Epic hasn’t announced this just yet, but it already has a page live on the Epic Store website: One of the games that will be released on its new store is Journey, which is “coming soon.”
The PS3 exclusive (well, not any more) from thatgamecompany was a big deal when it released. We’ve seen lots of experimentation in adventure and multiplayer games in the six years since, but back in 2012, it felt like an anomaly. It still did, when it was re-released on PS4.
If asked to describe gaming in the late 2010s and early teens, I’d pick 2012 as my example year: XCOM, Assassin’s Creed 3, Dishonored, Mass Effect 3, Far Cry 3, Borderlands 2, Hitman: Absolution, and Metal of Honor: Warfighter all released in 2012. That’s one new series, Dishonored, among a bunch of reboots and sequels, and all of them involve killin’ stuff and watching cutscenes. But then there was Journey, a game with no words and no tough-as-nails spaceship captains, just nice music and a pretty desert and a sense of connection with another person.
If, like me, you didn’t own a PS3 in 2012 and never played Journey yourself, the gist is that you’re a small figure walking, jumping, and floating through a desert toward a mountain, collecting symbols to progress. In each level, a random companion can join you. This is another player, and they can stay with you throughout the couple hours it takes to complete Journey, but you can’t communicate with words, just noises and the way you move. It’s a simple, but, as was written again and again at the time, apparently quite moving experience.
I’ve watched someone else play it, but I can’t speak to the power of Journey myself (or lack of power, in the off chance it doesn’t land for me like it did so many others). But it’s great that we get to try it, and that it’ll be preserved on PC with working multiplayer for the foreseeable future. It’s hard to chart exact lineages through gaming—inspiration is taken from all over—but Journey definitely had an effect that’s still influencing games today. At the very least, I’d give it credit for helping broaden the public’s idea of what game can be.
It isn’t clear right now whether or not Journey will come to Steam and other platforms—it’s being published by Annapurna, which usually publishes on Steam and GOG. It’s still a nice get by Epic, which is clearly not just dipping its toes in the water with its new store. Here are the other games coming to Epic’s store first.