Notch Clarifies All The Psychonauts 2 Things

By Jim Rossignol on February 16th, 2012 at 9:36 am.


Calling for the internet to stop hyping his offer to fund the imaginary sequel, Notch said: ““The budget for doing a Psychonauts 2 is three times higher than my initial impression.” He went to insist that while emails had been exchanged and meeting at GDC was happening, “I have no idea if this is actually going to happen.” He also explained that he would be looking at the project purely as a monetary adventure: “I wouldn’t want to have any creative input in the game. It would be purely a high risk investment in a project I believe in.”

Does this mean that Pat’s trousers really aren’t on the menu? Only time will tell.

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62 Comments »

  1. I want to stab you to death and play around with your blood. says:

    Sounds like Notch was sipping on some of grandpa’s cough medicine while tweeting. Honestly, $13 million has got to be a large portion of his entire net worth.

  2. Keirley says:

    While it’s great that he’s even considering doing something like this, I think it’s a bit of a silly move to announce his interest in funding Psychonauts 2 publicly without really knowing what that would entail, or if it would even be possible.

    • Maldomel says:

      He just tweeted about it. Of course hopes got high everywhere, because that would mean two great man working together on a great sequel of a great game.
      Now, as I said it was just a tweet, nothing really serious I’d wager. And despite all the jokes about his money, he might not be that rich to fund a project just because he wants too.

    • Zeewolf says:

      He also tweeted “I am serious, BTW”. So it’s not surprising that people thinks he is, well, serious.

      Anyway, I think that if he really wants to invest millions in a game, there are better candidates than Psychonauts 2. I doubt it’ll be profitable.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      Yes but it is STILL a personal tweet account, which when I look at it, he treats as such. Certainly he discusses personal and business related things, as you would in any aspect of your personal life.

      He tweeted that he was serious and no doubt he was, as is evidenced by his meeting and the fact that since that tweet he has in fact entered into some formal discussion on the matter. It was a serious suggestion from a person but, like many serious suggestions from many people it may not happen.

      The idea that he is somehow being irresponsible through this tweeted suggestion seems ludicrous. There is a line to be drawn between personal and business expectations.

    • dontnormally says:

      Silly, yes. Futile? Definitely Not.

      Even if this amounts to nothing, Psychonauts 2 now has thousands more interested eyeballs aimed its way.

      http://www.google.com/trends/?q=psychonauts+2&ctab=0&geo=all&date=ytd&sort=0

  3. hosndosn says:

    Interesting he underestimated the budget.

    I never thought this was something Notch suggested as a throwaway side project. This would be a big, true investment, essentially a publishing/funding deal like you’d do it with a larger company. I’m sure he can afford it. Minecraft must have made something above $50,000,000 by now, and that’s a conservative estimate. But 13 million is nothing to scoff at. I give this a 50/50 chance of working out. If it happened, that would be pretty amazing but I wouldn’t bet on it.

    • Valvarexart says:

      I’m thinking that 13m was what he had originally thought, and that the budget would actually have to be more like 30m.

    • Gnoupi says:

      Fact is that if he takes his own team as budget reference, it can indeed be surprising. Finally you have really the minimum in their own studios.

      Start adding voice acting, animators, a full team of 50+ people (including several industry legends), and you realize that one year of dev costs much more than it would for some indie title. It’s simply not the same range of budget.

    • Zeewolf says:

      Schafer was the one saying 13 million, in that interview on Kotaku.

      So if that’s three times as much as Notch thought… well, yeah, then that is kind of surprising.

      Edit: Wrong site.

    • Edradour says:

      I thought the 13M figure were the actual development costs for the original game and schaefer stated that the sequel would prolly take 3 times as much? Atleast thats what i gathered from what little attention i paid to the whole story.

    • Shuck says:

      Given the sorts of projects Notch has worked on (the scale and nature of them), it’s not surprising he would underestimate the costs. This sort of project, with a good sized team, with an office, working in a country without national health care, is going to be more expensive than anything he’s done before on a per-person basis. Plus, since they’d be publishing themselves, the publishing and marketing costs would be significant. The marketing costs will be at least as much as the development costs, for example.

  4. coldvvvave says:

    Not so rich after all, huh?

