They say that adversity breeds greatness, and the struggles faced by the critical hit Journey seem to prove the rule. The game received a spot on many 2012 lists, including our own and, just recently, the top honor at DICE 2013. But to get there, thatgamecompany faced a perilous financial situation.
Speaking at DICE, studio head Jenova Chen said the game wasn't hitting all of the emotional notes after two years. Sony granted the studio an extra year extension, but when development continued past that point, the studio was running out of funds.
"Near the end, around the launch of Journey, quite a few members of the team left TGC. It's not because they chose to. We ran out of money," Chen told VentureBeat. "We basically laid off all the employees. We gave them all severance, spreading all of our money around. We were ready to take down the company."
According to Chen, TGC has broken even on the game, but won't know if it'll be profitable for a few more months, due to Sony's delayed payment schedule for developers. "Honestly, I don't know how much Journey has sold at this point. But I know we broke even on it," he said.