Chinese video game designer Jenova Chen, whose given name is Xinghan Chen, has carved out a very specific niche in the gaming world. With his development company, Thatgamecompany, he has created an impressive revue of revolutionary games, including ‘Flower,’ ‘Journey,’ and ‘Sky.’
While many games tend to focus on progression via conflict, Chen’s games focus instead on low-stress gameplay, and they attempt to have players inform their actions within the game with their own personal experiences.
‘Flower’ in particular made a significant splash upon its release in 2009. The game opens with no narration or text, just an image of a wilting flower in a decrepit city apartment. The player is then transported to an open field, where they can guide a cloud of flower pedals through the air, to gather other pedals along the way. And in the process, the surrounding land in rejuvenated, made colorful and healthy.
Chen’s latest effort, ‘Sky,’ is currently in early access. It’s the first of his games to feature multiplayer capabilities and was designed with families in mind.
Chen’s innovative design concepts and stunning visuals offer a bright note in a very competitive industry, one that is often characterized by a propensity for virtual violence and fierce opposition, whether in games or with respect to loyalty felt toward specific game developers and brands.