1 – Journey
Los Angeles-based thatgamecompany will be releasing their successor to Flow and Flower in Spring 2012. As possibly the most well-known developers on this list, TGC will be following up the massive success of their two previous releases on the PlayStation Network with Journey, a game that looks set to continue in the abstract vein of gameplay that the company have become known for, while adding a key new ingredient: online co-operative gameplay.
Your avatar, a mysterious robed figure, travels across a gorgeously stylised windswept desert towards a distant mountain, either with or without the help of other online players you meet along the way. Details as to the game’s narrative and backstory remain hazy, though imagery in the official trailer and promotional material suggest that the game will have a firmer narrative structure than either Flow or Flower.
The core of TGC’s releases has always been a focus on how games can elicit an emotive reaction from players, and the unusual application of co-op gameplay in Journey builds on these foundations. In the game, players cannot speak to each other and are visually defined only by a uniquely assigned symbol that appears on their robes. Robin Hunicke, Journey’s producer, has explained that as an experiment they were aiming to take away the pressure associated with performing socially in online gaming to give players the opportunity to form deeper, lasting connections with each other:
“One of the things we talked about early in the project was this idea of creating a connection between players in an environment where you feel small and less empowered than you might in a traditional video game setting. We thought this would be conducive to a feeling of wanting to spend time together. And we wanted to create this connection without forcing it – we don’t make you play with someone else, but we chose the desert setting because we thought a desolate and unfriendly place might actually encourage a connection between players.”
Platform: PlayStation 3 (PSN download)
Release date: Spring 2012
I love Flow & Flower & can't wait for this one!
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