ThatGameCompany's Upcoming PSN exclusive, Journey, has been catching some flack from critics who feel the game's 2-3 hour length is too short. However, in a recent Q&A with members of the press Journey's creative director, Jenova Chen, made it clear that he disagrees entirely.
“We don't want to add any filler, because people are paying money to experience that,” he said. "If we add filler, that's disrespect." He continued by saying that as kids we have all the time in the world to sink into a long game, but as adults, “If its too long they won't have the time to enjoy it.” Therefore Journey's length was designed to be more like a movie. "The reason a film is designed between 90 minutes and 2 hours is so people can take the whole thing in. Two hours is kind of the golden time before people have to go to the bathroom."
Chen also spent time talking about the game's setting, noting that an arid desert was chosen based multiplayer interactions. "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."
After playing the game this is something I can completely agree with. About a quarter of the way into my Journey I finally saw another character and the excitement I felt was completely different than any other game has given me. Later this random person and I parted ways and once again the game actually made me feel something. I truly felt that I had lost my partner on this quest and as they faded into the distance it literally made me sad. A little sappy? Sure, but the fact that a video game actually made me feel something was a welcome surprise.
Journey is available now for Playstation Plus subscribers. All other Playstation 3 gamers can download it for $15 on March 13th.