Six years and three games later, thatgamecompany finally has a bona fide hit on its hands. Journey, its recently released multiplayer adventure, has become the fastest selling downloadable game ever released for a Playstation console in the U.S. “Journey has officially broken Playstation Network and Playstation Store sales records, surpassing all games ever released on the Playstation Network to become the fastest-selling game ever released in the SCEA region,” said thatgamecompany co-founder Jenova Chen in a statement released on Thursday.
Chen offered heartfelt thanks to the studio’s fans as well in his statement. “We see the personal connection between our work and the players, which is the most real and priceless reward for us,” said Chen. “We owe a lot to our fans. In fact, the idea of forming the thatgamecompany team to create games with Sony Santa Monica originated from several dozen email that players sent in after playing our first student game, Cloud, from our time at USC. It was the players who told us how moving the game was and how it was important that we keep making these types of games so that more people in the world will realize what video games can be.”
While it was a day of triumph for the studio, it was also a day of serious change. Studio president, and co-founder alongside Chen, Kellee Santiago resigned from thatgamecompany. Speaking with Gamasutra, Sanitago explained that she feels she’s achieved all she could with the studio and that it’s time to move on. “So much of my work at thatgamecompany was really supporting Jenova’s visions for the types of games he wanted to make, and I felt like I have done everything I needed to do there, and that he’s in a great place now to go on and continue with some of the other people at thatgamecompany, to take that to a whole new height,” she said.
Word is that other members of the thatgamecompany staff will join Santiago in a new venture while those that remain at the studio have already started work on their next game.
thatgamecompany’s games have always had success with critics. Even FlOw, one of the Playstation Network’s first games that was interesting but decidedly thin, resonated with people who played its eerie, ethereal take on Pac-man. Flower also connected with critics thanks to its bucolic, light play. It’s encouraging though to see Journey connect with people actually spending money on games. It’s a sure sign that people are interested in playing more than just another game about shooting people.