In Journey, the player takes the role of a robed figure in a desert. The game features no map or instructions, only a large mountain in the distance that the player journeys toward. While traveling the player can encounter other players, one at a time, if they are playing online. Players cannot speak to each other, but can help each other in their journey or not as they wish. Players met online will not be identified with a username and voice or text communication will not be possible with the other player. According to designer Jenova Chen, "it's about two strangers who meet online. They don't know who they are or how old they are. All they know is, that is another human being." The only way players can communicate audibly with each other is with a wordless shout. Players will have symbols on the front of their robes for identification, so that the player can tell whether they have met that traveler before or not.
While traveling through the desert, players can come across pieces of cloth that can be collected and used to fly for brief periods. The game world also includes magical objects and ruins, though Thatgamecompany has not explained what purpose they serve. Hidden areas will contain tapestries and other clues as to the events leading up to the game, the story of which has not yet been announced.