"My dream is to make everyone love games," says Journey dev

Jenova Chen says he want to help make video games a "respected" medium with universal appeal.

thatgamecompany (Journey, Flower) cofounder and president Jenova Chen is upset with the idea that as people grow up they abandon video games. He dreams of a future where "everyone loves games" and they are a "respected" medium like film or music.

"Video games have always been a part of my life," Chen told Mashable in a new interview. "I always played games with my friends, but as I got older, my friends stopped playing."

"People still read novels, watched movies, listened to music. The fact most of my friends are abandoning games makes me feel sad," he added. "How can I help video games not just be for kids, and respected from people of all ages and genders? My dream is to make everyone love video games."

"The fact most of my friends are abandoning games makes me feel sad" -- Jenova Chen

Chen went on to say that video games too often only cater to genres that are most appealing to a young male audience instead of tapping into categories that can appeal to wider audiences. In order for video games, as a medium, to become "healthy" and "respected," developers need to expand into new genres, Chen argued.

"Look at the genres women like: a romantic comedy game doesn't exist. Few examples of a documentary game exist," Chen said. "What is the equivalent of a real drama game? They don't exist. Emotion with that complexity for a more mature, older audience are necessary to make medium like video games healthy, so it can be highly respected like the film industry."

For Chen, video games can be so much more than a simple distraction from the struggles of your daily life. In fact, he argues that video games, when appropriately designed, can help people cope with loss or even help expand their minds.

"These games have more meaning than just pleasure, or just a moment of escape," Chen said. "There is more power in these games when you are doing it right. I think certain types of feelings can heal and change people, can make their lives better. We want to make positive change to the human psyche worldwide, even if you just think it's just entertainment."

thatgamecompany is currently working on an unannounced game that it will self-publish. A release date for this project and details about platforms are TBA.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

142 comments
jark888
jark888

I love the ideology stated on the paragraph before the last.

cratecruncher
cratecruncher

I think it's worse than even Chen suggests.  I think many people burn out and quit playing because the publishers keep making the same basic game over and over.  Young adults are the only people who haven't played the stuff yet.  examples: GTA 3,4,5 Elder Scrolls 3,4,5 Witcher 1,2,3 Thief 1,2,3,4 Ass Creed 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 and so on.  Most of the AAA just keeps repeating the same stuff afraid to take any risks.


A decade ago people would buy into the next iteration because the technology was improving so much that the games felt more alive each cycle.  The tech isn't changing that much anymore.

somebodysilent
somebodysilent

I like how the xbots are now begging for his next game to be multiplatform after bashing his past ones. Those guys are cards I tell ya.

wanderjahr
wanderjahr

A real drama game? What has Quantic Dream been doing this whole time? I'm glad he has ambition and wants to improve the industry, but he needs to give credit where credit is due.

Wej_accept_it
Wej_accept_it

This is a great attitude for a developer to have, completely player focused and it goes a long way.
Journey is still one of the best things I've played in recent years, probably the most unique game I ever had on PS3. Cannot wait to see what thatgamecompany does with the next generation of consoles

Goddammitj
Goddammitj

I stopped playing when I was 15, but I came back at about 18/19. Unfortunately I still have a difficult time loving anything as much as I used to. VR will surely help though.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

There's going to have to be a radical change in the industry before anyone starts making romantic comedies or documentary games. I'd be up for them, that's for sure.

tightwad34
tightwad34

There's not one single thing on this earth that you can make everybody love. But I like the ambition, even if I lack some.

cctv100
cctv100

I think that makes sense,making a romantic comedy game does mean that other genres will vanish

KBABZ
KBABZ

Feels like the industry and its fans are trying their darndest to stop that from happening, what with the gritty shooters and the resolution/frame rate wars...

orktar_bunbun
orktar_bunbun

Make an actual game that isn't for toddlers then.

XNEXUS666X
XNEXUS666X

then more people can come here and bitch about loving games...

kimothey
kimothey

He can't achieve this dream if he keeps making art games. That scares the mass audience away!



hystavito
hystavito

My issue with this kind of thinking is that there is always that notion of such games being "more", any traditional game is somehow beneath these experiences.  One is mature while the other is not.  One is a special experience and the other is simply distraction.  It's like people are saying they want to make games in this other way because they love gaming, while at the same time putting down 99% of all games ever made :).


On a more practical note, I often feel like these people who say they want to bring games to the level of movies or novels are doing so by simply making games more like movies and novels and less like games.  I'm all for different and new types of experiences in games, but as much as people want to embrace that, they also have to realize there is a line you can cross where your game is no longer a game.  Everyone gets into an uproar about that in some cases, but I feel it is important to at  acknowledge that such a line exists.


If we all want to say that there is nothing wrong with these new types of games/ideas, then isn't it only fair to say that there is also nothing wrong with all the other games we've been playing and enjoying for all these years?  Why does one have to be considered superior to the other?


I'm also not really that interested in making everyone LOVE games.  You know, most people watch movies, but most people don't LOVE them either :).  Just like with games, there are niche communities of people who are very into movies, and there are movies made more for that audience that the average person will never see.  I don't see a problem with niche things really.  Of course, niche doesn't make as much money :).  So yes you can make games that more people will play, but you probably won't make them love gaming.


Note my comments have nothing to do with Journey, they are a general response to this general trend.


