The Milkman Cometh: Psychonauts 2 Has Been Funded

An odd feeling – this thing we prayed for for years, and which seemed such an impossibility, is now happening. And not just happening: it felt like a foregone conclusion from the second it was announced. With $3.35 million pledged by crowdfunders and investors, it looks like Psychonauts 2, Double Fine’s sequel to their acclaimed 2005 adventure-platformer, will become a reality at last.

Here’s Tim Schafer and his studio celebrating the news:

I suppose it’s not quite as exciting an announcement for some of us as it might have been a few years ago. Double Fine’s record has been a little spotty lately, with Broken Age and Massive Chalice underwhelming and the abrupt cancellation of Spacebased DF-9 disappointing many.

On the other hand, the studio remains a house of ideas, one of few which can pair conceptual invention with a substantial budget. They might not be true-blue classics, but Costume Quest, Stacking and Iron Brigade all made me a happy boy. And clearly many others too, given Double Fine keep on successfully returning to the crowdfunding well. (Although it should be clarified that they’ve used Fig rather than Kickstarter, which enables investors and not just punters to get onboard).

$3m is not enough to make Psychonauts 2, as Double Fine have been entirely open about. The first game cost between $10 and $13m, but they claim they can raise the remainder from their own reserves and “an external partner.” Notch once said he might pay to make it happen – is it possible?

Psychonauts 2 is slated for an Autumn/Fall 2018 release date, which hopefully gives them enough breathing space that they won’t have to pull another Broken Age-style act 1/2 thingy. The Fig campaign remains open for another five days if you want to chance your arm/buy some backer rewards.

80 Comments

  1. Lars Westergren says:

    Notch is unlikely to be the external partner, when asked on Twitter he said no, but that he backed it at the highest tier.

    I didn’t think Broken Age was underwhelming, great game.

    Also, woo, Psychonauts 2!

    • Premium User Badge

      John Walker says:

      Really, you didn’t find Act 2 to be a colossal anticlimax and betrayal of everything the first act had purported to be? How odd.

      • Lars Westergren says:

        No, at worst I thought it went too far in the other direction of making puzzles too hard. Some of them were pleasingly difficult which made me proud when I solved them, one or two made me frustrated and stuck long enough that I had to look up a solution online.

      • Xocrates says:

        Betrayal?

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        Yes, how odd that someone disagrees with John Walker. When was the last time that occurred?

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        I thought it didn’t fully explore everything it hinted at but with the exception of one or two nonsensical puzzles found it an enjoyable game with charming characters.

      • Acorino says:

        No, actually it was my favorite adventure gaming experience in, like, ever. I played it with a friend and we had a lot of fun solving the varied and clever puzzles together. I can’t think of another adventure game that made me feel so smart as often.
        The story feel apart on a macro level, yes, but on a micro level the second act was full of charming and funny moments. And some dire moments of exposition, too, though.

        All in all, best 111 bucks I ever spent.

    • Yachmenev says:

      I second that. Broken Age is lovely. In terms of pacing, scene structure, dialogues, puzzles and characters, it’s definitely the closest thing to an old LucasArts game I have played in a very long time. I backed this, Broken Sword 5, Dreamfall Chapters and Moebius, and this is by far my favorite of those.

  2. trjp says:

    They didn’t “use” Fig, they “created and own” Fig – there’s quite a difference there…

    • anHorse says:

      Yeah

      Hence the completion date of Psychonauts 2 funding being pushed back multiple times, something the other games on fig didn’t get the luxury of

      • Premium User Badge

        basilisk says:

        It was pushed back exactly once, very early in the campaign when it hardly mattered, and it was reportedly due to a bug rather than any malicious intent.

        Stop spreading misleading information, please.

  3. Luk 333 says:

    This was the first crowd-funded project I ever contributed to. Psychonauts made me grin a lot, so I had to take a risk and help make the sequel a possibility.

    Speaking of unlikely sequels, where’s that Anachronox 2?

    • Unclepauly says:

      That seems like the type of game that would take a bargeload of money to make these days. Although with all these easy access development engines around maybe someone could make it happen.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        Anachronox (which I completed for the first time a few months ago) is about as long as it is entertaining, which has made it one of my favorite gaming experiences. It’s so long that I doubt I’d want to play it all over again, but I did miss many things the first time. I only found that out, because I had to look at walkthroughs several times and you’re bound to find more info than you want when searching for solutions online (which is why I almost never consult walkthroughs).

