Psychonauts 2 still would have come out if Microsoft hadn't bought Double Fine, but it would have felt like a very different game.
Double Fine boss Tim Schafer has made no secret about the fact that Psychonauts 2 would not have had boss fights if his formerly independent company had not become part of Xbox in 2019. In an interview with G4 on YouTube, Schafer explained how the studio initially made the decision to cut each stage's boss battles to make up for being behind schedule and its then-publisher running into some financial troubles.
"And then, in talking to Microsoft, their question was, 'What would the game be like if you weren't as constrained by resources?' And I was like, 'Oh, I'd put those boss fights back in,' Schafer explained. "It's so easy to cut boss fights, because they're kind of separate from the level, the level's complete without them.
"But not a Psychonauts level, because they often represent the big thing going on in that person's mind. They have a major neurosis they're fighting or something like that. You've gotta show it and then help the host of the mind fight it, overcome it or change the power balance. So we really wanted to get those back."
Now that Psychonauts 2 is out, fully intact, in the world, it's natural to wonder what's next for Double Fine. Schafer hasn't flat-out refused the possibility of Double Fine making Psychonauts 3, but it sounds like the studio has a glut of all-new ideas it would like to tackle first.
Tim Schafer has said he wants Double Fine's next project to be "new and surprising."