Completely off topic side note:  I always feel funny saying "most people" do this or that when in fact most humans living on this planet probably don't even have access to such things.  "Most people" really means most people like us that live in wealthy nations :).  But, it's just easier to write that way and everyone gets the idea.

trotz75
trotz75

Chev9378 isn't hear tonight he's being tea bagged by his dad, what's tea bagging I hear you all ask ? You dip a tea bag in a cup of tea right, well swap the cup for chev9378s mouth and the tea bag for his dad's balls!!

rskueem
rskueem

"My dream is to make everyone love games" hmmm to make your games for multi platform then we will talk ^^

Tiwill44
Tiwill44

It doesn't really work that way. Some people just don't like playing video games, so you can't please everyone.

And if you dumb down your game or remove core gameplay elements in order to appeal to a wider audience, then you lose the focus of what a game should be about, and a large chunk of gamers will just lose interest.

dgthompson89
dgthompson89

I love this! I strongly believe that games can help you engage with ideas and feelings in really profound ways. Rather than being an escape from reality I think they have potential to make us think about our experiences and the world around us. Not saying that all games have to be deep and meaningful but I do think that the more games that think about meaning in the way this guy is saying here then the more respected gaming will become as a medium and an art form. I totally see that happening though which I find exciting.

Creed02
Creed02

Then make your game  available for multi platform 

Mr_Mark_Legion
Mr_Mark_Legion

""People still read novels, watched movies, listened to music. The fact most of my friends are abandoning games makes me feel sad."

this has happened with me. i can count on one finger the number of friends i had in my youth that still play video games today. at times ive even asked myself if i was too old to be playing "silly video games" anymore, or why was it that i keep playing while they didnt.

edit: and that was my serious comment of the week. if posible, ill try again next week.

loafofgame
loafofgame

But, but some people are stupid. I don't want stupid people to like videogames.

VegasAceVII
VegasAceVII

They're certainly doing a good job.  Journey was amazing.

Zignoff
Zignoff

Then how about you make a "GAME" instead of this pretentious overpriced crap you produced.

underxgames
underxgames

I think he has a beautiful message...

But, I don't think people stop playing games because of the kinda games that are out there, I think a lot of people stop because they think (Or society has convinced them) That at a certain "AGE" you should stop.

(Social Disease)

But in time more of "US" hardcore gamers are going to be reaching that AGE and We wont stop. So I think it's more of a generation thing, and our generation is more open minded and willing to let go of the idea of what A "Grown man" Should or shouldn't be doing...
 

Still his message is a good one...


Takeno456
Takeno456

I am glad the guy is trying to get more respect for the gaming world. 

wgerardi
wgerardi

"These games have more meaning than just pleasure, or just a moment of escape. There is more power in these games when you are doing it right. I think certain types of feelings can heal and change people, can make their lives better. We want to make positive change to the human psyche worldwide, even if you just think it's just entertainment."


<3 This right fucking here <3 I love this guy <3

da_chub
da_chub

Let's compare beyond two souls and dark souls. Did I enjoy beyond? Yes. But would I consider it a video game? No. It's an interactive movie. I want dark souls 3 and not beyond 2 souls 2. The future of gaming isn't journey 2.

PinchySkree
PinchySkree

wants.

You are fighting an uphill battle against the ignorant, the uninformed and the hateful.

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@kimothey From what?  Do you think someone out there didn't buy GTA5 because Journey existed?

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@hystavito Think you're reading into this.  I don't think he was saying his games were better or anything.  Just that there should be more options for more people.

KBABZ
KBABZ

@rskueem Their next game is likely going to be multi-platform. flOw, Flower and Journey were made under contract with Sony, which ended once Journey was released.

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@Mr_Mark_Legion You need better friends.  Mine never gave it up.  Hell, one of my best friends started gaming at 30.  Have hope.  


Now back to trolling, you.

evil_m3nace
evil_m3nace

@loafofgame  there are still stupid people that play video games, in fact, probably a higher percentage of stupid people playing video games than doing any other hobby.

evil_m3nace
evil_m3nace

@Zignoff  Then how about go play something that is suited to your fancy, Pigeon simulator is waiting just for you.

hystavito
hystavito

@underxgames  I think people stop for a lot more simple reasons, like maybe they just weren't that into games to begin with.  As they get older they have more things going on in their life and those things are simply more enjoyable or rewarding so with limited time gaming doesn't make the cut.


Of course time becoming more limited is also a major factor.  With less time, people actually want more shallow and simple games that they can learn to play very quickly and enjoy in short bursts.  This is why we see a lot of people that stop playing more serious games but still play casual stuff, like simple mobile games.  There's also a convenience factor.  Again, if people are not all that interested in gaming to being with, the mere acts of turning on a console or PC, loading a game, having it take over their TV screen, become too much of hassle.

da_chub
da_chub

Which is what a pc gamer thinks of a console gsmer.

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@evil_m3nace @ZignoffPeople who refer to anything halfway intelligent as "pretentious crap" expose enough of their character that they needn't be mocked further.

horizonwriter
horizonwriter

@da_chub  Nice solution. Insult entire groups of people by spreading MORE negative stereotypes. Don't confuse the ranting jerks that you hear from in comments sections with the larger whole. They are not indicative of the thinking of the majority.

CrashOV
CrashOV

@da_chub  I'm a PC gamer. I carry no hate towards console gamers, for I'm also a console gamer. I am however getting real tired of this we are the better gamer faction crap. 

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

@Zignoff @olddadgamer@da_chubLook, if you don't like it, don't buy it.  Don't say it shouldn't be made.  That just makes you look narrow minded.  No one is forcing anything on you, or making you like it.  No one is going to stop making the games you like to make something else.  That's why I said ALL of the above.  No one is saying games like Journey should replace anything.  It's just good that there's different things out there that appeal to a wider range of people.