Adults need relevant intellectual stimulation.
Thatgamecompany’s Jenova Chen works on games that are thoughtful and elegant like Journey and 2009’s Flower. These are games that many point to as examples that games can be genuinely artistic, even if they won’t ever sell as well as Call of Duty. Not that Chen wants to make Call of Duty anyway.
“[Games] are not good enough for adults,” Chen said in a Gamasutra interview. For him, it comes down to a matter of real-world relevance. “For adults to enjoy something, they need to have intellectual stimulation, something that’s related to real life. Playing poker teaches you how to deceive people, and that’s relevant to real life. A headshot with a sniper rifle is not relevant to real life.”
This is not the first time that Chen has made these kinds of statements, either. They echo his words from January of last year, down to the poker comparison and all. “[What’s] the point in pulling off another infinite combo?” he had asked PlayStation Blog. “What does that do for your life? It’s not useful.”
Chen told Gamasutra that games for adults had to be relevant intellectually. “Can games make you and another human experience an emotion that’s deep enough to touch adults?” That was his aim with the ephemeral connections forged in Journey‘s multiplayer, he said, and that was what he hoped to continue to do, by making “emotional games … where people can connect and come together.”
The full feature interview with Chen is over on Gamasutra, and it’s well worth a read – especially if you’re like me, and keep picturing him as the villain from Final Fantasy VII.