Double Fine's making the long-awaited Psychonauts 2—if fans help pay for it

The cliffhanger ending will finally stop being a cliffhanger.

Psychonauts 2

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The Game Awards had one major surprise in store on Thursday night: Psychonauts 2. It’s (sort of) real. It’s (maybe) happening. It’s (kind of) all up to you now.

After years of fans asking for a sequel to the cult classic, Double Fine’s officially launched a crowdfunding campaign through Obsidian/Double Fine/InXile-backed funding platform Fig. A quick and dirty description, torn from the Fig page:

“In Psychonauts 2, Raz realizes his dream and visits Psychonauts Headquarters. However, when he gets there, he finds it’s not the perfect place he expected and quickly realizes that the Psychonauts need him more than he needs them.

Psychonauts 2 will feature a new hub world inside Psychonauts HQ. You’ll access new mental worlds as Raz peeks inside the minds of a host of new characters who need his help to combat their inner demons and unravel their deep-seated emotional issues. Raz will hone his secret agent PSI-abilities-and learn new ones too-using them to solve mysteries and uncover evil plots.”

And a trailer:

The asking price? $3.3 million, from the fans.

“But wait,” you say, “that seems a little low for a game the size of Psychonauts.” Indeed it is. In fact, we know exactly how much Psychonauts 2 is estimated to cost because Minecraft-creator Markus “Notch” Persson famously backed out on funding the game in 2013.

Via Notch:

“I somewhat naively thought ‘a couple of million’ was two million. I had no doubt in my mind that a Psychonauts 2 would earn that money back easily. Turns out they wanted 18 million dollars, haha.”

There’s a pretty big gap between $3.3 million and $18 million. So where’s the rest of that money coming from? No specifics were revealed, though Double Fine’s press release says, “Double Fine will be putting up a significant portion of the development funds ourselves, and getting another piece of the budget from an external partner. This Fig campaign will make up the third piece of the budget.”

Double Fine’s Tim Schafer is further quoted saying, “None of these three parts on their own is enough but together they add up to a sequel worthy of Psychonauts!” I’m not quite sure how I feel about this process—it smacks a bit of Shenmue 3’s crowdfunding campaign, and Double Fine’s own crowdfunding record isn’t exactly unmarred. But I’m at least placated a bit by the fact Fig allows for funding through actual investments, not merely giving away money like Kickstarter. We’ll see how it goes.

I want to be excited, though. This project’s been a long time coming, and Double Fine seems to be in the “Give the people what they want” stage of its lifespan, what with Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle getting the HD remaster treatment. Hopefully the result is a Psychonauts 2 that’s worth the wait.

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