  5. Dominic White says:

    The $13 million figure probably assumes that the game is going to be a multiplatform release. Publishing on consoles is inordinately expensive, and you need a hefty advertising budget, too.

    Schaefer just recently dropped a bomb in an interview – one of those figures that other developers had been questioned about, but didn’t want to burn any bridges revealing. He let slip the figure that Microsoft charge third-party studios for the privilege of releasing a patch for one of their own XBLA games: $40,000.

    That’s not even the price to patch a RETAIL game, just a smaller, downloadable one. Microsoft tax the hell out of post-release support, which probably pushes up QA costs in development a ton. Compare this to, say, Valve, who not only don’t charge developers who want to patch their own games and provide post-release support, but they often subsidize it (see all the Portal tie-ins in indie releases).

    • Gnoupi says:

      “Compare this to, say, Valve, who not only don’t charge developers who want to patch their own games and provide post-release support, but they often subsidize it (see all the Portal tie-ins in indie releases).”

      It’s nice indeed that they understand that allowing devs to deliver patches fast and regularly is a nice plus for their service. The last part though is not out of pure kindness. It’s another way to invest marketing money by making your game license spread to a lot of places. A smart way, though, but I wouldn’t use that to compare content delivery platforms.

    • Dominic White says:

      I think it’s a very good point of comparison – Microsoft have a 100% chance of screwing you if you want to provide post-release support on your own game, wheras Valve have a 0% chance of screwing you, and a small but notable chance of actively helping you out.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      And that is why Microsoft is doomed in the console wars in the long term.

    • Prime says:

      “Schaefer just recently dropped a bomb in an interview – one of those figures that other developers had been questioned about, but didn’t want to burn any bridges revealing. He let slip the figure that Microsoft charge third-party studios for the privilege of releasing a patch for one of their own XBLA games: $40,000.”

      That…that’s fucking horrendous. Just for a patch? Jesus wept.

    • Unaco says:

      Have you got a source for this? Both claims, that MS charge to allow patching, and that Valve don’t? Also, how does that stack against what cut MS take for XBLA games, and the cut Valve take for games on Steam?

      Never know, charging for patches might work as an incentive… if it’s costing a studio $40,000 a patch or whatever, then they’ll have more impetus to get it all patched the 1st or 2nd time, not have fixes waiting til the next patch, or the next patch and so on. Also, encourage them to make sure it requires as little patching as possible on release. That’s novel, isn’t it? XBLA games are, obviously, going to be on XBox, so there’s going to be little in the way of compatibility issues or the like, so not that many fixes to be done, in that respect. They don’t have to worry about any of that, and should be able to concentrate on the other issues before releasing.

      Yeah, I’m thinking it’s a good thing, sort of a punishment/fine for releasing games that need a lot of patching, avoid this release and patch and patch and patch again mentality that a lot of Devs seem to have these days.

    • Dominic White says:

      @Unaco – You are joking, right? Taxing support is a great incentive for developers to release a game and then forever abandon it. How many PC games have gotten free content added after launch? New maps, levels, weapons, etc. Imagine how few of those there’d be if the developers had to pony up $40,000 EVERY TIME they wanted to do this.

      And here’s your source:
      http://neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=462937

    • Unaco says:

      I don’t see it as incentive to abandon a game. I see it as incentive to release the damn game in a state that will require as little patching as possible. Surely that is better than releasing games, in a somewhat broken state, knowing you can release a Day 0 patch, and then a Day 2 patch, and then a Day 3 patch to fix what the Day 2 patch broke.

      And that source says that they charge for a Patch, not an Update. They may only be charging for patches (thus compelling devs to release games that aren’t broken on Day 0) and not for updates, new features, maps etc.

    • Dominic White says:

      Valve have stated that the reason TF2 and Left 4 Dead never got updates and addons was because Microsoft wanted either them or players to pay for it. So yeah, Microsoft heavily tax ANY kind of post-release support unless you’re charging money for it.

      DLC has in many cases literally become ‘paid’ patches simply because the developer would lose huge chunks of money if they didn’t charge for it.

