of the more obscure developers alongside the likes of Media Molecule, it'd benefit Sony greatly to purchase them especially seeing as Sony let FromSoftwares Soul series fall through their fingers. Sony don't seem to interfere too much with the developers that fall under them, certainly not if you listen to interviews with Naughty Dog, Santa Monic, Media Molecule and Kojima (even though they're almost certainly multiplatform now) over the years. Sony seem the most "open" of all three major console companies.

DrRockso87
DrRockso87

Sad to see her leave but whatever path she takes, I respect her choice. Thank you for co-founding one of the best development studios this generation and bringing us three of the most memorable games I'll ever play.