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 Journey  developer no longer tied to Sony, thanks to new funding

Journey developer no longer tied to Sony, thanks to new funding

June 14, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

Thatgamecompany, developer of acclaimed PlayStation Network titles like Journey, has raised $5.5 million, which it claims will allow the studio to make and release games independently.

Since opening in 2006, Thatgamecompany has developed its titles as part of a three-game partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment America. That deal limited what platforms its games could appear on, and ceded some control over its projects to the publisher.

Thatgamecompany's co-founder and creative director Jenova Chen says that with this series A round of funding, the developer can now release its games to more platforms and provide what it sees as an optimal experience to players.

VC firm Benchmark Capital provided the financing, and general partner Mitch Lasky will join Thatgamecompany's board of directors as part of the deal. He compared the studio's vision to Pixar's contributions to animation, and said Benchmark wanted to support that approach.

"The intent of the investment is to provide the resources for TGC to remain independent, so they can innovate with complete autonomy from the pressures of platforms and publishers," added Lasky in a blog post about the news.

Based in Santa Monica, Thatgamecompany has released three games published by Sony: Flow, Flower, and Journey, the last of which became the fastest-selling U.S. PSN game ever after it released in March.

The completion of Journey and the studio's deal with Sony, though, saw an exodus of several key members from Thatgamecompany's team, including co-founder and president Kellee Santiago, executive producer Robin Hunicke, producer/designer Chris Bell, and "feel engineer" John Nesky.

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