Journey captured a lot of hearts during its initial critical run in 2012. It walked away with an armful of distinctions during the video game award season, and was even the first video game to be nominated for a Grammy.
And it looks like developers thatgamecompany are about to do it all over again.
In an announcement on Tumblr that he will be leaving he company to become an independent developer, game designer Asher Vollmer has sung high praises of Journey‘s follow-up stating that it will “change the industry in a really positive way.”
“Obviously I can’t divulge any details about it, but… it’s going to be huge. And I don’t mean it’s going to be a long and sprawling game, I mean it’s going to be an important game. I genuinely believe it’s going to change the industry in a really positive way.”
Indie games have been all the rage over the last few years as the driving force of innovation and rescuing exhausted gamers from the tired tropes and designs of AAA monotony. With even more momentum heading into 2013 thanks to the like of Journey and Telltale’s The Walking Dead, smaller studios like thatgamecompany have a golden opportunity to rewrite many of the rules of game design.
Despite his pleasure with where the game is heading, Vollmer stated he couldn’t deal with the “snail’s pace” of development.
“The Game is going to be incredible, but it is moving slowly. There are years remaining on the project and, quite frankly, those are years I don’t want to give up for a game that isn’t truly mine.”
I would say its about time for a serious change, and not in the form of new consoles, better technology, and more expensive budgets. Studios are closing left and right, hype and marketing is leading to more and more disappointments, gameplay ideas for the mainstream market are becoming stale, sacrifices have been made to core ideas behind older IPs, and gamers just simply need a break from the pace and competition the market holds.
A slow, nice, indie development story leading into a huge success is just what we need right now. Journey‘s positive effect on people allowed them to forget all that and just sit back and enjoy a game without worrying about winning, dying or unlocking trophies. What changes will be made have yet to be seen, but here’s to hoping they can deliver the goods again.