In December 2015, during that year’s The Game Awards, Double Fine Productions founder and CEO Tim Schafer first announced that he was planning to develop Psychonauts 2, a third-person platform video game, as a sequel to the original Psychonauts released in 2005.
Psychonauts focused on the adventures of the player character Raz and his young friends at the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp, a secret government facility set up to train psychic spies that is disguised as a summer camp for young people.
The trainees at the camp learn to develop their innate psychic abilities, such as telekinesis, telepathy, pyrokinesis, invisibility, and other psionic powers.
Raz uncovers a sinister plot to take over the minds of his friends and goes on a mission to save them. The mission involves infiltrating an asylum and exploring the minds of non-player characters to set them free from physical and mental captivity.
Although the original game was not a commercial success, it subsequently gained a cult following. The glowing reviews and praise of its creative design, coupled with the enthusiasm shown by fans who clamored for a Psychonauts 2 sequel to the 2005 original, led Double Fine Productions to launch a drive to raise funds for the development of Psychonauts 2.
Fans are hoping that the sequel will live up to the precedent set by the original, and while we await its release, here is everything we know about the highly-anticipated Psychonauts 2.
Psychonauts 2 fundraising
Although Double Fine Productions founder and CEO Tim Schafer announced in 2015 that the company was planning a sequel to Psychonauts, progress on the project was hampered by financial constraints.
After having successfully developed and published a number of other games, including the role-playing game (RPG) Costume Quest (2010) and Iron Brigade (2011), Double Fine decided to respond to the clamor by fans for Psychonauts 2 by launching a drive to raise funds for the project.
But instead of using Kickstarter, Double Fine chose to start its own crowd-funding platform, Fig.co, and they launched a $3.3 million crowd-funding drive for Psychonauts 2. The campaign target of $3.3 million represented only part of the projected development cost as Double Fine hoped to raise additional funds from other sources.
The fundraising campaign, which offered contributors the chance to also become investors, was successful, and Double Fine Productions was able to raise more than $3.8 million from about 24,000 supporters.
The publisher Starbreeze announced early in 2018 that they were investing an additional $8 million in Psychonauts 2 and that they would publish the game across all platforms.
Starbreeze planned to recoup its investment from profit on sales.
Psychonauts 2 release date
Psychonauts 2 was originally planned for release in 2018, but Double Fine Productions announced in December 2017 that the Q3 2018 release date was unrealistic in the light of their projections following the completion of the first playable build for the game in October 2017.
Schafer and lead designer Zack McClendon explained that based on their projection for the scope of the game, they expected it to be released sometime in 2019.
“We do know about how long it’s going to take but we don’t want to say anything until we have a firm date for people,” McClendon said. “We want to give it time to make it something that we love and that the fans love and continues the legacy of Psychonauts in a real meaningful and special way.”
Currently, fans may pre-order Psychonauts 2 through Fig.co. With a pledge of $39, you get a digital copy of the game (at a lower price than retail) on Windows, Mac, and Linux via Steam. For an additional $18, you can get Xbox One or PlayStation 4 versions.
You may earn extra content and rewards if you pledge more.
Psychonauts 2 production details
Psychonauts 2 is being produced by Malena Annable, with Erik Wolpaw as the writer, and Scott Campbell, Nathan Stapley and Peter Chan as the artists. Zak McClendon serves as the lead designer, Anna Kipnis as the programmer, and Peter McConnell as the composer.
Psychonauts 2 is being developed using Unreal Engine 4.
Schafer revealed during the Psychonauts 2 crowd-funding campaign that several original members of the Psychonauts team will return in Psychonauts 2. Richard Horvitz will return as the voice of the protagonist Raz, while Nikki Rap will return as the voice of Lili Zanotto, the daughter of the leader of the Psychonauts, with whom Raz fell in love.
Psychonauts 2 teasers and trailers
The video embedded below, released in October 2017, offers a first look at the upcoming Psychonauts 2.
