Go With the fl0w: Jenova Chen on Console Independence

To describe the experience you get from playing Jenova Chen's games as "serene" would be an understatement. Serenity is implied even from their titles: Cloud and flOw.

Both games were created by Chen (AKA "Xinghan Chen") as part of his studies while he was a student of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. His aim was to illicit emotions beyond the medium's typical kill-or-be-killed and win-or-lose game play mentality.

Cloud is inspired by the sensation of dreams where one is flying. In flOw, the player controls a flagellar creature in what could be described as an extremely Zen take on Geometry Wars; Chen based the game on psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's "Flow Theory," whose work explored ideas of what makes people truly happy. Cloud and flOw earned awards for Chen. flOw went further: Sony picked it up to offer as a downloadable game on the PlayStation Network, its new online service for the PS3.

Born in Shanghai, China, Chen currently works for EA Maxis, but he also has co-founded his own development studio, thatgamecompany. While, for this interview, he wouldn't reveal what his next game might be like, one can assume it will probably showcase another unique emotional experience.

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