Psychonauts 2 is at least a $10 million game

Cult hit Psychonauts is coming back more than a decade after its well-regarded debut on the original Xbox and PC. Like many other modern resurrections, Psychonauts 2 (which seeks $3.3 million dollars in backer support through crowdfunding venue Fig) has to make sure fans know which parts they’re paying for, years in advance. I asked Double Fine boss and creative director Tim Schafer to break it all down at this weekend's PlayStation Experience event in San Francisco.

“We picked 3.3 [million dollars] because it’s a callback to our awesome Broken Age Kickstarter that we did,” he said. The Broken Age Kickstarter asked for $400,000, but ended up closing its funding period on that big 3.3 figure in 2012. “Like we did with Broken Age, we’re also going to pitch in a whole bunch of our own money. So, we’re going to put a chunk of our money in, and we’re bringing in an external partner to bring in another chunk. Each one of those, probably on its own, could not achieve the budget, which together make a budget that’s really in the same ballpark as the first game.”

The first Psychonauts, a super-weird 3D platformer set in the minds of even weirder characters, is offering a blueprint for the size and scope of Psychonauts 2. According to Schafer, that means Psychonauts 2 is shooting for a rough total budget of between $10 million and $13.5 million. “So, we want to be in that same ballpark.” In comparison, major AAA games probably cost closer to building an actual ballpark.

Psychonauts fans can be more than backers on Fig - which allows for investments that pay real dividends - but for most players going into Psychonauts 2, there’s a question of whether it will be significantly delayed or altered from the original pitch, as Broken Age was. “I would love for it to be a repetition of all the things they didn’t like, because it actually turned out great,” Schafer said. “Broken Age, I’m really happy with the game and how it turned out, and we got a lot of crap for putting our own money into making the game twice as big as the one that we promised. So, I will stand by that.

“We’ve done two crowdfunded titles, Massive Chalice and Broken Age. We shipped them both and people have them and they’re great games. I feel like that gives us credibility to do this game.”

Psychonauts 2 still has a couple million dollars to go - and a few years - before it comes to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC and Linux in 2018. At the time of writing, its Fig campaign has surpassed $1.7 million.