      I can’t believe that you’re seriously in favor of the policy that has resulted in 95% of XBLA games becoming ghost towns within weeks of release. It’s astonishingly harmful policy.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      This is absolutely horrendous. Why isn’t more of this sort of thing public knowledge? I’ve gotten so mad about minor issues on XBLA that would be simple to fix but never are. Now I know why. If you have an issue, like a Polish localisation issue let’s say, that affects less than 10,000 people, then there is no economic sense to fix it. So those guys get screwed.
      We already know that MS doesn’t allow free DLC, and this is one of the things that makes PC gaming such a better experience. But seriously, they punish the developer for fixing an issue, then punish the consumer with the ridiculous “please just stare into space for a few minutes while we update”. Ugh.
      I seriously hope they try this same kind of shit with the forthcoming windows app store. See how that works out for you.
      And I thought Apple were bad.

    • Unaco says:

      “Valve have stated…” Source, please.

      “95% of XBLA games becoming ghost towns within weeks of release” Source, please.

      What is so terrible about charging for it? Do you know how much work there is involved for MS to put the certify the update, and then put it up on their servers? We don’t. Remember, it’s MS’s network, it’s their servers and whatnot. Perhaps the cost is justified.

    • Dominic White says:

      Valve on why TF2/L4D had to be abandoned on consoles:
      http://www.1up.com/news/valve-talks-ps3-360-failures

      And as for games becoming ghost towns, it’s anecdotal, but just try finding a matchmaking party for any XBLA game over 6 months old. Chances are you won’t find a single player. No post-release support dooms multiplayer games.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      And perhaps Bill Gates really is worth 61,000 human beings.

    • Prime says:

      “Yeah, I’m thinking it’s a good thing, sort of a punishment/fine for releasing games that need a lot of patching, avoid this release and patch and patch and patch again mentality that a lot of Devs seem to have these days.”

      I did think this at first, Unaco, but weighed against it is the fact that many developers will take one look and walk away entirely; from that perspective it’s a paltry consideration. Why give yourself the added stress of not only trying to code for every hardware and software eventuality in the very first instance but also being penalised for attempting to correct what may be simple mistakes or down to factors outwith your control? It’s still monstrous; Microsoft penalising developers for using XBLA.

    • Unaco says:

      That source doesn’t say that…

      “Valve have stated that the reason TF2 and Left 4 Dead never got updates and addons was because Microsoft wanted either them or players to pay for it.”

      It says it was THEIR (Valve’s) mistake, thinking the closed system could change, and, sort of supporting my point that it incentivises fewer updates, and fixing the game before you release it, it says…

      “If you fix a bug before it ever ships, it’s pretty cheap. If you ship it and then fix it, it’s really expensive. Those ones are really bad.”

    • Unaco says:

      @Prime…

      ” Why give yourself the added stress of not only trying to code for every hardware and software eventuality”

      How many Hardware and Software eventualities will there be on a 360? This is a console platform… standardised. They’re not going to need any/many fixes/patches for compatibility. Those sorts of issues shouldn’t really be coming up for them. Hence, more time to fix gameplay bugs/problems/features before release. Or, at least, no or very little time working on compatibility.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      @Unaco I’m amazed you think that the types of developers that use the XBLA platform have the resources to produce completely bug-free software (BTW, what was the last software produced by Microsoft that didn’t require a post-launch patch?) in the first place? It annoys me, but I guess is understandable, that people assume that any software can be completely bug-free. What about bugs that are a direct result of the SDK provided by Microsoft? And how many of said developers could honestly afford to throw away $40,000?

    • InternetBatman says:

      Also, MS used to take 30% of the money made in promotion fees if they promote your game. That’s on top of the 30% they take. Compare that to Steam featuring your game for free and you see why developers are moving away.

      http://www.1up.com/news/xna-developer-microsoft-claims-60

      Come on dude, it shouldn’t be surprising that MS exploits developers. They charge 60 bucks a year for matchmaking and achievements. You can’t even access Netflix, which doesn’t use their servers, without paying.

    • Unaco says:

      I’m not saying they should be releasing bug-free software. Nowhere above have I stated bug-free. I’m saying it’s an incentive to have LESS BUGS, and so require LESS PATCHING.

