Psyhonauts 2 as a project has been considered a number of times in the media, these past few years. Most interestingly perhaps, when Notch tweeted Tim Schaefer about wanting to finance it. In the end he backed out because the proposed budget figure of 18 million dollars surprised him. Well, Notch, 18 million dollars is less than 2% of that 1 billion dollars of Microsoft money you got last year. Surely, now you can make good on your promise?
More realistically, Psychonauts 2 might simply get made because Double Fine is in desperate need of a hit after a series of half baked projects, burned fans and so-so reviews. While the original was a commercial failure – partly due to publishing worries – chances are that it’s current ‘cult’ following would ensure better press this time around. That is if they can find those millions of dollars from another tech billionaire nostalgic for old times.
But if we leave all such practical considerations to one side, what would a Psychonauts 2 actually be about? Whom would it feature? What would it play like?
Here’s some wild and rampant speculation while we wait.
I bought a small form factor pc recently to serve as HTPC (home theater pc, or pc wot plays media files) and allround home, web and cloud server. It has integrated graphics. It runs linux. It is in other words not a gaming pc. But I still went ahead and bought a controller with it, installed Steam and picked up a number of indie titles to run on it.
It has turned out surprisingly well. Due in large part to the fact that it has allowed me to reconnect with Double Fine’s 2006 cult classic Psychonauts. I liked Psychonauts before when I rushed through every level to get to the endgame. Now that I have played it at a more leisurely pace, I think that it might just be the best game that I have ever played in terms of world, environment and characters.
The reasoning is fairly simple. You may have heard people talk of games where the fate of the characters mattered to them, beyond merely tactical concerns. Maybe you have felt that way yourself. Me, not so much. Except, that is, for the summer camp of Whispering Rock that is the setting of Psychonauts and the collection of misfits that inhabit it.
I love Psychonauts so the idea of somebody breaking it to shortcircuit all the brilliant content and finish it as quickly as possible should be horrid and unwatcheable. Except of course when that person is surrounded by the game’s creators jeering and laughing at the breaking and the short circuiting. This is a measure of how much I love Tim Schaefer: I’m actually jealous of the guy being (jokingly) passive-aggresived by him.