The first day of San Diego Comic Con started with a very early panel from SOE focused on indie games. The panel was listed to be about Journey specifically, but Payday, Papa & Yo and Sideway were all represented.
First the panelists went over their journey in the game industry to how they became independent developers. Kellie and Jenova met at a program at USC. They were both inspired by attending GDC (something we recommend all students attend).
Fuel (Sideway) was an advertising agency and decided to try to build their own branded IP. Others basically worked for the big guys, but found that working on their own passion kept them going.
Advice for how to create your game was to start with prototyping. It’s a hard skill to learn, but with a prototype that you can play with, you’ll be able to test the game mechanics and see what emotions are being evoked. Jenova stated that Journey was inspired by a painting he did. In the painting individuals had to hold hands and work together to get through an area where there was too much fog to see. It was hilarious when Jenova mentioned that he wants to make a MMO but he hates all the talking. So Journey is an experience where you meet others but without all the talking.
The most interesting question from Q&A was about how the developers choose to use color. Sometimes it’s to bring attention to what the gamer is supposed to do. Sometimes it’s to evoke an emotion and sometimes it’s just industry standards (red for a low life bar). Jenova’s response was Journey started with Red because they already used green and blue.
In the end, the panelists had strong opinions on doing what you feel passionate about. The representative from Fuel repeatedly spoke about branding. To make sure you really investigate and think about your IP. And above all Jenova left us with this tip, “”Are we contributing to the whole landscape of what games are capable of?” Don’t be afraid to be different. Don’t be afraid to go for your dream. With passion, you’ll find others who are willing to go on your Journey with you.