thatgamecompany courting publishers, next game announced 'hopefully within this year' [update]

Update: Chen contacted us to clarify his statements regarding Hunicke and Santiago: "Both Kellee and Robin made huge contributions to our games. My comments about their roles were made to address, particularly, the creative development process of our next game. By no means would I make those statements by themselves, otherwise it would feel like I'm downplaying my partners' roles."

Now that Journey is out and thatgamecompany has been loosed from the bonds of its three game exclusivity deal with Sony, company co-founder Jenova Chen is on the prowl for a new publishing parter. "It takes us a little bit of time to basically readjust after the three game deal," Chen said during an interview with VG247. "We're very close in figuring out what the next deal is. We're negotiating with various partners."

Obviously, thatgamecompany wouldn't need a new publisher unless it was working on a new game, but the acquisition of a new publication pal won't necessarily translate into any information about Chen's next project. "In terms of when you'll know about the next game, I think we intentionally announce our games very early. We announced Flower half a year after we launched Flow. We announced Journey half a year after we launched Flower. So hopefully within this year, you'll hear from us about our next game."

Chen also put to bed fears that the departures of producer Robin Hunicke and co-founder Kellee Santiago would hamper thatgamecompany's ability to create its next title. "I wouldn't say they have any direct impact when it comes to developing the game. Kellee is mostly working on the business end and PR for TGC, so she represents the company, but she's not a developer in terms of engineer or artist or designer on this game.

"Robin was the producer. She's more like a manager type. But we still have the lead engineer, lead designer and artists from Journey, so it doesn't really matter in terms of our ability to make games."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.