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Jenova Chen: "It's Our Games That Make Us Assholes"

Matt Gardner
Development, Jenova Chen, Journey, Thatgamecompany

Jenova Chen: "It's Our Games That Make Us Assholes"

Journey developer Jenova Chen has suggested that the irritating "assholes" you find online are symptomatic of the nature of the games that have become prevalent in our industry today. You want to know why there are so many profanity-spewing $%@#!s on Xbox LIVE? Look no further than the FPS.

"There's this assumption in video games that if you run into a random player online, it's going to be a bad experience," Chen explains, talking to Eurogamer. "You think that they will be an asshole, right?"

"But listen: none of us was born to be an asshole," he continues. "I believe that very often it's not really the player that's an asshole. It's the game designer that made them an asshole. If you spend every day killing one another how are you going to be a nice guy? All console games are about killing each other, or killing one another together... Don't you see? It's our games that make us assholes."

Not that Chen is against competition in games, in fact he rails against the suggestion that his games show a lack of competitive nature. For Chen, at least, the competition comes in cultural form.

"I am a competitor," he says. "I play and love competitive games. You know, I was champion at a fighting game in high school. I was a StarCraft champion in college. I still play DOTA. I love to win. I love to win. When it comes to making games it's not like I love peaceful games. I make this kind of game because I want to win as well. To me the measure of a human's greatness is the value they can contribute to society. The game industry doesn't need another shooter; it needs something to inspire them.

"[...] So what we try to do is spearhead emotional content. If the entire game industry is focusing on excitement and adrenaline rushes... well, then I will look at peace, or love. That way we can expand the perception of what games can be and can accomplish. That's why I make games. That's why I am on this journey."

We gave Chen's game top marks in our Journey review.

Add a comment2 comments
gunnx  Apr. 3, 2012 at 16:06

Very nice sentiment, and guys like this will never be covered in mainstream news, only the next COD or some other derivative fps that rewards killing and violence. For me emotional games stay in the memory longer.

Must admit, I'm now trying to think what a Jenova Chen FPS would be like.....

JonLester  Apr. 3, 2012 at 16:44

Must admit, I'm now trying to think what a Jenova Chen FPS would be like.....

I suppose the 'P' would stand for Peace? Or Perception?


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