that(multiplatform)gamecompany… new funding leads to new opportunities

The geniuses behind Flow, Flower, and, most recently, Journey have announced today that they have raised enough funding to allow them to develop and release their games independent of Sony Computer Entertainment America, with whom they have now concluded their three-game deal.

Jenova Chen, founder and CEO of thatgamecompany, confirmed that the new investment of $5.5 million comes from Benchmark Capital, specifically Mitch Lasky, who has been a long supporter of Chen.

Lasky spoke to VentureBeat about his new partnership: “Jenova has a chance to be the John Lasseter [head of Pixar] of the video games business. I feel privileged to be riding shotgun with him. The ambitions for thatgamecompany are very exciting to me… We are at a point in the video game industry that the industry is hollowed out. It is out of touch with the zeitgeist, creating sequels and formulaic games over and over again. The energy comes from the indies.”

Lasky has also helped find funding for Riot Games, makers of the free-to-play League of Legends, as well as Meteor Entertainment, which is making the free-to-play game Hawken, due for release later this year.

While there was no specific details about thatgamecompany’s next title, Chen did reveal that the game is in development, and that it will be a cross-platform affair: “We got so many emails from fans saying they wished they could play our games on other platforms. We make games for human beings, not just gamers. Young, old, men, women, and from all countries. We want to change the concept of what a game is and show society what a game can be.”

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In addition to being Warp Zoned’s UK Correspondent, Andrew Rainnie is a screenwriter and filmmaker. You can email him at andrew AT warpzoned DOT com or you can, if you’re inclined, visit his personal website.

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