Double Fine Productions is coming full circle with a long-requested return to the studio’s first game: Psychonauts. At the inaugural Game Awards, Tim Schafer announced the launch of a crowdfunding campaign on Fig for Psychonauts 2.
Psychonauts, released in 2005 for Xbox, PlayStation 2, and PC, was a 3D action-adventure platformer following Razputin, a young acrobat who flees his circus family to become a psychic secret agent. Based around the hub of a psychic summer camp where young telepaths are trained, most of the game’s action took place inside the minds of its various characters. Raz enters these psychedelic mindscapes to sort out their issues and do battle with their literal inner demons. It’s beloved for its solid gameplay, vibrant visuals, and wryly funny writing.
Veteran designer Tim Schafer launched Double Fine in order to create Psychonauts. The game was a commercial failure and critical darling when it launched. It has gained a steady following in the years since, actually selling twice as many copies in the last five years as it did in its first five years. Now considered a classic, fans have been clamoring for the sequel that the first game’s cliffhanger ending clearly implied. The pitch video features many members of the original creative team and voice cast. It also has an appearance by Jack Black, who starred in Double Fine’s Brütal Legend and will apparently also be joining the cast of Psychonauts 2.
The campaign aims to raise $3.3 million by January 7, 2016. This is an ambitious but not unreasonable goal, since that is how much Double Fine raised with its record-setting Kickstarter for Double Fine Adventure (which would become Broken Age). That campaign succeeded on the general desire for more 90s-style adventure games.
Schafer points out in the pitch video that the colorful 3D action-adventure platformer is another genre languishing in disrepair after a spate of excellent titles in the late 90s and early aughts like Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank, and Super Mario 64. This project has the added benefit of being a specific and beloved franchise, so success seems highly likely. At time of this writing the project has raised over $900,000 with 34 days to go, putting it well on schedule to meet its goal.