Thatgamecompany Raises $7 Million for Ambitious New Game

Thatgamecompany Raises $7 Million for Ambitious New Game

thatgamecompany

Journey developer thatgamecompany enters next stage of development for its next "emotionally engaging experience."

Thatgamecompany has raised an additional $7 million in funding for its next game through a partnership with Capital Today and a team of investors. For the first time, the developer will be self-publish, market, and distribute its game following the studio's success with flOw, Flower, and Journey.

"We had the choice of taking on a simpler project and making it easier on ourselves for our first self-published project," studio manager Sunni Pavlovic said. "But the public response from Journey a few months into development convinced us we had to keep going."

Thatgamecompany raised $5.5 million in 2012, but the company went through a lot of money working on Journey, even going bankrupt. Journey became a critical success, fortunately, eventually earning thatgamecompany a profit, and the company received hundreds of personal, emotional letters following its release.

"Since finishing Journey, the team has been hard at work to make an emotionally engaging experience centered around human connections for players of all ages and backgrounds," Pavlovic said in a blog post on the company's website.

Thatgamecompany's games are unlike most of those produced by large studios, but the studio hasn't had a difficult time finding investors. "Our investors are expecting a lot more from us than an indie developer with an artistic game, but they're also looking for something different from a typical mobile or social game studio," Pavlovic said. "I have to give our investors a lot of credit for seeing the landscape differently and believing in our vision for interactive entertainment."

No details are available concerning the company's next game. Thatgamecompany is no longer partnered with Sony and will not be restricted to PlayStation platforms, so we can expect the studio's next game to reach a larger audience.

Source: thatgamecompany via The Verge

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I loved the absolute fuck out of Journey and I think it's a wonderful little gem of a game...

... and them describing their next game as an "emotionally engaging experience" still makes me cringe a little.

Maybe this time they put it on other platforms as well rather than keep it PS exclusive.

I'd love to play their other games on PC as well, but maybe I'm just too hopeful.

DarkhoIlow:
Maybe this time they put it on other platforms as well rather than keep it PS exclusive.

I'd love to play their other games on PC as well, but maybe I'm just too hopeful.

Unfortunately they got picked up by Sony early in the Studio's life and, like the linked article said, were signed to a three game exclusive deal. Journey would have probably made more money if it was multiplatform. I know it certainly would have fit with the PC indie/art games enthusiasts. As it was it was kind of just "Awww I'd love to play journey but i don't have a PS3 and since i have a 360/PC i can't really justify buying one"

I hope they can make a butt load of money and be able to finance any project they want to.

I loved all three of their games, so they've definitely got my curiosity. I was under the impression that a lot of people left, and they did, but this new money and the Journey profit has brought some of the developers back on board:

After the game (Journey) was released, as the company began work on another project, several employees left for other opportunities. Santiago left the company to pursue other, unnamed ventures, designer Chris Bell left to form his own studio The Willderness, while Hunicke resigned to work at Tiny Speck, among others. Chen attributes this exodus to the end of Thatgamecompany's three-game contract, as well as that the company had run out of money to pay employees, mandating an unpaid hiatus until the revenue from Journey came in.

Once the money from Journey began to arrive, Thatgamecompany brought back several of the employees affected by the cashflow problems, as well as some new developers. The company, with its contract with Sony complete, raised $5.5 million in venture capitalist funding, which they hope to use to develop future games for multiple platforms without influences by publishers. The team has been working since the release of Journey on a new, unannounced game, and as of June 2013 is made up of around 12 people, only half of whom worked on Journey. Thatgamecompany hopes to release the game on "as many platforms as possible", and to include touch controls in an innovative way in the same way their previous games included tilting the controller. On May 27, 2014 it was reported that the next game from Thatgamecompany has received $7 million in funding from Capital Today and a team of other investors.

Flower had 6-9 developers, and Journey had "as many as 18", so if they've got 12 now it should be the kind of short, but very engaging experience we expect out of them. They're talking about touchscreen the way they talked about the sixaxis control of the PS3, so I foresee iOS/Android with a potential mouse-driven PC port, especially with the talk of "not being a typical mobile/social studio". I'd hate to miss out on anything they make due to not having an iPad, but it's still early, we'll see what happens.

DarkhoIlow:
Maybe this time they put it on other platforms as well rather than keep it PS exclusive.

I'd love to play their other games on PC as well, but maybe I'm just too hopeful.

You do realise Sony paid for Journey and the game would not have been made without them?

It seems like they at least care about their games. Unlike Zynga or King or... pretty much any mobile developer. It's obvious that they won't reach expectations, but whatever they put out with 7 million dollars behind it has at least gotta be worth something.

As for Journey, it was a very emotional game, and it's somewhat grown on me over the time I played it. So I'm expecting only the best from them.

As long as they keep Austin Wintory on board for music then I'm good for their next game.
Bring on the emotions!

What kind of support did Sony actually give if they had to bankrupt themselves in order to make a great game?

I played Journey my second time with a complete stranger (of course).

After the game, the stranger sends me a message saying "Thank you for playing with me", which I replied "thank you, it was a lot of fun"

One of my better experiences in a game ever.

schrodinger:
As long as they keep Austin Wintory on board for music then I'm good for their next game.
Bring on the emotions!

I think he left a while ago to join a different company, I think it was called Giant Squid. I don't know what the situation is, like whether or not Austin officially "left" TGC. He might just float around on a contractual basis.

weirdee:
What kind of support did Sony actually give if they had to bankrupt themselves in order to make a great game?

Jenova Chen himself admitted at GDC 2013 that before Sony came along, That Game Company had no money. In addition, development of Journey alone took three years, which seems pretty long (to me anyway, I don't make games). The first two years resulted in something they realized gamers didn't enjoy, so they took an additional year to revamp the ending.

Here's a great video if you have an hour to spare. I can't think of any other dev that's more willing to pore over their mistakes. Three years of lessons learned condensed into a hour.
GDC Vault - Designing Journey.

I am unable to play Journey because I do not have a PS3 nor do I have any desire to get a PS3. They should have made a PC port but they kept on refusing to. As such unless their next project has a PC version then I will not be interested

Well, whatever it is, I'm pretty much already sold. Journey is one of my favorite games of all time.

Although they could stand to turn down the "emotional experience" "interactive entertainment" stuff. You guys make videogames. There's nothing wrong with that.

LaochEire:
You do realise Sony paid for Journey and the game would not have been made without them?

And? That's what publishers do. The normal procedure is to simply take a cut of the profits. No-one is going to go out and buy a new console just for a short indie game, so keeping it exclusive really doesn't benefit Sony in any way. Selling a lot more copies, on the other hand, would have benefited everyone involved.

 

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