Post by Steve Farrelly @ 01:04am 24/08/21 | 0 Comments
Having had the game for a fairly lengthy period of time, and in being a fan of the original, and of Double Fine's work along the way, it was a privilege to write the review for Psychonauts 2. Putting aside the obvious boon in it being a healthy distraction at this place in time, this is a game that simply delivers on a developer dream.
And it does so by not falling into any modern gaming pigeonholes. In fact, it's as far removed from current trends in gaming as you'll get. And all the better for it.
Here's a snippet:
No really, it’s where the game begins -- inside the mind of Dr Loboto who has a thing with teeth and, in learning to play the game via requisite tutorial, one of your very first tasks is to pull teeth and use them as weapons. And if that sounds insane, it’s a pretty good setup for the whole of the experience to follow. I mean, you’ll play through levels which just so happen to be the minds of a number of the game’s unique personalities, and layered within are contextual impediments and gameplay challenges built around themes of the psyche; the conscious mind and the subconscious mind as living sandboxes, where potential videogame traptropedoors around repetition can only be relegated to collecting. One minute you’re navigating someone’s warped memory of a delivery room, the next you’re finding a donor brain to help your mailroom co-worker who’s lost theirs. In setting expectation for the journey ahead, pulling teeth and using them as weapons in a brain wholly fixated on dental fears is about as clear an indication as you need.
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 01:01pm 21/07/21 | 0 Comments
As part of our hands-on access and chat with the fine folks over at Double Fine, it came to light that without the Microsoft acquisition, which some have labeled a 'spending spree' but we'd rather call a "bolstering of development creativity", a lack of the right resources and support was likely the main culprit behind the lengthy development cycle of Psychonauts 2.
Which isn't so much to say that Xbox swung in on a chandelier to save the game's slow build, rather, it came in with a relief truck full of computing power, extra heads, a bit of structure and that all-important double resource: nurture.
"The question when we joined Xbox was “what would you do with Psychonauts if you were not as constrained by resources as you are now?”, Double Fine's Tim Schaferexplained in our chat. “And so that really helped us finish the game right; finish the game with polish and [all the] features we wanted to finish it [with]. And to take a little bit of time to make sure it’s good enough for the players.”
There's a delicious irony in the whole process affording the studio more time, when time wasn't wholly on its side. But that's the story with this IP anyway, which also includes a different Microsoft from way back when that fostered the original game, which was Double Fine's debut title as a freshly-created studio, only to pull the rug out from under Schafer and co due to certain milestones not being met, and the departure of the game's Microsoft-sided champion, Ed Fries.
From there, Psychonauts found monetary issues aplenty until landing a publishing deal with Majesco, where the game would finally see light of day in 2005 and garner critical acclaim, but not a lot of commercial success. In 2011, however, Double Fine regained the rights to the license from Majesco and, after having dealt with similar publisher woes on that other amazing title, Brutal Legend, clung to those rights with an iron fist.
In the time between now and in regaining those rights, the first game's audience has grown with Double Fine managing its own sales and marketing of the game, but you could still consider it a niche outing deserved of wider audience -- something we also explored in our in-depth feature.
"It’s ... a perfect game for Game Pass -- it’s unusual and quirky and might be a risky thing for someone who’s in a store thinking about spending $60 on it, but on Game Pass there’s so much less risk and it’s so easy to just try it," Schafer said. "And I think it will reach a lot more people because of that.”
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 11:37pm 19/07/21 | 0 Comments
It's been a long time between drinks for the original Psychonauts and the forthcoming sequel from Double Fine, Psychonauts 2, which will officially be the studio's first release as a wholly-owned Microsoft studio.
But don't let that huge gap fool you, this sequel doesn't feel years apart, even if the visual sheen, scope and scale, and general polish is telling you different. From a narrative and storytelling foundation, it's like there's been no time at all.
We not only managed to play a fair chunk of the game, but also had time with the devs at Double Fine, including with Tim Schafer himself.
Here's a snippet:
The whole game is a “what if Jhonen Vasquez and Pixar had a baby?” delivery of top-notch design and art-direction. Though those influences are only really added here so people not familiar with Scott Campbell’s art that got the whole tone underway in the first place (he also worked on Brutal Legend), know what they’re in for. Those names can be mentioned because they create a point of visual reference, but it’s a disservice to the package as a whole to suggest they influenced the world of Psychonauts at all. This is a fully realised IP that could transcend games in a heartbeat -- something we actually asked Tim Schafer about.
“Various people over time have brought that idea to us; Hollywood has come callin’ a few times,” he enthuses. “But it’s never worked out for one reason or another [and] we always just really focus on the games. I think games are cooler than movies anyway, so that’s where it naturally belongs.”
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 12:29pm 24/07/20 | 0 Comments
And with both Jack Black and Tim Schafer wearing Brutal Legend t-shirts, the mind wonders what might be in store for everyone's favourite Roadie, Eddie Riggs. But ahead of any further hope speculation, we got a seriously trippy look into what Black's role in Psychonauts 2 is, and can now add this game to our "cant wait" book.
Here's the story skinny:
Razputin Aquato, trained acrobat and powerful young psychic, has realised his life long dream of joining the international psychic espionage organisation known as the Psychonauts! But these psychic super spies are in trouble. Their leader hasn't been the same since he was kidnapped, and what's worse, there's a mole hiding in headquarters. Raz must use his powers to stop the mole before they execute their secret plan--to bring the murderous psychic villain, Maligula, back from the dead!
Watch the new trailer that premiered overnight for Psychonauts 2 embedded below. Currently there are no firm details on a specific release date, but like everything shown at the Xbox Series X Games Showcase 2020, it will be available from day one on Xbox Game Pass.