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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 21: Jenova Chen of thatgamecompany

Tim Spaeth's picture

Jenova Chen of thatgamecompany (flOw, Flower) is our guest this week, and his journey from Shanghai child to superstar developer was a perfect storm of determination, skill, and a whole lot of luck. You'll hear that story and many more in our jam-packed interview. And yes, he explains his Final Fantastic first name. With Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike Bracken, and Tim Spaeth.

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Category Tags
Platform(s): PS3   PC  
Developer(s): thatgamecompany  
Key Creator(s): Jenova Chen  
Articles: Interviews   Best Work   Podcasts  
Topic(s): Game Design & Dev  

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Behind the Scenes: I think the episode speaks for itself; there's not much in the way of secret behind-the-scenes stuff to talk about. Chi exchanged a few e-mails with Jenova and asked him to be on the show. He cheerfully obliged. We find that most smaller and/or indie developers are eager to talk, and are also much less guarded with what they have to say. In fact after the show Jenova offered to come back on to do a deeper dive into his design philosophies. Great interviewee, really nice guy, and I'd love to have him back on.

Deleted Content: Seattle's own Brad Gallaway recorded some PAX impressions for us but we mutually decided to scrap the segment. You can check out Brad's written impressions here and here.

Coming Up: Something meaty and delicious. Not an interview, not a "whatcha been playing." We record on Saturday.

Given GameCritic's friendliness to deaf/hard-of-hearing gamers

Has the idea of posting a transcript alongside the podcasts been mentioned at all?


Boy: We've had several people ask and it's a great idea. We've looked into transcription services and unfortunately they are all out of our price range. Of course, given we are doing this for free our price range is pretty much "zero" to "nearly zero."

Coincidentally, we are currently rolling out a state-of-the-art digital dictation/transcription system at work; if I could trick my secretary into thinking the podcast was in fact a legal abstract, we'd be all set.

Need Volunteers for Podcast Transcribing

Boy wrote:

Has the idea of posting a transcript alongside the podcasts been mentioned at all?

I think this was mentioned awhile back and I said if someone was willing to volunteer to transcribe the podcasts, we'd happily post it alongside each podcast.

Next Episode

If you're interested in participating in our next show (recording Saturday 9/19) hop on over to this thread and leave your thoughts:

Episode 22 Prep Thread

Jenova is a star.

Sorry for being late to the part here, but this was one of the better podcasts. Even with a slight language issue, Chen was really amazing with his thoughts and anecdotes. It was really a wonderful listen and I'm amazed he isn't asked to go all over the country on media tours. He's on the level of a Levine or Dyack in terms of knowing what he is all about and what he brings to the gaming universe. I second Tim's comment, you have to get Jenova Chen back on some time in the future.

Transcript available for Podcast #21 (Jenova Chen interview)

I just wanted to say that we are not oblivious to the fact that we run a website that chooses to inform readers of how accessible a game is to gamers with certain disabilities. That's what made the lack of a transcript option for the deaf & hard of hearing such a glaring omission. And I want to state that we did hear the requests from those seeking such an option.

After continued internal discussions on how to implement something like that, Tera Kirk has volunteered to take on transcribing duties for the near future. I say the "near future" because we don't know how long something like this can be done. Transcribing is still a very time-consuming endeavor and no one knows how long Tera will be able to keep it up. So think of it as a trial run where we try to work out any kinks, gauge the user reception and see if we can keep it going.

Now that is out of the way, the transcript for the Episode 21 podcast is available.

Give it a try. Tell your friends, Tweet it if you like and more importantly let us know what you think.

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