      With no (or very minor) penalties or drawbacks we have the situation of Day 0, Day 1, Day 2 etc. patches. Devs can release a game and, if there’s a problem they knew about, or a broken/missing feature, they can just patch it in a week or so after release. With this system, they’re given an incentive to ensure that as few bugs as possible are in the game when they release. That is, they fix their sh*t prior to release, and don’t release a heavily bugged game that they think they can fix over the coming weeks.

      Also, remember, this is MS’s platform we’re talking about. And, it’s a console platform. I remember the days of cartridges when there were NO patches for console games. A seriously bugged game being released reflects badly on the Devs, and on MS. Maybe this is a way of ensuring that Devs try not to release anything too shoddy/buggy, that will reflect badly on the Network or XBLA itself, or whatever it’s called.

    • Lemming says:

      @Unaco ” I don’t see it as incentive to abandon a game. I see it as incentive to release the damn game in a state that will require as little patching as possible. “

      Unfortunately, Publishers and Developers don’t see it that way, they see it as a reason to charge for DLC instead of just giving it free in a patch.

      I do see what you’re trying to say, but the reality is that it doesn’t work the way you think it should. And let’s be honest, I doubt MS were thinking of us having less bugs in our games when they came to that $40,000 figure…

    • zakihashi says:

      @Unaco You mentioned the cost MS have to take to put the patch and so on on their servers, which can’t be very much, as they do this for free on Games for Windows Live, which seem to do it in the exact same way as Xbox Live, and now days, seem to be Xbox Live, their they don’t charge us, the players, and I doubt they pay the developers for doing it either, as why would someone willingly choose to use GFWL when they develop their game?
      This is just a case of we do it, because we can. It got nothing to do with developing a finished product.

    • RobF says:

      “I’m saying it’s an incentive to have LESS BUGS, and so require LESS PATCHING”

      Which would be lovely if things worked that way but with all the best will in the world until something is out there and fully distributed, there’s still going to be things that do not get caught.

      You get, if I recall correctly, 1 patch free. Now, scenario. You spend 3 years on a game non-stop, you’ve beta tested, you’ve ran it through MS, you’ve gone through cert. Day 1. It launches, it all goes great then there’s something that only shows up now it’s in the wild. Now thousands of people are using the game, there’s that edge case you didn’t catch, you couldn’t have caught because with all the will in the world, you couldn’t have reproduced those circumstances.

      And it’s so bad it destroys the scoreboards, the achievements or something else that even just one person using this exploit ruins the whole thing for every single person who purchases your game. So in the first week, you blat a patch out as fast as you can to make sure it’s fixed so everyone can enjoy the game as you meant it.

      That’s it then, isn’t it? You’re spent. From now on, it costs you to support the game. Patching already costs in man hours and those who can afford to drop buggy software and patch afterwards are the kind of companies who wouldn’t give a shit about dropping a ruck of money anyway, so they’re cool regardless.

      Now say you’re not EA funded or something like that. You’ve pulled all this out of your own pocket, you’ve mortgaged your house to keep your studio on the line and to get this game out the door and you know that it might tip into profit but it’ll barely recoup. And you know that from now on, it’s HEFTY$ to support that game and treat the people well. Do you risk your house or do you walk away?

      It’s a nice dream to think it incentivises getting it right first time but that’s never, ever going to be something that happens. It’s a fantasy. There’s always going to be something you can’t prepare for or catch because there’s always someone, somewhere who’ll do that thing and then OH HELLO, it’s all over the internet. So the only end effect it really has *is* that people get less support for their games because studios can’t or won’t pay the money to patch or submit further content or whatever. And *everyone* loses.

      There’s no magic make it better first time land, there’s just paying someone else a lot of money to continue support.

      It’s shit. It’s always been shit and it will stay shit and it’s one reason of many that MS will find themselves trailing behind hard unless they modernise.

    • Somerled says:

      What makes you think distributing patches is free otherwise? Getting the patch to the end user is pretty costly no matter what the platform. If I were to create a popular indie game, call it MyneCrafte, and I had to release frequent updates to hundreds, thousands, then possibly millions of users simultaneously (MyneCrafte, sounds fun, eh?), could I do it on my own for pennies? No, it’d probably take quite some thousands of dollars to pull off successfully.

