The iconic desert landscape of thatgamecompany’s Journey is a visual marvel to behold, but that doesn’t mean that the game’s sand-filled setting was an easy choice for the studio, as several other environments were also in the running.
According to TGC co-founder Jenova Chen, the team looked at a number of other possible settings for the game before settling with the desert. Speaking with Shacknews, he explained:
Initially we thought, what if it’s forest, mountain trail, or a city? The problem is the background is so complex, it doesn’t help to see the players.
If you put two players in a desert, they pop out. Visually it gives a much stronger sense of the relationship between the characters.
Chen went on to explain the importance of the game’s elegant simplicity and the team’s desire to include only what was absolutely necessary.
The world of Journey is somewhat complete, it’s designed to be a Japanese garden. We’ve removed everything that could be removed, so what’s left is what’s most important.
A lot of game developers could learn from the approach that TGC takes. I’d take a much shorter game filled with only quality content over an experience that has been bloated by a bunch of filler.
Journey is out later today for PS+ subscribers, and out next week for everyone else. If you’re considering purchasing the game, be sure to read our review first.