In order to follow your own dreams in the video game industry, you have to give up some of the things you love to do. For Jenova Chen, he decided it was best to leave Maxis’ Spore DS development team to create his own games labeled under “thatgamecompany”. He tried to persist EA into giving him a chance to fund his work, but if you’ve never released anything before, it’s a little difficult to get them on your side.
“While, for example, Maxis’ Spore is awesome, Spore is not really the game that thatgamecompany is set up for. So after working on it for a while, even though the game is so fun, and everybody there is so creative, like, basically prototyping every day. It’s like the perfect job for a game designer — I still don’t know why I dropped it. (laughter)
I think it’s because, you know, when you play games, you have a goal, and every action you have has a clear response and reward to tell you, “Hey! You’re closer to the goal!” Whether that’s an experience bar, or your cash that you’re collecting, I just felt like no matter how hard I worked at Maxis, I’m not getting closer to the goal that I’m looking at.
So, you know, I think I just want to create more of a contribution for the industry. If I stayed with Spore at the time — I don’t even know when it’s going to be done, but finally they released the launch date. I just thought, “If I left at this moment, and started creating a new game, I might be able to create a game before Spore even launched.” I think we still have a chance!
So, [a new game] plus flOw. I just think having two more games for the player is better than… to leave a company before the game is done? Yeah, it’s bad for Maxis, but I think it’s better for the gamers; for everybody. Just having more games for the gamers — more games with a different feel.”
You can read more on this subject at Gamasutra.