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Interview: Jenova Chen on Games For Change, Storytelling, and more

The 11th annual Games For Change Festival was headlined by renowned game designer Jenova Chen, head of the award-winning thatgamecompany. During his keynote, Chen spoke about the purpose of gaming being an exchange of emotions, not numbers. With regards to the popular games of today that look to have a social aspect, Chen spoke of how he strived to create something different, where players could have an emotional connection without large explosions and grisly murders.

That Game Company's Jenova Chen
That Game Company

Speaking of Journey, Chen mentioned that the original reaction of players when they met was to cause harm to each other, leaving their morals in the real world. He had an opportunity to speak with a mental health professional who advised him that when entering a virtual world, the majority of people remove their moral compass. When tasked with trying to find an alternative, Chen came up with the positive reactions that led to many awards for Journey.

With works that have won numerous awards and been featured in places such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian, Chen's work is recognized as a change for good and a positive mark in an industry that can often get lost in the explosions that largely embody it. Chen, and Games For Change, look to continue that positive reinforcement for years to come. Let us know what you think of the interview and thatgamecompany's work in the comments below!

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