What are your hopes for Psychonauts? "Rhombus of Ruin," "Psychonauts 2," but also the franchise in general?
Well it's definitely a world that has a lot of emotional hold for us, because we really love that world and those characters, and that feels very real to us. The first game, when it launched, it did okay, but when we got the rights back to it [in June 2011], we were able to sell more and more, and it sold more in the last five years than it did in its first five years. And I think that's shown the audience has grown kind of organically over the last 10 years, so we have hopes it'll reach more people than it did the first time. But I think what we're really concentrating on now is more of the "If they build it, they will come" philosophy: Just make a great game, make it true to Psychonauts, and if you make a great game, people will come play it.
Not satisfied with taking home a GDC Lifetime Achievement Award, Schafer will be the recipient of the "BAFTA Fellowship Award". Only a handful of game-industry personalities have been honored with the award, which usually is reserved for those in the movie business, over the last 37 years. Hitchcock was the inaugural recipient, so those are the circles Tim is rolling in these days.
We’d congratulate him, but honestly, this is such an everyday occurrence for him now, that it’s just another day on the job.
With thirty years under his belt, Tim gets what Tim deserves -- a lifetime achievement award. You already know what those achievements are, of course, though we are pretty sure his numerous Mojo Game of the Year awards are his most cherished memories.
I mean, I'm sure you saw the backer email, but in case you didn't, you heard it here first: Psychonauts 2 is now aiming for a 2019 release, a little later than had been originally speculated. You know, as Psychonauts games are wont to do.
DoubleFine said: "Now we are in full swing, we know a lot more about the size and scope of the game we are going to make, how long it will take us to make it, and the amount of time we need to make it be great. From those projections, we know that Psychonauts 2 will not be shipping in 2018, like we originally estimated when we published the Fig campaign two years ago."
It is what it is, and if this will give us that always sought-after extra polish then it's probably not a bad thing.
Having headlined Brütal Legend and getting summoned back for Broken Age, Jack Black has become something of a regular for Double Fine. The trend will continue with Psychonauts 2, which Black announced at something called The Game Awards.
No information has been divulged on the character Black will be voicing, but experts speculate that it won't be Mr. Pokeylope.
And my sincere apologies for the headline, but it is true. You can get Brütal Legend for free, gratis from Humble right now. At the time of writing you have 1 day, 22 hours, 57 minutes, and 27 seconds to get the game, so move!
You can never play Psychonauts on enough platforms, so it just makes sense to pop your old Xbox disc into your Xbox One and give it a whirl there too. That's right, Psychonauts is among the first lucky 13 games to be playable on the One. And if you have lost your disc, you can even buy it for $9.99 digitally -- why wouldn't you want a tenth copy of the game?
The game apparently both looks and runs better, too, which is always a bonus. The feature will be available tomorrow.
13 Oct, 2017, 06:22 | Posted by: Remi
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It’s Rocktober and it’s Friday the 13th, so what better way to celebrate than with a game of Brütal Legend against Double Fine? Join them at their YouTube channel at noon PST and you could be picked to compete against Tim himself. Or you could just watch like the voyeur you are. Anyway, noon pacific!
That's right, as I type this you have 1 day, 23 hours, 30 minutes, and 22 seconds to grab your free copy of Psychonauts from GOG Steam! So I had a few sips from the flask this morning; sue me. Because, can you really ever have too many copies? Of course you can't.
Tim is the subject of a new article on Medium in which he speaks about the oft-documented strain - and, perhaps, the needlessness - of crunch mode, a period at the end (or sometimes throughout) of a game development cycle when teams work around the clock to meet looming deadlines.
Speaking about his experiences at both LucasArts and Double Fine, Tim's thoughts on the subject are sobering and even personal, such as when he relates how the passionate and relentless climate at LucasArts during his early days at the studio brought consequences at home:
Schafer saw the crunch periods become more demanding as time went on, and it wasn’t long before he experienced the heavy price of that kind of working culture. His first marriage, he said, collapsed after just a year.
“You don’t realize until it has happened that you’re doing all this damage to your personal life by staying at work all the time,” he said. “You can mentally put the rest of the world on hold, but the rest of the world can’t necessarily be put on hold by you. I was so gung-ho about it. If you think someone will wait for you and tolerate you not being around… people move on.”
Even then, with a relationship falling apart around him, the work came first. The rewards were just big enough, and the aura of George Lucas radiant enough, that it felt impossible to leave. Schafer only met Lucas three times in the 10 years he worked for him, but says his presence was felt in the craftsmanship and artistry of the house and its grounds. The attention to detail exuded an air of quality that reminded everyone that things needed to be done right.
PC Gamer published an interview with Tim about Full Throttle in their June issue, but you don't buy magazines anymore, so you didn't read it. At least not until its ink exclusivity ended and it wound up online, which is now.
At the time a LucasArts adventure was expected to sell around 100,000 copies, but Full Throttle sold over a million. And now, 22 years later, the game has been re-released with remastered graphics and audio. I ask the game’s writer/director Tim Schafer what it’s like going back to something he made when he was in his early 20s.
“It’s been interesting looking at how I wrote dialogue back then based on my life experiences at the time, and how I interpret it differently now that I’m older,” he says. “And now that I’ve actually been a biker on the run for a crime I didn’t commit, that adds a lot of depth to it too. I had no idea what that was like back then.”
