The following are excerpts from a conversation with Jenova Chen, Co-Founder and Creative Director at thatgamecompany. Jenova’s meteoric rise began at USC after a viral success with Cloud led to a fortuitous meeting with Sony. Jenova’s hit games include the PSN exclusives Flow, Flower and Journey.
EL: Can you start by introducing yourself, talking a little bit about what your background is and the games you’ve worked on?
JC: I grew up in China, went through college there, and came to USC in Los Angeles, studied in the film school’s Interactive Media program. During my study there, I realized there’s a calling for me in my life that I wanted to do something to improve the game industry.
Particularly because we made a couple of student projects: one of them is called Cloud, the other one is called Flow. And these games helped me to realize that the game industry today has very limited emotional courage. Like, in all the traditional media, no matter how old are, what gender you are, what mood you are in, there’s always a music for you to consume. There’s always a film for you to watch, even if you are very sad.
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