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.”