It shows a “vertical slice” representing a fully playable area of the game created to test the final product. It covers the major elements that any level of the game should have, including player movement, combat sequences, quests, and overall experiences that function together with dialogue, audio, and visual effects (art and animation).
In December 2017, the developer updated impatient fans on the current status of the project. They showcased members of Raz’s family and other new characters. They also shared some details of the artwork and other developments.
Psychonauts 2 plot: Background
The original Psychonauts (2005) followed the adventures of Razputin “Raz” Aquato and his friends at Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp, a secret government facility disguised as a summer camp for kids.
The facility is actually set up to train youngsters with innate psychic gifts to become spies with psychic abilities, or “Psychonauts.”
During training at Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp, Raz uncovers a plot to take over the minds of his teammates. He goes on a mission to free his friends from the power of the enemy holding them physically and mentally captive.
In the process, he faces multiple challenges from foes in the physical world of the asylum where his friends are being held. The rescue mission also involves entering and exploring the minds of the non-player characters to set them free from the clutches of the powers that have taken over their minds. He battles “censors” in the mental world of the minds held captive, and he is able to enhance his psionics ranking through a variety of collectibles.
He gains enhanced psychic powers as the game progresses and uses the powers to overcome foes and complete dangerous missions.
At the end of the game, after Raz has rescued his friends, they go on a mission to rescue Truman Zanotto, the kidnapped leader of the Psychonauts.
Plot background: Psychonauts In the Rhombus of Ruin
Shortly after Double Fine launched the campaign to raise funds for Psychonauts 2, the studios also announced, during PlayStation Experience 2015, plans to develop a standalone title, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin.
Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is a publisher-funded virtual reality game developed for PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive. It was designed to serve as a bridge between the narratives of Psychonauts and its sequel Psychonauts 2. The events take place immediately after Psychonauts and before its sequel, Psychonauts 2.
Double Fine released Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin last year.
Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin picks up where the original Psychonauts left off and follows the adventures of Raz and fellow Psychonauts as they try to rescue the kidnapped Truman Zanotto, the leader of the Psychonauts.
Psychonauts 2 plot
Schafer and his teammates have so far been tight-lipped about the details of the narrative for Psychonauts 2. However, we have enough information to construct an overview.
Psychonauts 2 will pick up where Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin left off.
Schafer revealed during a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session in January 2016, that the story of Psychonauts 2 begins immediately after the rescue of Zanotto, with Raz being only a “few hours older” since the last game.
Schafer also revealed during the Reddit AMA that after Raz, Sasha Nein, and Milla Vodello rescue Zanotto, they return to the Psychonauts headquarters. When they arrive at the HQ, Raz discovers that a lot has changed at the HQ since Zanotto was kidnapped.
Zanotto’s second-in-command has abandoned legitimate psychic research in favor of sinister fields of research, such as necromancy.
“While Truman Zanotto was missing, several changes to the direction of the organization were made by his second in command,” said Schafer said. “Funding was cut from traditional psychic research and peacekeeping, and redirected to unorthodox, fringe endeavors, including the discredited practice of necromancy.”
Other themes, such as Raz’s family history and his family curse, introduced in the original game will also be explored further in Psychonauts 2.
“Raz soon uncovers sinister things at work in the shadows of Psychonauts headquarters, including double agents and evils of the past,” Schafer continued on Reddit. “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 he must also deal with this whole ‘girlfriend’ term and what it really means.”
Psychonauts 2 gameplay: Raz has new psychic powers!
Psychonauts 2 is a third-person platform game like the original.
Schafer revealed in an update uploaded to YouTube in August 2018, that in Psychonauts 2, Raz has received training at the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp and acquired new psychic abilities.
Psychonauts 2 players start the game with Raz’s new powers and try to overcome the 3D multi-level challenges the game offers.
Schafer explains in the YouTube video that Raz has”received extensive psychic training, so you’ll begin the game with many of the psychic abilities that he learned to harness at Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp. For those returning powers, the team has focused on making sure that each PSI ability is fun and useful, and on finding a visual style that feels uniquely psychic.”