  4. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Great news! Didn’t care for the social media gamification stuff (unlocking things with likes and views) so that made it harder to stay excited about the campaign itself, and I’m finding Fig a lot harder to use as a site than Kickstarter (for example: to change your amount or reward you have to cancel your pledge and pledge again), BUT super excited about the game and any documentary stuff that will follow. Can’t wait to see what they come up with. :)

    Side note: Not sure about tying it to the campaign but Devs Play Season 2 is super good: link to youtube.com

  5. Xocrates says:

    “Massive Chalice underwhelming”

    Sez you. I personally consider it one of Double Fine’s best and hands down the best game I got out of kickstarter so far.

    It only makes me sadder that Brad Muir moved to Valve :(

    • keefybabe says:

      I need to give Massive Chalice another go, when I played it last it felt like a considerably less strategic XCOM.

      • Xocrates says:

        You have less systems than Xcom, but you need to be considerably smarter regarding how you use them.

      • Crafter says:

        It is way more concentred than XCOM.

        There are way less different weapons and equipments and the class are a bit more focused : 3 bases classes with hybrid classes (so a total of 9 classes).

        They are original enough to make them interesting in the XCOM-like context :

        -The Alchemist throws highly explosive flasks. He only has a limited supply and he is usually not very precise. So it is always a wager whether his shot is important enough and what could happen in the worse scenario (my first casualty was from a throw miss exploding at the feets of an ally).
        -The Caberjack wields a massive log / ram. The interesting part is that he can use it to knock out ennemies.

        So in difficult battles you need to careful mix your capabilities with a special emphasis on unit placements : you want to maximise your damages and knock out the more durable ennemies while preventing the cadence to do the same to you.
        Not to mention that your heroes have genetics traits & personalities. A drunkard might have a small buzz giving him more strength or he might be completely drunk or hungover, making him not that useful. Asthmatic units can’t run for very long, and so on..

        However, the overgame is just bad. Managing your legacies is both complex and uninteresting.

        The battle are funny enough to force myself to push through it, but if one day there is a MC2, this is definitely what needs a total revamp.

      • Premium User Badge

        Aerothorn says:

        I’d link you to a Robert Yang blog on it if it wasn’t spoilerific, but in short Massive Chalice very much takes its design cues from its narrative settings, and as a result is something very different then XCOM, and trying to play it like XCOM is setting yourself up for disappointment, particularly if you try to get “the feels” about your special snowflake characters, since their interchangeability is part of the game’s theme.

        Definitely not for everyone, but Massive Chalice wholly accomplishes what it sets out to do.

    • StranaMente says:

      Sorry, I didn’t close the link code and now half the comment became a link, but I can’t edit it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      Man, gamergate is not even trying anymore with the “definitely not slander” videos. Transparent grudge is transparent. Not sure if you’re linking to this trash out of ignorance or what, but you may want to reconsider where you get your information.

      • Distec says:

        I’d really be interested if you could actually explain why it’s transparent sludge instead of acting like “LOL YOU WATCH FOX NEWS?!?!?!”

        • Premium User Badge

          Aerothorn says:

          We’ve had an entire thread on the video, with helpful commentary from people who can read and understand legal documents, and it turns out the video has lots of factual errors and doesn’t really have a case. See Dave L’s posts in particular: link to rockpapershotgun.com

        • HERP DERP NANOMACHINES says:

          You can’t trust an ideologue not to slander their enemies.

          It’s a well known fact that search engines trap people in ideological filter bubbles (Google only shows you things it thinks you want to see etc)

          So if you see a gamergate hit piece on someone it’s possible you might have watched other pieces of misinformation.

          If you see someone repeating one bad meme, they probably get their info from bad meme sources, so the Fox news watcher thing is perfectly rational.

    • anHorse says:

      I’m no fan of doublefine but that video (and the rest of that channel by the look of it) is really big on inaccurate claims.

      A lot of them are actually baseless, sure he cites a lot of wikipedia articles (and fuckall else so this is already bad research) but these sources don’t actually back up the claims that need referencing

  6. acoff001 says:

    Tim Schafer is already planning for his new campaign next year for when they blow through all this money and ask for more.

    • ParasiteX says:

      How many kickstarters does Tim Schafer need to make a game?
      50. One to pay for the game, one to make a profit, and 40 to make up for his poor math skills.

    • Xocrates says:

      1) This is about a third of the funding for the game.
      2) They never ran multiple campaigns for the same project. And in the case of Broken Age made a point of funding the missing money by their own means.

      • ParasiteX says:

        They funded the rest of Broken Age by giving everyone half a game and milking the rest via Steam Early Access.
        And the second half ended up being a massive disappointment.

        • Acorino says:

          Not to me.
          When DF sold the first part, the people who bought it got something: the first part.
          How is this different from Telltale releasing episodic games or Kentucky Route Zero being released in episodes with an irregular, sometimes yearly schedule?
          What’s the problem?