      Between Microsoft and Valve, Valve would be the exception by allowing free distribution of patches (if they do even). Technically, you pay for that by giving Valve their cut of your Steam sales, but that’s moot here.

      Now I sound like a Microsoft apologist. No. Fuck Microsoft. But you don’t normally get shit for free. Expecting free shit is naive. That said: rock on Valve!

    • Dominic White says:

      “What makes you think distributing patches is free otherwise? Getting the patch to the end user is pretty costly no matter what the platform. If I were to create a popular indie game, call it MyneCrafte, and I had to release frequent updates to hundreds, thousands, then possibly millions of users simultaneously (MyneCrafte, sounds fun, eh?), could I do it on my own for pennies?”

      Have you actually seen the cost of bandwidth these days? Gigabytes literally cost pennies, and patches often tend to be under 10mb. The cost of distributing bug-fixes is absolutely minimal. Hell, before half the cyberlocker sites on the internet imploded, you could host on a dozen different mirrors completely for free!

    • RobF says:

      You don’t get charged on the app store which has an enormously vast turnover of apps and only a $99 per year fee, you don’t get charged on the PC (bar any nominal hosting costs, a nothing of nothingness with modern b/w charges, amazon hosting, myriad of filehosts and many, many ways to distribute and save on costs), you absolutely do not get charged with Steam.

      So no, Valve are -not- the exception here, it is perfectly normal and perfectly reasonable to not charge people to support their own games post release. There is no reason to charge beyond “we can” and it all contributes towards XBLA being less attractive as a platform. Which is kinda nice for PC gamers everywhere as it narrows things down to “between Sony and the PC” when it comes to weighing up non-iOS dev.

  6. Hvr says:

    If I were db I would simply start another kickstarter for P2!
    Problem internet?

  7. mollemannen says:

    i think i calculated that he makes 10m $ in 60 days. just from the minecraft sales the last 24 hours though so i have no idea how much he has or is getting in the future.

  8. terry says:

    Every time Notch opens his mouth I envision a kid in a sweetshop with someone else’s wallet.

    • Lemming says:

      I believe he is what the affluent call ‘new money’ ;-P

      In all honesty if he’s still a millionaire in 5 years I’ll be surprised.

  9. Xaromir says:

    Just co-fund it. If Notch can maybe fund 1/3 and DF may also fund 1/3 the last 1/3 maybe could be funded by the fans. Another Kickstarter thing after the Adventure is done?

    • Optimaximal says:

      Adventure won’t be done for 1-2 years (at least). People won’t go and invest in Double Fine *again* without proof their first investment was worthwhile.

      Secondly, who knows if Notch will still be around (figuratively speaking) in that time? Minecraft may well have been a one-trick pony – for every big indie success there are many that have failed that had big money behind them.

    • wccrawford says:

      DFA’s kickstarter page says the estimated Delivery for the first tier is ‘Oct 2012′. It also says, “Over a six-to-eight month period, a small team under Tim Schafer’s supervision will develop Double Fine’s next game, a classic point-and-click adventure. ”

      So no, not ‘at least 1-2 years’. They are estimating less than that. That doesn’t mean it won’t end up taking that long, but there’s every chance that it’ll take less.

    • luckyb0y says:

      They said it should be done by the end of the year (I think Tim mentioned October in the first vid). I guess that’s the reason they are able to do it on small budget (400k initially with 100k going towards the documentary).

    • enobayram says:

      @Optimaximal, I agree.

      On a separate note, I believe it won’t be long before Notch says “I wish I paid more attention to Minecraft, while it had all that momentum.”. Minecraft sold mostly on people’s expectations of what it could become, and once it sold, it stopped becoming anything. I really like Notch and his spirit, but I feel he’s not doing right regarding Minecraft.

    • InternetBatman says:

      @enobayram I would argue that it sold more on what it had already achieved in creative mode than what it became. The whole models of the Enterprise, the guy who made the CPU core, the guy who made the Portal song. All those things made headlines, keeping it in the collective conscious. The reviews about the atmosphere and amazing possibilities helped, but it was largely driven from the ground up.

