‘Journey’ Beta Starts Tomorrow, Early ‘Flower’ Players Receive First Access

I’m none too keen on reopening any “games-as-art” debates – the subject has been absolutely beaten to death – but it’s hard to deny the impressive line-up of gorgeous titles on thatgamecompany’s roster. With games like “flow” and “Flower,” the team have found an interesting way to combine rich visuals with less-traditional gameplay mechanics, resulting in some incredibly thought-provoking play time with my PlayStation 3.

The developer’s next game, “Journey,” is certainly just as unusual, and maybe you’re itching to try it out. Well, if you’re a fan of the studio’s prior work, you just might have a chance to play some “Journey” first.

Santa Monica Studios’ Randall Lowe, writing on the PlayStation Blog today, gave some insight into what the team has planned for “Journey” now that the E3 madness has ended. The game was generally enjoyed by the press in Los Angeles, but this is really one of those titles you need to try out for yourself in order to get a solid grasp of it. Good news: there’s a beta.

“To test Journey’s innovative and unusual multiplayer functionality, we are conducting a small, invite-only beta that will run tomorrow, June 28 and will run through July 12,” Lowe wrote on the blog. “If you were one of the very earliest adopters of ’Flower,’ and you are a PS Plus subscriber as well, watch your XMB inbox for your invitation and entry into the beta.”

The beta isn’t just for “Flower” players, though. Lowe also stated that a limited amount of beta codes will be available through thatgamecompany’s Facebook page, and there will be other code giveaways through various other outlets.

I was unfortunately only able to spend a short amount of time with “Journey” at E3 this year – very short, as in only a couple minutes – but the game seems super interesting. The game’s strange approach to online play, completely dropping usernames and lobbies, was certainly one of the more original ideas on display at E3 this year.