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Psychonauts Discussion -- Staff Review Included

Romier S

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"Microsoft Game Studios has made the decision to end its publishing agreement with DoubleFine for the upcoming Xbox game 'Psychonauts.' Microsoft Game Studios believes in the vision of the title and would like to see the game on Xbox. Microsoft is supporting Tim Schafer and DoubleFine in their search for a new publisher."




Man I hope the game gets a new publisher soon. No Metal Arms sequel and now the possibility of losing Psychonauts to the void would kill me here.

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That's interesting that they've decided not to publish both this & the next Oddworld recently...2 pretty high profile games with a built-in fanbase. I'm definitely looking forward to Psychonauts still...


I'm still hoping Rare has something up their sleeve to fill the hole in the platforming genre for Xbox too. MS mentioned concentrating on Rare's games as part of their reason for not publishing Tork; I dunno if that has anything to do with dropping these games too. Maybe they just don't believe that the genre has much of an audience on the Xbox?

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Unveiled at E3 2002


And I think that's key... Microsoft's Xbox division seems to be going through a bit of a 'sweeping out' at the moment, and this is quite clearly a title that's far from being a mainstream crossover hit - it's a niche title with the development period of a big budget AAA title, and I bet the budget to match. Here's some comments from a Microsoft employee who posts on Gaming Age::


the game wasn't fun. plain and simple.
You could add the total development cost of those two games (Kakuto Chokin & Azurik), then double it, and it would still be less then Psychonauts.

I remember hearing about Psychonauts almost 4 years ago, so the game has been in development since alpha kits.

Voodoo Vince was a better PLATFORMER then Psychonauts.



It'll get picked up by another publisher no doubt, as they don't have to foot the bill of the past 2 or so years of development.


Same as Oddworld - when was the last Oddworld game released, the launch of the Xbox? ...

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Psychonauts has been in dev longer than that, hasn't it? I could have sworn I've seen previews of it from a few years back in Computer Gaming World.


Shame about the whole snafu, though it seems odd to think of Tim Schaefer making a crappy game, I gotta say.

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  • 1 month later...

Anyone live in SF here you go:




Hey, are you available during the day and willing to work for backrubs?




We need testers! We want to make sure we have a good, solid demo for E3, so we need people to play the excellent game Psychonauts all day. Just play the game and help us find bugs and tune puzzle difficulty and all that good stuff.




Small problem: we can't actually HIRE any testers right now. But if you were looking to get some exposure to the game industry at its meatiest, juiciest, and most fragrant, then I recommend you come over to Double Fine and take us up on this offer: Test the excellent game Psychonauts and we will feed you, and sign you up for a free copy of the game when it comes out. And in a few months, we will be hiring actual, full-time, PAID testers, and you would be the first people we would consider for that job.


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If this was Mario 64 or something, maybe I could understand why it's taken so long, but I've got a feeling this game is just going to totally blow at this point. It's always seemed, well, just plain weird anyway for such an extended development time, especially since platformers don't do too well nowadays...

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especially since platformers don't do too well nowadays...


Tell that to Jak and his buddies Ratchet and Clank. Mario isn't exactly hurting for the sales either considering Sunshine was quite successful. Even crap like Blinx the Time Sweeper sold in excess of 200k units at full price no less...(almost 300k since it went down to 19.99). If you have a marketable character and some talent behind the project (and we're talking Tim Schafer here) the skies the limit. As mentioned above though Pschonauts is more of a "niche" platformer considering the inherent "wierdness" but I don't see how the level of wierdness is directly propotional to the amount of time the game has been in development?

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It relates to a degree, seeing as the weirdness level may turn off the target audience. Hence its 'niche' standing. Seeing as a niche title would most likely garner lower sales, a really long development time isn't exactly a good thing, in terms of profit. That's the point I was trying to make.

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  • 2 months later...

New Q&A with Tim:




GS: How far along is the game, and are you and Majesco targeting a release date or quarter?


TS: We've got a few levels at beta right now, some others at alpha, others somewhere in between, and a new level that we're doing now. We're looking at an early- to mid-2005 release.


I'm starting to see why MS felt a tad leary about the game. Good lord the game is still amost a year aways from being released!

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  • 8 months later...

Majesco is apparently putting allot of weight behind Psychonauts. In fact, they have committed a multi-million dollar ad campaign for the game that includes:


Highlights from the press release:


* Humorous national TV campaign;

* Print campaign in mass-market and gaming enthusiast publications that includes spreads, pages and a unique "interactive" insert;

* Major online advertising initiative that began in March and will continue through launch;

* Two week national radio campaign in the top 10 markets;

* Three kiosks on the "GameLive College Tour" that runs from March through mid-April and hits 25 college campuses across the country;

* Inclusion on the May Xbox retail kiosks;

* Consumer demos and video trailers on Official Xbox Magazine and leading online gaming sites;

* Official Brady Strategy Guide available at launch;

* Large-scale, cross-promotion with Creative Labs;

* Comprehensive publicity campaign targeting leading consumer and gaming enthusiast publications, online, and broadcast outlets;

* Dedicated consumer web site at http://www.Psychonauts.com.




Majesco has also partnered with several national retailers to offer an exciting "Psycho Gold Instant Win Game." Consumers who purchase Psychonauts for Xbox could win $5,000 instantly if their game includes a winning gold disc. Three participating retailers are offering five gold discs each within specially marked Xbox packages featuring the promotion.


Gamespot has more details and the full on press release here.

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I haven't been keeping an eye on this one during it's (apparently) long development cycle, but the good word-of-mouth and high praise from OXM and the fact that I'm a complete junkie for any and all platformers and adventure games has me intrigued now. I also LOVE the visual style, which almost impresses me more than the more realistic look of games like Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory or Doom III. Maybe I'll pick up the new OXM so that I can try out the demo.

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Play also gave it a very good review (but then, it is a platformer) with a score of 9/10, which was slightly less than the 9.5 of God of War in the same issue.


According to Gamerankings, EGM has an average score of just over 8.


I can't wait to try it.

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