        • Acorino says:

          Not to forget that Broken Age wasn’t released per Steam Early Access. Unless you want to imply that all the money made by Spacebase DF-9 went into the development of Broken Age.

  7. ParasiteX says:

    Have fun watching your money getting sucked into an endless void of nothingness..
    Tim is the last person one should entrust money to..

    • Xocrates says:

      Curiously enough, more than 50% of the money they got via Fig comes from investors. You know, the people who actually expect to get a return of investment.

      Ironically, Double Fine got to a position where the audience trusts them less than the money people.

      • ParasiteX says:

        Looking at the track record of the first Psyhonauts and other Double Fine titles. Those “investors” will be damn lucky if they even break even.

        And Tim is already off to a stellar start by abusing his position as advisory on the board of Fig to extend the due date on campaign by 5 days. Fig is a sinking ship. And i expect that shit to go under soon, along with any promise of return of investment.

      • Perjoss says:

        Its probably because the investors didnt get to experience how incredibly unprofessional Spacebase DF9 was handled.

        • Xocrates says:

          Except I’ve seen people who are actually familiar with how the game industry works saying that DF-9 was handled fine.

          DF-9 was a case of something that sucked for everyone. Customers and developers alike. The difference being that some accept that “shit happens” and move on, while others don’t.

        • Yachmenev says:

          Or maybe some people are able to move on? Spacebase was a mistake, but Double Fine has released multiple games since, regular, crowdfunded and early access.

          And that’s really all you can ask from someone who makes a mistake – learn and do it better next time.

          Hopefully more people will be able to move on, even RPS.

          • ParasiteX says:

            There is a reason why no publishers invest in Double Fine games anymore. They simply don’t make any profit. Broken Age and Massive Chalice are excellent examples of this. With only 300k sales on Broken Age and about 100k on Massive Chalice..

            Plus gotta love the way they misrepresent the sales numbers on Psychonauts 1 in their lil investment calculator. They only show total sales. But a large majority of those sales are from steam sales and humble bundles. Where the game was bundles with other games for a dollar.

            Tim is down right notorious at misshandling money. Broken Age was a complete mess where he ended up releasing just half the game. And trying to milk the rest from Early Access.

            It’s hard to move on when you see a systematic misshandling of funds like this. Tim has had more than enough chances..

          • LionsPhil says:

            Well, they’re also out of ideas (case in point: they’re making a sequel).

          • Lars Westergren says:

            @LionsPhil
            Counterpoint: Headlander.

          • Yachmenev says:

            They are working with publishers. Sony and Adult Swim are two of them. People working within publishers are not as quick to judge as the internet.

            And Tim’s is only notorious for mismanaging money because the internet mob has decided so. Everything shown in the doc is pretty standard for software development. I have worked as a developer for 10 years, and there’s nothing out of the ordinary shown there. The hints you want to look for are what the project premise was, what methods you can use to judge production pace, and the meeting they show when they decide whether adjust scope or use additional funds.

            Is it a perfect project? No, of course not. Few, if any software development projects are.

            Seriously, use the doc as an opportunity to learn instead of just wanting it to confirm the opinion you already have decided for.

          • welverin says:

            ParasiteX, you accuse them of misrepresenting where the sales of Psychonauts came from and yet this image from the Fig campaign page has a breakdown of where all of the sales came from. Also clearly showing most of them came from Humble Bundle sales.

            So, how can you call that misrepresenting sale numbers?

          • ParasiteX says:

            I was talking about their caluclator thingie here.
            link to fig.co
            Where they have Psychonauts marked at their overall total sales.
            They don’t make it clear just how much gross those sales account for.
            They should instead have shown their overall gross sales.
            The sales from Humble bundles, gog and such. Account for very little of the gross. So if we go by their initial PC, Xbox and PS2 sales, which covers the bulk of sales at full price. And run that thru the calculator. We come up with a complete and utter loss in investment. You barley get back half your initial investment.
            This is why most publishers avoid Double Fine nowadays.

          • Xocrates says:

            @ParasiteX: It might have helped if you actually read the page you linked to.

            Literally the section bellow the calculator includes the breakdown of where the Psychonauts sales come from. Additionally, the calculator works based on the estimated average sale price of the game over its lifetime, not launch price – and has a massive disclaimer attached as well as the ability for the investor to change it.

            That calculator is only misleading if you don’t actually care what it says.

        • Acorino says:

          Since then DF has released:
          – Hack & Slash
          – Massive Chalice
          – Grim Fandango Remastered
          – Costume Quest 2

          Spacebase DF-9 was badly handled, but focussing on its fate to the exclusion of everything else DF has done misses the bigger picture.

