Even if you never played the original Psychonauts, every platforming fan should be keeping a very close eye on the upcoming Psychonauts 2. Combining tried-and-tested platforming gameplay with striking visuals and a completely unique premise, Psychonauts 2 plans to end an over 15-year hiatus to a game with a large following of loyal players.
Here's everything you need to know about Psychonauts 2:
Enter the mind
The long-awaited sequel.
Psychonauts set the bar for a psychological platformer, with cleverly implemented humor and understated messages about mental health and the state of mind. After many years, Psychonauts 2 is finally arriving to put our nostalgia to rest and bring this fantastic 3D platforming adventure franchise to current and next-gen platforms.
What is Psychonauts 2?
Psychonauts 2 is the long-awaited sequel to the cult classic Psychonauts, which was an intense 3D action platformer that saw players dive into the literal minds of different people, leading to a colorful and insane world in which the imagination of the creators was the only limitation.
The first Psychonauts came out in 2005, so it's been over 15 years since the first entry in this incredibly unique psychological platformer. Thankfully, Psychonauts 2 is happening, and Double Fine, the creators behind the series and many other unique titles, is aiming to make it better than the original in every way.
Psychonauts 2 was first announced back in 2015, and since then, it's been a very long, bumpy road to release with numerous setbacks and compromises Double Fine had to make for the project. After a successful crowdfunding campaign and an acquisition from a larger company, Double Fine is all set to make Psychonauts 2 a reality sometime in 2021. There were times when it wasn't sure the project was going to survive, but Psychonauts 2 is pretty much inevitable at this point.
Where can I watch all the trailers for Psychonauts 2?
Psychonauts 2 hasn't been all that forthcoming with the trailers, but the closer we get to release, the more peeks we're getting at this psychedelic platformer. We now have four solid trailers for your viewing pleasure, as well as some gameplay from none other than Jack Black himself!
The first look
Xbox Games Showcase 2020
JablinksiGames and Psychonauts 2
Who is developing Psychonauts 2?
Psychonauts 2 is being developed by Double Fine Productions, a long-running games studio notorious for creating beautiful and truly unique gaming experiences that you can't find anywhere else. They're often described as a "AAA" indie game studio, meaning that they make the sort of games usually developed by smaller independent studios, but with the quality of a "AAA" studio. Double Fine was also responsible for the original Psychonauts in 2005, and fans have been asking for a sequel to that gem for years. In 2015, Double Fine finally answered the call.
However, Double Fine needed some extra help with the project and turned to its community to assist with funding for Psychonauts 2. Instead of taking the usual approach and crowdfunding the game through Kickstarter, Double Fine did something slightly different. The studio chose to create its own crowdfunding platform known as Fig, where a fan's investment can earn them exclusive rewards and even shares from a game's sales.
With the goal of raising $3.3 million to fund development, over 24,000 backers pledged towards the campaign to raise over $3.8 million in total a month after it was announced.
But even with this success, the game was far from being a reality, with Double Fine reportedly needing to cut several boss battles and, unfortunately, accept certain compromises with the game to make it happen.
Joining the family
Back in 2019, Tim Schafer, the owner and founder of Double Fine, announced to the world that Double Fine Productions would be joining the Xbox Game Studios, alongside seven other studios that joined Microsoft's growing family of studios earlier that year. This was a significant shift for Double Fine, but it quickly became apparent that Double Fine would be allowed to embrace their creativity, but without the worry of budgetary concerns. Psychonauts 2 was back on track, and Double Fine were able to restore some of the lost content they had been forced to remove.
There was concern that Psychonauts 2 would miss out on other platforms beyond Xbox One and Windows after the acquisition. However, Double Fine has confirmed that Psychonauts 2 will still release on every promised platform, including Playstation 4. This does mean that Psychonauts may very well be the last Double Fine game we see on Playstation 4, with future games being exclusive to Microsoft's platforms.
What is the story and setting of Psychonauts 2?
Psychonauts 2 will follow the same protagonist as the original game, and will naturally follow the story after the first game's ending. If you're not familiar with the premise of the game, that's alright, we've set up an excellent overview of the story leading up to Psychonauts 2, and what players should expect from the story in this new entry.
The story so far
Following Razputin "Raz" Aquato, Psychonauts was set in a fictional government training facility under the guise of being the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp. Raz gets caught up with the Psychonauts, a group of characters that are gifted with psychic abilities like telekinesis, among several others.
What unfolds is a tale that would make most go, "how do they even come up with this stuff?" Like a few classic cartoons, Psychonauts definitely has the vibe of being created under a drug-induced trip.
After learning of a plot to harvest the brains of other Psychonauts to create a psychic-powered army, Raz delves into his friends' minds to free them of his enemy's clutches. The end of the game sees the Psychonauts—Raz included—rushing off to save the leader of the Psychonauts, who has been kidnapped.
Last year, Double Fine released Psychonauts, the Rhombus of Ruin, a virtual reality game developed for PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive. Rhombus of Ruin picks up where Psychonauts left off and follows Raz's journey to save Grand Head of the Psychonauts Truman Zanotto.
Psychonauts the Rhombus of Ruin was meant to act as a bridge between the first and second game's narratives. Still, so far, Double Fine has been pretty tight-lipped about Psychonauts 2's narrative, aside from a few tidbits of information.
