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Journey


Vemsie
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PR talk:

Journey™

FACT SHEET

Platform: PlayStation®3 system

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC

Developer: thatgamecompany

Rating: “RP” for “Rating Pending”

Release: 2011

OVERVIEW

The pioneers that brought you the award-winning PlayStation®Network titles flOw & Flower® are back with another title that challenges traditional gaming conventions. With Journey, thatgamecompany (TGC) continues its tradition of delivering simple gameplay and accessible controls in a rich interactive environment that invites players to explore and experience emotional chords that are still uncommon in video games.

An exotic adventure with a more serious tone, Journey presents TGC’s unique vision of an online adventure experience. Awakening in an unknown world, the player walks, glides, and flies through a vast and awe-inspiring landscape, while discovering the history of an ancient, mysterious civilization along the way.

Journey’s innovative approach to online play encourages players to explore this environment with strangers who cross their path from time to time. By traveling together, they can re-shape the experience – creating authentic moments they will remember and discuss with others.

KEY FEATURES

INTUITIVE CONTROLS AND EXPERIENCE –Players with differing skill levels and/or moods can experience the game at their own pace.

LUSH AND EXPANSIVE ENVIRONMENTS – Grand landscapes filled with dynamic sand and cloth. Fully simulated sand dunes ripple and slide as players move across them.

FRESH ONLINE ADVENTURE – Players explore a mysterious world, discovering its hidden history. People are free to travel alone, or adventure with strangers that they meet along the way.

Screens:

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More than a little influenced by the travelling sections of SOTC I feel, but with a very different visual style.

They'll be back; and in greater numbers.

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That looks absolutely stunning. Easily the most interesting new game I've seen out of E3 thus far. The press release's emphasis on multiplayer is interesting, especially since it rather contradicts the sense of loneliness conjured up by the screenshots. I can't wait to see it in motion.

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I never played Flower (one of these days I'll take my consoles online so I can get some of these interesting looking indie titles) but this looks wonderful, Gwen et le Livre de Sable: The Video Game. I know quite a few on here were disappointed by E3 this year but there seemed to be quite a few of these smaller, more fringe titles, that have really interesting art direction or play mechanics. My enthusiasm for the medium all but died this generation but perhaps I have just been looking at the wrong stuff for the last few years.

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Well, members of the press have now seen this, although it would seem tgc are playing things close to their chest. The Giant Bomb preview gives you an idea of the basic mechanics, though:

In Journey you play the armless, red-robed explorer you can see in the screenshots, roaming around an arid, empty-looking world that's occasionally dotted with ancient ruins, sandfalls pouring over rocks, tombstone-like markers rising out of the sand, and long tapestries of cloth flapping in the breeze. Those are pretty much all of the notable features I saw in the short demo, so yeah, there's definitely a lot of empty space out there.

With Journey thatgamecompany is setting a record for the number of buttons used in one of its game: two. One is for jumping, and one is... singing? You run around with the analog stick and control the camera with Sixaxis tilt. Much like it did with flowers in, um, Flower, the developer has put a lot of effort into its sand tech in Journey, and you leave a trough behind you when you run around in it. You can also ski down sandy hills to move around faster.

Chen is tired of the empowerment fantasies inherent in most modern games. He said he wants to return players to a feeling of being small and powerless, with a sense of awe toward the wide unknown world. That means no rocket launchers or double jumps in Journey. The game is about exploring this strange world as a hapless character with no foreknowledge of his or her strange surroundings. There's an ever-present giant mountain with a beam of light off in the distance that serves as your constant goal, but other than that, you're just there to explore.

There will be some things to find. Chen ran behind a sandfall in one area and found a cloth covered with ancient glyphs on it. That seemed like some sort of collectible. Later, there was a bit of rudimentary platforming across a series of long tapestry-like pieces of cloth, which your character can "harmonize" with when it touches them, stiffening them and allowing you to climb on them. Finally, Chen encountered a statue that briefly came to life and imparted some sort of information to the player character, but he didn't elaborate on the meaning of that interaction. There will also be other AI-controlled characters in the game as well. What, you think they gave us anymore information about that?

You may have heard Journey is an online game. (If you haven't, Journey is an online game.) But it doesn't sound like any sort of normal online game. Chen was extremely cagey about the multiplayer details since thatgamecompany is still figuring out how it will all work, but for now the gist of it seems to be that you'll have the potential to occasionally encounter another player running around in your game world. Chen likened this setup to hiking. You go out for a hike, and while hiking, you might pass some other hikers. You might stop and engage them in conversation, and then walk with them for a while. Or you might just let them go their own way while you go on yours.

You're probably wondering if you can play Journey entirely by yourself. You can. And I'm not sure exactly what you'll do with another player, but Chen did say that's what singing is for. There's no voice or text chat in the game, but you'll be able to produce different kinds of singing based on the way you press the sing button, and this is intended to provide some degree of communication between players. You can even harmonize with the other player if you sing well.

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I never played Flower (one of these days I'll take my consoles online so I can get some of these interesting looking indie titles) but this looks wonderful, Gwen et le Livre de Sable: The Video Game.

God damn it, LC, I'd never even heard of this film before. Now I'm gonna have to track it down.

Gwen06_01.jpg

Wowzers.

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