This previous weekend Journey celebrated its tenth anniversary—in all probability the definitive title from thatgamecompany, the sport casts gamers as a mysterious and be-scarfed determine who runs, surfs, and ultimately soars by huge, mystical landscapes. It was initially launched on March 13 2012 for PlayStation 3 (March 14 within the UK) earlier than lastly coming to PC in June 2019, and has acquired more-or-less common reward: it’s merely a singular expertise.
Matt Nava is now the inventive director at Large Squid, builders of ABZÛ and The Pathless, however earlier than this was thatgamecompany’s artwork director throughout improvement of each Flower and Journey. To mark the sport’s tenth anniversary Nava shared some behind-the-scenes seems at how explicit parts got here collectively, and within the course of confirmed how builders oft weave magical brocades out of cardboard and sticky tape.
Journey “set the course of my profession and my artwork,” writes Nava. “I am endlessly grateful to the group of gamers and their unbelievable love for the sport.” He begins the tour by showcasing the assorted protagonist designs resulting in the ultimate character.
Each character right here was playable at one level in an early model of the sport. I went from humanoid to very detailed, and again to as minimal as doable. Every iteration was an vital step to find the ultimate design. #Journey pic.twitter.com/i8D8m2jL7UMarch 13, 2022
One in all Journey’s standout moments is what I suppose you’d name the browsing stage. It is a sport with a rhythm to it, and this part comes after the participant has been fixing puzzles and shifting back-and-forth throughout a earlier panorama: right here the coaching wheels come off, so to talk, and also you’re given the enjoyment of sliding down big dunes, scarf trailing.
Right here is how the browsing stage appeared in our editor. This was one of the advanced ranges to construct. I spent a lot time tweaking the angle, place, and form of each ramp and gully. #Journey pic.twitter.com/ydreHsr4voMarch 13, 2022
Maybe Nava’s most unbelievable memory is about one in every of Journey’s visible spectacles, if you’re all of a sudden working by a constructing with enormous columns because the solar beams brightly within the sky, casting shadows on the bottom. This is that second:
Properly, seems Journey did not have automated shadows: so Nava did all of it manually. These shadows are hand-placed.
Joke: #Journey had no automated shadows. I painted all of them by hand. The shadow texture was not hello res. To get the long-lasting sundown columns to solid sharp shadows, I made certain that they aligned with the pixel grid of the feel. Right here you possibly can see the shadow map I painted. pic.twitter.com/9KeocwchQ0March 13, 2022
The one factor in Journey that could possibly be described as an enemy are these bizarre (and ginormous) stone dragons that flip up later within the sport and, all through some vaguely stealth-based sequences, will attempt to fly into the participant. That is one other memorable sequence in a sport filled with them, and it seems might have been extra central to the idea at one stage: Nava says that an early working title for the sport was Dragon.
In early prototypes the unhealthy guys had been snake-like dragons earlier than they was stone beings. The sport was truly codenamed “Dragon” within the very early days. #Journey pic.twitter.com/uzJqJ0C2VqMarch 13, 2022
The entire thread is filled with tidbits in regards to the sport: how a stage containing scraps of scarf nearly bought the sport a T for Teen score, because players thought it was blood. How fastidiously managed the colour palette was across the game’s arc, and Nava’s recollection of the scramble to get the game’s climax right “on the final minute. I nonetheless cannot consider we pulled it off. We scrapped an on-rails model we hacked in that did not really feel good and bought a schedule extension to make it proper. Thank goodness.”
And eventually, how one thing designed proper initially ended up being good for the top.
Last second of the sport vs an idea I created throughout one of many very first days of dev, years earlier than. On the time, I did not know what the ending would actually be. I bear in mind the second proper on the finish once we bought the timing excellent for this. It made the sport! #Journey pic.twitter.com/bj5HsGbst5March 13, 2022
Journey is currently 50% off on Steam until March 17, and there is nothing prefer it. The thoughtfulness and craftsmanship that Nava’s recollections exude is an enormous a part of why.