Where the story picks up
The official description for Psychonauts 2 on the official Xbox website reads as follows:
"Razputin Aquato, trained acrobat and powerful young psychic, has realized his life long dream of joining the international psychic espionage organization known as the Psychonauts! But these psychic super spies are in trouble. Their leader hasn't been the same since he was kidnapped, and what's worse, there's a mole hiding in headquarters. Raz must use his powers to stop the mole before they execute their secret plan—to bring the murderous psychic villain, Maligula, back from the dead!"
Double Fine founder Tim Schafer held a Reddit AMA a couple of years ago where he noted that Raz would be heading to the Psychonauts' headquarters, his lifelong dream. While there, however, he ends up finding "several things strange about the organization."
"While Truman Zanotto was missing, several changes to the direction of the organization were made by his second in command," said Schafer. "Funding was cut from traditional psychic research and peacekeeping and redirected to unorthodox, fringe endeavors, including the discredited practice of necromancy. Raz soon uncovers sinister things at work in the shadows of Psychonauts headquarters, including double agents and evils of the past. Raz's own family history plays a pivotal part in the story, and Raz must confront the roots of the curse placed on his family once and for all. And also deal with this whole 'girlfriend' term and what it really means."
What is the gameplay like in Psychonauts 2?
Psychonauts 2 is a 3D action platformer, so players will have to navigate through chaotic levels filled with enemies, obstacles, and even puzzles. Players will take control of Raz and utilize his psi-powers (with several new ones making their debut in this game) to overcome every hardship and make it out on top. According to this Xbox blog post, Psychonauts 2 will feature a wide variety of worlds from colorful and silly to dark and morbid, all with Tim Schafer's signature sense of humor and crisp platforming fun.
We don't know a ton about Raz's powers in Psychonauts 2. Still, we do know of a "Time Bubble" ability that will allow players to slow down entities and objects to open up new platforming opportunities or make fast-moving enemies easier to destroy. There are bound to many others as well, and Raz will be led by a strange glowing companion. This orb may be the owner of a brain that has been suspended in a jar for far too long, leading Raz to take a journey through their brain to reawaken their memories and senses.
Oh, did I forget to mention that this companion is voiced by Jack Black? Well, yes, yes, it is.
A taste of the action
Dubbed the First Playable, the gameplay seen in the video above is an early look at what Psychonauts 2 will end up being. Commonly referred to as a "vertical slice," this is an area created to fully test the game with all of its assets working together. These include art, animation, tech, design, cinematics, and more. This way, the team can view a playable chunk of gameplay as intended in the final product, aside from any tweaks that will come along during the development process.
The First Playable isn't meant as an advertisement for fans so much as it is for the development team themselves. Double Fine gets to view everything working harmoniously to see what needs to be adjusted as they continue to develop and iterate towards the end goal. This isn't a polished build by any means.
But if you can't take my word for it, take Double Fine's: "This doesn't mean that we now have a final area made to shippable quality, there's still a lot of work to be done. It does, however, represent a fully playable area that has all the things a level of the game should have: elements like player movement, combat, quests, experience, UI all working together with scratch dialogue and audio, some rough visual effects, textures, lighting, even a cut-scene. This means we can iterate on these systems so they can be as good as possible for the final game."
What platforms will get Psychonauts 2?
Psychonauts 2 will come to Xbox, Playstation, Windows, Mac, and Linux, so no matter where you play, you'll be able to enjoy the wonder of Psychonauts 2. Even though Double Fine is now an Xbox Game Studio, players on Playstation 4 will still be able to purchase the game and receive full support, which is absolutely fantastic. Of course, Psychonauts 2 will also come to Xbox One consoles, as well as the next-gen Xbox Series X.
According to Double Fine, Psychonauts 2 will be optimized for the Xbox Series X, presumably with upgraded resolutions and possibly higher frame rates. Still, there's been no confirmation that the Playstation 5 will get the same treatment, so we'll have to wait a bit longer on that.
Finally, Psychonauts 2 will be on Xbox Game Pass day one, so subscribers will be able to download and play the game on their Xbox or Windows device the moment it launches.
What's the release date and pricing of Psychonauts 2?
Psychonauts 2 has had a bit of a rough life, with multiple setbacks and delays, but with the support of Xbox Game Studios, Double Fine should be back on track now. We still don't have an exact release date, but 2021 was the most recent timeframe given by Double Fine, so it looks like we won't be getting Psychonauts 2 before the end of the year. We'll be on the lookout for any new information regarding release dates, so check back in regularly for updates.
As far as pricing is concerned, there's absolutely no information available there. Psychonauts 2 has an Xbox page and a Steam page where the game will eventually be available for purchase, but there's no pricing yet.
When the game was still being crowdfunded through Fig, players could pre-order a copy of Psychonauts 20 for $33 to $51 (depending on if you wanted the Playstation / Xbox versions), but that is no longer available and isn't necessarily indicative of the final retail pricing (the Fig page mentions that those prices are discounted from the retail price, but it also includes multiple perks and benefits).
We'll have to wait until we're a little closer to release to find out anything like price or pre-order information, but rest assured we're keeping our eyes peeled for the latest news from Double Fine Productions and Xbox Game Studios.
Enter the mind
The long-awaited sequel.
Psychonauts set the bar for a psychological platformer, with cleverly implemented humor and understated messages about mental health and the state of the mind. After many years, Psychonauts 2 is finally arriving to put our nostalgia to rest and bring this fantastic 3D platforming adventure franchise to current and next-gen platforms.
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