Journey Breaks Records, Studio Head Departs

Journey Breaks Records, Studio Head Departs

image

A cofounder of thatgamecompany makes her own journey.

Usually when a videogame company creates a title that sells well for its target and enjoys a positive response from game critics, the heads of that game company cash the bonus checks and begin work on another game. Well, except for Thatgamecompany. Jenova Chen might be the creative genius behind games like Journey, Flower and FlOw, but Kellee Santiago has been the operational manager making Chen's designs come to life. In an odd bit of timing, on the same day that Chen announced Journey is now the fastest-selling game on the PlayStation Network, Santiago said she is leaving the company she founded with Chen in 2006. Santiago stays mum on what she will do next, but walking away from a hit like Journey will likely land her a position where ever she wants in the game industry.

"After doing these three games, I think it was a really great opportunity for all of us to look at what we've learned and what I've taken from that experience, and go forth and take it into new arenas," Santiago said.

She felt she had accomplished all she could in supporting the creativity of Chen. "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."

Jenova Chen supports Santiago in her new endeavors. "While we want to continue the path of Thatgamecompany, Kellee has found a new direction in her career," he said. "Though our path in the future may be different, as TGC begins our next project, we wish Kellee a good journey and that our paths may cross again."

Unlike other studio heads, Santiago has a perfect representation of her work at Thatgamecompany to go back to whenever she wants. "When we play through Journey now, it has a special meaning for us," Santiago said. "It makes me think about everything we've accomplished."

The pair attended the University of Southern California's game design program and founded thatgamecompany the next year based on the success of a student project called Cloud. Though they worked together for six years, the split between Santiago and Chen appears to be amicable. I am looking forward to what these two comparatively young voices will be able to accomplish treading their separate path through the game industry.

Source: Gamasutra

Permalink

Whoooo... aw.

Journey was superb. It's a tad sad that the team behind it splitting up.

At least it appears to be a genuinely friendly split. Y'know, rather than a no-really-it's-all-good-nobody-got-screwed-over-especially-not-that-guy kind of split.

Zhukov:
Whoooo... aw.

Journey was superb. It's a tad sad that the team behind it splitting up.

At least it appears to be a genuinely friendly split. Y'know, rather than a no-really-it's-all-good-nobody-got-screwed-over-especially-not-that-guy kind of split.

Game developers aren't rock bands thank god.

Hopefully she can find a place to work where she can start building her dream. Video Game or otherwise.

They should give her a Journey Scarf as a fare well gift, it would fit PERFECTLY.

Qitz:
Hopefully she can find a place to work where she can start building her dream. Video Game or otherwise.

They should give her a Journey Scarf as a fare well gift, it would fit PERFECTLY.

Does anyone actually make scarfs that look like the ones from Journey?

Because I would buy the hell out of that!

Anyway, good luck to them both!

I wish her the best of luck.

We need more people doing what thatgamecompany are doing.

I'm sad to see her go, but as long as she gets to keep dune what she loves.
After a game like Journey, Kellee deserves it.

Imp Emissary:

Qitz:
Hopefully she can find a place to work where she can start building her dream. Video Game or otherwise.

They should give her a Journey Scarf as a fare well gift, it would fit PERFECTLY.

Does anyone actually make scarfs that look like the ones from Journey?

Because I would buy the hell out of that!

Anyway, good luck to them both!

Apparently Jim Sterling got one as a bit of swag if i remember correctly. so yes they do exist.

Qitz:
Hopefully she can find a place to work where she can start building her dream. Video Game or otherwise.

They should give her a Journey Scarf as a fare well gift, it would fit PERFECTLY.

They all gave each other Journey scarves over Christmas with their own unique symbols on. They looked really high quality and I was incredibly jealous. So she already has one. I think they put pictures on their website. She definitely deserves some form of special farewell though, as she helped make two of the greatest games I've ever played while there.

Aw, I hope this will end up being for the best, but I doubt it. I haven't played Journey yet (am planning on doing it this weekend) but from what I heard, some of its allure is the combination of both the artistic vision and complementing gameplay, and other artistic games like it I haven't liked due to poor gameplay. I have a bad feeling that whoever will take over for Santiago wont be able to translate Chen's ideas into good gameplay.
However, I get the feeling Santiago left cuz she wanted more creative control, and she's hopefully built up a whole bunch of great ideas during her time in TGC, so I'm looking forward to her next game.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here