Thatgamecompany's Jenova Chen has spoken about how "lucky" he and his team were to land a contract on PSN, ascribing Journey's critical success to a mixture of timing, people growing tired of traditional forms of gaming, and a greater appreciation and affinity for development, which comes with time.
"I think we were very lucky to be able to work with Sony," said Chen, chatting to GamesIndustry International at GDC.
"Right now digital distribution is the future but at that time no one was developing anything for it! When we signed the contract the PlayStation was due to launch in four months, so they were in dire need for content."
He readily admits that the pitch for Flower wasn't even fully formed in his own mind, but praised Sony for having the bravery (he uses the word "crazy") to take a risk.
"When we pitched Flower I didn't really know what the game was," he admitted with a smile. "I just said 'hey, we want to make a game that is about feeling of being in love to others.' Sony's publisher side was actually crazy enough to sign that."
"I think it was also because at the time Phil Harrison was the president and he was really trying to push for innovation because Microsoft had the lead."
Harrison, having left Sony a couple of years ago, has just joined Microsoft's executive team, and Chen is rather of the opinion that it's reached a time when people are starting to look again for something outside of the box. Comparing the reaction to Journey wit that of Flower, Chen believes that timing has much to do with the former's landslide positive feedback.
"People are just getting tired of the same things. Maybe when Flower was launched three years ago people weren't necessarily that sick of the [traditional] games," he said.
"I think the most important thing is that it's 2012, it's not 2005, it's not 2007. Humans always have a desire for bigger variety, we started eating just fruit and raw meat, but look at how how diverse they type of food we're eating today is."
"Secondly I think we are just better as making games. We learn and we improve our skills. And Journey is also more conventional compared to the other games."
Chen also noted that he feels developers aren't making the most of the concept of 'playing together', with multiplayer games primarily focusing on individual empowerment against others.
"Everything I just talked about means shit to a kid," he added.
"Everybody keeps talking about social games, but the social games today are not really socialised. You play an online multiplayer game, and the technology allows you to bring 64 people together but what they're doing is focusing on their own power. Not on connecting or being friends or having a shared emotional state together."
"Entertainment, in the end,is a food industry for feeling."
We can't help but feel that the games industry could do with more people like Jenova Chen and his team.