Journey, thatgamecompany's acclaimed adventure game, is wonderful in part because it's a cohesive experience — the design and mechanics lead you through the desert, echoed by Austin Wintory's Grammy-nominated original score. They enrich each other and make the game more than the sum of its parts, and now, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that launched yesterday and is already successful, people will have the chance to see a live performance of the full Journey experience.
"Journey Live" doesn't refer to the rock band of the 1970s and '80s; it's the name for a touring event that the Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble calls a "fully interactive live performance" of Journey and its original score. Here's how it will work: A person will be playing Journey live on stage, and a group of 13 musicians will be playing along with that person. In other words, the musicians will be "responding in real time" to what the player is doing, according to the Kickstarter pitch.
Putting "Journey Live" together isn't as simple as giving someone a controller and a copy of Journey while musicians play off of sheet music. Journey publisher Sony Computer Entertainment provided the Fifth House Ensemble with a special version of the game that only contains the sound effects, not Wintory's music; that way, the group said, "You'll hear all of the swishing sand, creaking metal, and blowing wind mixed with the sound of our live instruments."
As for the music, Wintory explained in the Kickstarter campaign that it's not possible to simply produce a printed version of his Journey score "because of the extremely intricate, non-linear manner in which the music functions in-game." For the performance, composer Patrick O'Malley produced an arrangement of the score — with Wintory's assistance and approval — that is "separated into bite-sized chunks that are triggered by the live player's actions on stage," according to the Kickstarter pitch.
"Journey Live" will initially go on a four-city tour. First up is MAGFest 2016 on Feb. 20 in National Harbor, Maryland, followed by a Feb. 28 performance at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. The third stop won't come until April 9, when the group will perform at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. The tour will end April 16 at the University of Illinois - Springfield in Springfield, Illinois.
Members of the Fifth House Ensemble said in the pitch video that they had already raised the majority of the funds necessary to make "Journey Live" happen. The group asked for an additional $5,000 in the Kickstarter campaign, and hit that goal within about two hours of launching the funding drive yesterday. As of this writing, the campaign has pulled in more than $12,000 with 29 days to go. Upon hitting the goal, the Fifth House Ensemble said that any funds raised beyond the goal will go toward bringing "Journey Live" to additional cities.
Journey debuted on PlayStation 3 in March 2012, and was released on PlayStation 4 in July 2015.