The Secrets of Journey
Surprises and revelations for this one-of-a-kind adventure.
Exploring the world of Journey is one of gaming’s most relaxing experiences. Surfing over sand dunes on your way toward a mysterious beacon, you soon discover these astonishingly beautiful landscapes hold secrets big and small.
To help you make the most of your odyssey, the developers at Thatgamecompany shared the inside scoop on the game’s coolest Easter eggs, technical achievements, and hidden tidbits. So grab your scarf and get ready to glide.
The desert was a forest
Journey is set in the desert, but during the game’s development, Thatgamecompany had players trekking through lush forests rather than sprawling sand.
At the time, Journey was being prototyped with a top-down overhead view. But once the team switched to a 3D camera, they realized that trees obscured the players’ vision, making it difficult for them to see one another and work together, recalls studio director Jenova Chen.
The solution? Swap out the forests for wide-open deserts—which also ended up improving the game’s performance. “Trees used up way too many polygons,” Chen says.
Easter egg callbacks
Knowing that many players of Journey would be longtime fans of the earlier releases flOw and Flower, Thatgamecompany included a few Easter eggs just for them.
For instance, after you reach and release the second cloth creature in Journey’s third level, stand and face the distant mountain. Then head right and keep trekking for a minute or two until you discover a shallow valley where three dunes converge. There you’ll find a lone, yellow blossom—a reference to Flower. Try shouting at it and see what happens!
Another Easter egg: Find all the glowing symbols in Journey’s sixth level to fill the temple with fog and activate the exit. But instead of leaving, sink through the mist and look for the lowest open area of the middle column. Inside you’ll see the mysterious wormlike creature from flOw merrily swimming through the air.
After exploring the cavernous tunnels of the game’s fifth level (and avoiding the scary, snakelike Guardians), try heading to the right near the exit. There you’ll find a couple of pieces of cloth that appear to be suspended in midair.
Chen says a piece of test cloth was accidentally left in that spot by one of Journey’s original level designers. Early players stumbled across the glitch and affectionally dubbed the mini-scarf “Gary.” Instead of removing the errant piece of fabric in a game patch, Thatgamecompany added another (which players have dubbed “Larry”), so it wouldn’t be lonely.
The consummate cloak
Each time you come across a glowing symbol in Journey, your hero’s scarf grows a bit longer, extending your gliding capabilities. But dedicated adventurers who hunt down every last glyph are rewarded with a supremely special secret.
Collect all 21 symbols, then head for the hub near the starting area. Step into the ruined portal off to the right and boom—you’ve unlocked a dazzling white robe, plus a scarf that automatically regenerates its flight energy whenever you touch the ground. You’ll soar like never before.