Before E3, the last time we heard anything about flOw dev Thatgamecompany's newest project was November 2007. Cut to last week, when TGC Creative Director and co-founder Jenova Chen guided us through an early build of their upcoming PSN title flower (note the 'o' is now lowercase).

Like flOw, it's really hard for us to confidently form an opinion on the abstract idea (check out PS3 Fanboy for their praises). We hope Sony decides to release a demo with this game. Videos and previews will not do flower justice; it's a game worth trying for yourself.
According to Chen, the entire game was inspired by finding a balance between urban life and desire of nature, hence the working subtitle "life in balance." If flOw is a haiku, he said, then flower is a poem. The two games share many similarities: simple controls, no tutorials, and an atmosphere best described as "soothing." However, what flower has that its predecessor lacks is structure and Trophies. (Chen explained that Trophies are being mandated by Sony, however the developer is implementing them in "an interesting way.")

"We can already predict flower's reviews: It's a soothing and interactive piece of art, but it's not a game. And we're perfectly fine with that."



Each of the flowers on your apartment windowsill opens a level, considered the flower's dream sequence. In the one we played, we used the Sixaxis the glide the petal around a hilly and tree-less field (newsflash: The petal cannot crash), and any button pressed lets you speed up the trajectory.

As you flow-t around the level, bumping into other flowers will increase your botanical army. Groups of activated flowers unlock more flowers to touch and can turn a yellow patch of earth into a lush growth. Chen said that each level will have different objectives and it is up to you to figure out what they are. There are also secrets in each dream, he said, although we didn't find any in our brief demo.

Chen dubbed the game "intellectually M-rated," but for the ESRB, we're confident it'll be E for Everyone. We can already predict flower's reviews: It's a soothing and interactive piece of art, but it's not a game. And we're perfectly fine with that. Chen said they are contractually obligated to produce one more game for PSN. If the naming and analogy trends continue, we look forward to next year's "short story" flowerpOt.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.