Double Fine's new documentary about making Psychonauts 2 is a must-watch
Compelling insight into the world of game dev
I like a lot of Double Fine's games, but none as much as I like the documentary which charted the development of Broken Age. I can't get enough of watching funny, smart, creative people work, and Double Fine Adventure offered a one-of-a-kind, candid and thorough glimpse of game development.
It was one-of-a-kind until yesterday, when Double Fine released PsychOdyssey, a 32-episode documentary series charting the creation of Psychonauts 2. Each episode is typically between 20 minutes and an hour long, and I've had a great time watching the first three so far.
The first episode uses archive footage and staff interviews to briefly cover the development of Psychonauts 1 - a story that includes the founding of Double Fine, the game being canned by Microsoft, and the team greatly overworking themselves. The story then continues from 2015 in episode 2, when Double Fine are prototyping Psychonauts VR game Rhombus Of Ruin and beginning to brainstorm ideas for Psychonauts 2.
These three episodes are a combined 108 minutes long and by their end Psychonauts 2 exists only as a whiteboard with some possible level ideas. It's thorough, in other words, and it doesn't shy away from showing the mundane challenges of production and team management. I'm looking forward to whatever episode covers the studio being acquired by Microsoft.
I don't think you need any particular interest in Double Fine games to enjoy this kind of insight into the development process. Heck, I don't even think you need an interest in game development. Watching skilled people exercise their skill is compelling to me no matter what the skill is. Start with episode 1 here.