    • Yachmenev says:

      Oh, don’t worry about us. I backed both Broken Age and Massive Chalice with $100, and I’m in for $100 after they succesfully delivered two games to me.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      *entrusts some money to Tim because he repeatedly used my money to make things I enjoyed*

      • ParasiteX says:

        Yes, because entrusting money to a guy that thinks 1 + 1 + 40 = 50, is a great idea..

        If you like their games.. Then just buy it when it’s actually done and reviews are out. Double fine have proven to be terrible at handling crowd funding projects.
        With Broken Age going over budget by twice their initial funded amount. And Spacebase being released in a completely unfinished abandoned state. And from what i hear of Massive Chalice it turned out to be far less than what was initially promised.

        Try being a bit smarter with your money..

        • Xocrates says:

          Spacebase wasn’t crowdfunded, and Massive Chalice delivered exactly what it promised and was one of the smoothest ran kickstarters I’ve ever seen.

        • Premium User Badge

          particlese says:

          Oh, hello there bookmark from 4 days ago.

          Don’t know if you’ll read this, ParasiteX, but: I spend the money in part because publishers apparently won’t for certain things I want to exist. In the case of Broken Age, there was the game Plus the documentary made in which I was very interested, and enjoyed and hopefully benefitted from greatly. I can forgive a budget inflated beyond the original plan to that extent, when that’s the output.

    • HERP DERP NANOMACHINES says:

      “Have fun watching your money getting sucked into an endless void of nothingness”

      That is literally the best thing to do on a Sunday afternoon.

  8. Hideous says:

    I backed this as sort of a “last chance” for Double Fine, in my eyes. I know budgeting and making video games is hard, but after Spacebase being essentially cancelled mid-development and Broken Age Act 2 being, well Broken Age Act 2…

    Basically, if they screw up Psychonauts 2, I’m out.

  9. pixelworship says:

    I did not dislike Psychonauts, but I didn’t think it was fantastic, either. It was more of a “meh+” in my book.

    Looking forward to seeing what they do with the sequel, though!

  10. wraithgr says:

    I (personally) consider spacebase to be my worst early access deal, and I’ve backed duelyst (back when it was not supposed to be f2p) and robotech rpg tactics… I don’t have any nostalgia invested in psychonauts either, so this is an easy “no” from me… Will wait for it to be on sale if it’s good, or even ps plus…

  11. waltC says:

    The so-called “remaster” (that wasn’t) of Grim Fandango was all I needed to see of Tim & Co. Thank you, no.

    • Premium User Badge

      neffo says:

      Please explain how was it not a remaster.

      It quite literally was a remaster in the same sense as an album remaster, and in the video game sense of they fixed the code, plus made it run on modern computers, consoles and mobile devices.

      Do realise that your hate of this guy makes you sound completely irrational right?

  12. Turkey says:

    Feels weird to have no interest in a game I would have given my left foot to play back in the day. Oh well, at least we’ll have some new Peter Chan artwork to ogle at.

  13. minijedimaster says:

    How are there still people falling over themselves to give this mediocre company that’s left a path of broken promises behind it money?

    • minijedimaster says:

      Oh, brain fart, forgot… Ubisoft still exists so that proves there are plenty of fools willing to be parted with their money out there.

    • Yachmenev says:

      Are you actually asking for an answer to that question?

      • Premium User Badge

        teije says:

        minjedimaster answered his/her own question.

        Makes discussions so much more agreeable when you’re the only one involved.

    • Acorino says:

      Because DF is not a mediocre company.
      And they didn’t break promises either, not even with Spacebase DF-9, though I agree that it was badly handled.

  14. eeguest says:

    I want The Cave 2

  15. Gordon Shock says:

    Boy that sure makes my day and I am glad to see that excellence and creativity in demand, lately I feel like mediocrity is winning too many battle (yes I am looking at you Force Awakens).

  16. HERP DERP NANOMACHINES says:

    I’m very excited but my allergy to kickstarter type deals made me avoid giving them any money.

    Hope it’s good when it comes out!

  17. geldonyetich says:

    Speaking as a fan of Psychonauts, I greatly look forward to playing Psychonauts 2’s 1/10th fraction on early access on Steam about when the funding dries up.

    • Acorino says:

      Like it hasn’t happened with their two crowdfunding campaigns before.

  18. April March says:

    I’m very glad that they were able to do this without me giving them any money. I can’t wait to give then money in exchange for a product that will at the time exist, after I read the opinions of people I trust regarding it and decide how much I want to pay for it.