  10. bill says:

    I have a feeling that Psychonauts 2, or Grim Fandango 2 would make a lot of money, in the same way that no-one played System Shock but Bioshock sold a lot, Deus Ex didn’t sell that great, but I’m guessing DX3 sold pretty well, or that not many people played the original fallout, but fallout3 sold a lot, or that other franchise i can’t think of.

    Not many people might have bought them originally, but I bet a lot of people have bought, downloaded (legally or not) and read about them in the meantime. That amounts to a much bigger audience, plus a lot of excitement and hype.

  11. Ciber says:

    I got Psychonauts as games sites were saying how good it is. I was so disappointed. It’s really just a bad platform game with some puerile jokes. I just can’t see why some people (just games reviewers really) like it so much. I predict a sequel would fail.

    • MondSemmel says:

      You, sir, are wrong on the Internet.

    • Rikard Peterson says:

      I think the main reason why Psychonauts is so loved is that it’s a good – and original in style – platform game with a heart. We may disagree on if it’s good or bad (I’ve never owned a console, so I sadly haven’t played any Mario, Zelda or Ico – my main reference here is Rayman and Prince of Persia), but if you’re really looking to understand (rather than just taking a piss at people who disagree with you), I think the second part of my above statement is where to look. The heart.

      On the subject of a sequel, I am less enthusiastic about it now that we get an original adventure. That’s what I really wanted. If given a choice between a sequel to a game I liked or an original game by the same people, I’ll pick the original one. I’d be likely to buy Psychonauts 2 too if it came out, but if they started a Kickstarter thing for it today, I don’t know that I’d contribute.

  12. westyfield says:

    Notch tweeted before thinking? Unpossible!

  13. Jimbo says:

    Does it still count as a ‘high risk investment’ if it has no chance of succeeding? Funding Psychonauts 2 with the kind of budget they’re talking about is ‘high risk’ in the same way that suicide bombing is a ‘high risk’ career choice.

  14. nootpingu86 says:

    I can buy and sell at least 1/3rd of a Tim Schaefer game. LOVE ME!! – Markus “Notch” Persson, 2012

    http://www.gametrailers.com/side-mission/files/2012/02/Notch-RPS-tweet-Screenshot.jpg

    He said he was serious. Let’s not forget so easily. He overstepped his boundaries and is now backpedaling because he didn’t realize how much Psychonauts 2 would even cost to make.

    Oh okay — look at this image – then reference it with this quote from his Tumblr: “Point is, stop hyping over this, internet! You’re going to scare me into doing things secretly instead of being open and transparent via twitter. I am incredibly scared of the very real risk of people feeling let down just because I took a chance at something that doesn’t end up panning out.”

    Someone get this blowhard a better PR guy, stat!

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      You see the post below this one? The one where the guy doesn’t actually say anything at all? That guy has a PR guy. I prefer my Notch raw, thanks.

    • nootpingu86 says:

      I have a hard time relating to that mentality in this situation.

      It’s not just him having a PR guy or various states thereof (the gaming press takes care of that for him, by and large), it’s that he committed $13 million, publicly and unilaterally i might add — to a project Tim Schaefer merely mused about in an interview. He realized it was stupid just today and tried to cover his tracks — the gaming press, as usual, abides. Framing it like “well he dun goofed” is a bit much for me to to stomach given the overwhelming good will he had with gamers at one point or another.

      He really did think he was important enough to throw money at a project that wasn’t even his, at a person he barely knows, solely because he cashed out on Minecraft and is on to bigger and better things with Mojang (i hope). Frankly, it’s smothering and bizarre. It upsets me partly because it seems he can do no wrong and that the press will simply amplify whatever line gets fed to them (not just about Mojang, either). RPS can be better about it but oftentimes it falls short.

      TL;DR It’s more like his statements betray a lack of common sense that would necessitate a PR person of some sort if he didn’t have so much good will to squander, dig? Also, as usual: Death to optimism!

    • aerozol says:

      You don’t like him, we get it.

    • nootpingu86 says:

      I have good reasons. Your snark isn’t warranted.

      I’m not sure why the verbal blowjob he recieves nearly a year and a half later is necessary when it’s clear he is of poor character. Who doesn’t finish his multi-milion-dollar-earning game or add common-sense improvements to the game from mod devs offering their work for free? A callous idiot, that’s who.