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Blackness is a visual effect found out of bounds in every level of Journey. Entering Blackness results in the screen going completely black except for companion marker (glowing edge) if one is present, and environment overlays such as frosty edges in Snow.
How to get it
Blackness exists out of bounds on every level. Two types of this effect can be distinguished:
- North/South blackness exists on all platforms and is easy to reach.
- Possible East/West blackness is much farther and may not be accessible on some platforms (reported on PS3 and PC, under investigation).
Each level has two commonly accessible blackness areas: a "north" blackness and a "south" blackness. To reach these, all you need to do is walk far enough south or north whilst OOB. How far depends on the level: the closest blackness is in the Tower level, the furthest in Sunken City.
The "edge of blackness" that you reach can be conceptualised as an endless wall going in the East-West direction; if you step past that wall everything turns black. Blackness only occurs in those specific locations (beyond the edge either too far north, or too far south), so tracing back a few steps will bring you to the "normal" world again.
Differences by platform
If a Companion is connected, Companion marker (a glowing spot along the edge of the screen indicating the direction where the Companion is) is visible on all platforms.
Tips for Dealing with Blackness
- If your screen goes black, stop immediately. Turn your camera around, and if you are lucky, the camera will be able to swing out of the black while you are standing still.
- If you're trying to find the edge of the blackness, turn your camera to face backwards, and walk toward camera, heading toward where you think the blackness is. Since camera is placed in front of you, it will run into the black area first. When it does, stop moving and turn the camera behind you. With his method you’ll have much higher success in finding blackness without getting trapped in it.
- It also helps to have a friend because the chirp glow can show you the exit.
Here you can see BB from above. It illustrates pretty well how the blackness is "designed". A straight line at the start and end of the OOB.
(Thanks to Alex for these tips and the image.)
Further tip from qtzl3000:
- I found it safer to simply backtrack: don't touch the camera, just use your left stick to walk back a few steps and you'll be in the "normal world" again.
- The reason for not touching the camera (right stick) is that if you turn the camera around in blackness you lose track of which direction is which on the left stick; if you don't touch the camera, back is still back i.e. towards you.
Blackness is also famous for the effect known as Ink Painting which occurs at the edge of blackness if it's outside the sky box. By going in and out of blackness (and thus forcing the game to render things on a black screen) one can create interesting patterns of black "ink" mixed with level views.
- Each level in Journey has an "environment map" that defines how the sky and fog colours change as you travel along the game world's Z-axis (from South to North). North/South Blackness occurs when you go past the last/first environment node because outside the defined range all visual control parameters are set to zero in the 3D space. Overlays like frost / mouse pointer are apparently merged on top of the 3D Renderer output (black screen) which is why they remain visible.
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