Journey video preview

Haven’t yet seen the latest from Thatgamecompany in action? Then you’re in for a treat. Journey is exactly what its name describes: a trip, a sojourn, a movement from one place to another. It’s an art game, perhaps. It’s an indie game, for sure. But it’s also as fun as it is gorgeous.

The game starts off mysteriously enough: We are alone, in a desert setting, with nothing more than a pyramid-like structure off in the distance. So we move toward it. We can glide along the sand. We can “harmonize” with bits of cloth in the environment, which charges up our scarf, allowing us to leap and soar to greater heights. We can discover hidden bits and bobs that reveal secrets in this world.

But most important, we can, and will, encounter other players.

Here’s the difference: In Journey, these players will have no unique identifying factors. They’ll look just like us, and they’ll wander into our world, only one other player at a time. If we choose, we can “shout” at them, or jump a bit, or wander over. This other player can ignore us, wandering off, never to be seen again. Or this player can come along on our Journey. Maybe he or she will guide us to something we’d never seen before. Or maybe we’ll be the guide. Whatever the case, this is a shared experience that only exists within the game’s world, and only using the extremely limited vocabulary of the game’s handful of inputs. It’s up to each of us to decide how we share our Journey, and once we’re finished, we will be alone again.

It’s all about creating an emotional connection to another stranger via a shared experience. Journey will be out exclusively on PlayStation Network at an unspecified date (we’re guessing later this year or early next year).

Aug. 31, 2011

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