"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.

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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.

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Avatar image for jark888

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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for cctv100

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

Avatar image for 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...

Avatar image for orktar_bunbun

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

Avatar image for PlatinumPaladin

<< LINK REMOVED >> Don't be dense. thatgamescompany's games couldn't keep the attention of most kids.

Avatar image for XNEXUS666X

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

Avatar image for kimothey

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

Avatar image for olddadgamer

<< LINK REMOVED >> From what? Do you think someone out there didn't buy GTA5 because Journey existed?

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for olddadgamer

<< LINK REMOVED >> 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.

Avatar image for 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!!

Avatar image for rskueem

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

Avatar image for KBABZ

<< LINK REMOVED >> 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for Creed02

Then make your game available for multi platform

Avatar image for randomkidlol

Even US senator Lee?

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for olddadgamer

<< LINK REMOVED >> 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.

Avatar image for kye-mc

Love this guy

Avatar image for loafofgame

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

Avatar image for evil_m3nace

<< LINK REMOVED >> 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.

Avatar image for olddadgamer

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>Statistically, most people who do anything are stupid, as most people on Earth are stupid. Sad but true.

Avatar image for VegasAceVII

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

Avatar image for Zignoff

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

Avatar image for evil_m3nace

<< LINK REMOVED >> Then how about go play something that is suited to your fancy, Pigeon simulator is waiting just for you.

Avatar image for olddadgamer

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>People who refer to anything halfway intelligent as "pretentious crap" expose enough of their character that they needn't be mocked further.

Avatar image for olddadgamer

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>Though props for dropping Pigeon Simulator.

Avatar image for evil_m3nace

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> But but...okay fiiiiine.

Avatar image for shingui5


Oh internet people. Will you ever change? :)

Avatar image for 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...

Avatar image for hystavito

<< LINK REMOVED >> 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.

Avatar image for Takeno456

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

Avatar image for 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

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for olddadgamer

<< LINK REMOVED >> Why can't it be all of the above?

Avatar image for Zignoff

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >> Because one is a game with GAMEPLAY and the other is over priced pretentious crap?

Avatar image for olddadgamer

<< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >><< LINK REMOVED >>Look, 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.