Wednesday, March 21, 2012

EXP Podcast #164: Journey Debrief

At long last, the much awaited Journey from thatgamecompany is available on PSN. Jenova Chen's discussion of his own creations always seem so lofty, can his team deliver what Scott and I have so eagerly desired since its announcement? Join us while we discuss our personal experiences, how Journey is more "gamey" than we imagined, and how the game tells a story. We go quite long in this one, so we appreciate everyone who puts in the time to listen. The task of discussing Journey is not an easy one, but we hope you enjoy this voyage with us nonetheless. As always, we would love to hear your thoughts on the game. Please leave them in the comments section below.

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- Subscribe to the EXP Podcast via iTunes here. Additionally, here is the stand-alone feed.
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Show notes:

- Run time: 53 min 11 sec
- Music, "Apotheosis" and "Final Confluence", by Austin Wintory from Journey. Find more of his work here.


  1. I love your game debriefs, this one was really good to listen to as I know (sadly) I will never get to play Journey.

    also you might find this interesting, its the prototypes throughout the development of Journey

  2. Mads Darø KristensenMarch 22, 2012 at 7:17 AM

    Journey was one of the best gaming experiences I have had in years. I am so glad that I had consciously avoided reading about the game for a long time, because I wanted to have my own experience with it - and I really wish I could have that first playthrough once more :-)

    I liked the narrative of the game, even though I don't think that I actually got it before the next day _after_ finishing it. For me the journey was to follow a person's life - starting off in childhood (exploratory), adolescence (beginning to grasp some concepts, moving quickly through the world), adulthood (slowing down somewhat, things get more serious), and finally old age and death.

    The social aspects were very interesting as well. I played an hour-long session with this one person in particular where we were waiting for each other, trying to communicate, helping each other, and even taking turns in activating stuff in the game. If e.g., I arrived first at something that needed activating but I had also activated the last thing, I would just sit and wait for the other person to arrive :-)

    Oh, and one last thing. Journey is probably the game that has scared me the most in years. After playing for a while you get into this very relaxed state - you're playing around, exploring, and generally just having a good time. But then suddenly things get dangerous when that first dragon emerges from the sand - I literally jumped in my seat!

    Having written all this I can't wait to start my next journey... maybe tonight!

  3. Never say never! I have a feeling Journey will stand the test of time, even years later.

    Thanks for that link, by the way. That stuff is fascinating.

  4. Agreed on all accounts. I hadn't even really thought about it as a "stages of life" story, but it completely makes sense. The idea of innocence, sacrifice, and growth are all right there.

  5. Brilliant game.

    As much as I enjoyed running into other players and having the occasional companion, I sometimes found myself resenting it when someone meddled with my experience playing the game; pointing things out that I missed etc. I know they're trying to be helpful, but what if I want to find that stuff on my own? At one point I just didn't move for a while so a pesky player would leave me behind and stop pointing things out to me, but a short time later I ran into someone else who started doing the exact same thing. Having the option to go it alone would be nice.

  6. That's a really interesting point Dustin. Now I actually kind of feel bad. It's also an important consideration when latecomers play this game months from now. Will their experience be diminished if they could only find veterans? While we can always opt out by disconnecting from the internet, there are certain benefits of picking who we play with.

  7. On a related note, I had an interesting experience recently re: unexpected consequences.

    I earned my white robe a while ago and have continued playing the game. People really treat you differently when they see the white robe!

    One person nervously hovered around me for a bit, but then began following me. I showed her/him a few hidden glyphs and then that was it: I was now a tour guide. Even with some gentle nudging, my partner refused to take the lead. They would just tag along behind me or at most, alongside me.

    Judging by their cape design, it was probably their first playthrough, so I was also faced with a pretty big responsibility: How did I want this player to experience the game? Should I show them every crevice in the world? Should I sit back and let them figure out the environmental puzzles? Should I just take them through it efficiently?

    It was a very unique experience, one that will stick with me for a long time.