You know what I did in my early 20s? Not make Full Throttle. Learn more about how Tim outclassed me by reading the full article.
The long-awaited Psychonauts 2 has exited pre-production and has now unambiguously entered that rarefied air of honest-to-George production. I, of course, totally know what that means, but if you don't, here's Tim and project leader Zak McClendon to lay it out:
Double Fine also represented themselves at E3 last week. In a noble rejection of hubris, we held back and let the other gaming sites cover that. But we should point out that during a panel he hosted with Jack Back, Tim asserted that Brutal Legend 2 will happen "someday," noting that it would be "expensive." Fortunately, I was able to interpret this signal correctly, and what was once Remi's plasma is now the first angel investment for Brutal Legend 2.
Hey, Jason called it years ago, and now Wired has caught on, too: videogames are serious art. Let’s just treat you to an excerpt from the article:
In preparation for what became Full Throttle, he studied screenwriting, specifically how to structure a story in multiple acts. He drew on cinema in other ways, too. His protagonist, Ben, is, as the misunderstood leader of a leather-clad motorcycle gang, a cartoonish version of the sullen and stoic heroes of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo and George Miller’s Mad Max.
Want more? Read the whole article, or check out the book it is excerpted from, Bit by Bit: How Video Games Transformed Our World by Andrew Ervin.
I will question if Brütal Legend is Tim’s best game, but no-one asked me, anyway.
Adventure Gamers has a ten day old brand new interview with Tim for your enjoyment. It's primarily about Full Throttle Remastered, but it's pretty well-rounded. Tim even talks a bit about the old LEC vs. Sierra rivalries:
You know, I like talking about it. I think it’s a symptom of the fact that we didn’t have the internet back then. Nowadays, I’d be Facebook friends with those guys, and we’d all be making fun of each other on Twitter. Back then, we just didn’t talk at all, except for a couple of people that knew the Coles. There was a little back-and-forth, so the Coles came to the ranch to play softball, and they beat us. (laughs) They put it in the Sierra newsletter, but didn’t even mention the name LucasArts, just “Sierra beats competitor in softball”, and we were like, “oh my god, guys!”
I got to know Lori Cole a little at GDC last year; we were on a panel together. They were much more aware of our games than we realized. We thought that we had this competition going on, and they weren’t even aware of it, but they were much more aware than we thought! They kind of saw us as taking over. Lori was like, “we were on top for a long time, but after Monkey Island things started to shift, and Lucas took over.” They had a completely reverse idea of that competition than we had, which is that we were always up against them, and they were winning. I mean, they definitely won the sales war. We’re winning the remasters war, though! (laughs)
Read the full interview here, and prepare yourself for Full Throttle Remastered tomorrow!
There's a huge range of prototypes to choose from this year, so go take a look at the pitch videos and make your choice. If you buy the bundle at $5, you'll get prototypes from previous Amnesia Fortnights, and if you buy it at $15, you'll get previous Amnesia fortnight prototypes that have been made into full games!
The community developed Amnesia Fortnight also returns this year. This year, you can choose between three pitches, and then you can join in on the development or just watch it as it happens. You can see the video below (you might notice a familiar name on the pitch for the third prototype :P). Feel free to vote for whichever one you like most over at the Double Fine forum.
Here's Tim humbly suggesting that you pre-order from GOG:
One last cool thing: apparently Tim had the original demo of the game (a PC Magazine exclusive) remastered as well because it featured unique dialog not heard in the shipped game, and Tim wanted all of Roy Conrad's lines preserved in high quality. Pretty rad.
As with Day of the Tentacle Remastered and Grim Fandango Remastered, Double Fine had to go through the LucasArts archives to resurrect Full Throttle, and Tim talked about that effort with GamesIndustry.biz:
Schafer called it a sort of "digital archaeology." For Full Throttle, the art was completely repainted, often with input from original artists like Larry Ahern and Peter Chen. 3D elements like the game's motorcycles had to be remodeled from scratch because the originals weren't archived. Roy Conrad, the original voice actor for the game's protagonist Ben, died over a decade ago, so they had to track down the uncompressed DAT tapes of his original voiceover sessions in order to remaster them in stereo.
"We're in a unique position where we remember where the bodies are buried," he said. "'I think that sound guy took home a box of tapes once, and I know so-and-so has that thing in their attic.' And at Skywalker Ranch there's an archive that has a lot of cool stuff there, and we got access to those. We got to dig through these flat files, finding these great pieces of art and putting them in the concept art browser for the first time to let you see all this stuff when you play the game. It's more like a fun treasure hunt."
One might expect that the hassles of remastering projects like these would cause Double Fine to re-think the way it preserves its current titles for the future.
"I feel like we had all this trouble finding all these archives," Schafer said, "and it was like, 'Why didn't we archive this stuff better?' And then I was like, 'Are we archiving our new stuff better?' We had to really look at it, and well, you know... In some ways it's easy to make those same mistakes again, to just not really think about what's going to happen 20 years from now. 'Yeah, that stuff's all on that one artist's hard drive, but we don't have time to do all that...' So you really have to push yourself to create good archives, and to put away a machine that can do the actual build of the game. And that's something I hope all developers do, or they'll be kicking themselves later."
It's a comfort to know that Roy Conrad's line readings will liberated from that Turkish prison that is MONSTER.SOU.