Double Fine had to cut some content from Psychonauts 2 to maintain its development schedule, but after being acquired by Microsoft and joining its stable of Xbox Game Studios in 2019 (opens in new tab), it was able to restore it.
"With Psychonauts 2, we could see the end of our budget coming up, and so we had cut a lot of stuff," Tim Schafer told Games Industry (opens in new tab). "We had cut our boss fights. Now we are able to put those back in, and we're like, ''we think people would have noticed if we didn't have those boss fights.' Being able to complete the game in the way that it was meant to be was very important."
Schafer also noted that joining Microsoft has opened up the studio's future plans and removed financial pressure from other parts of the studio. "When you only have a certain amount of time and money, you might jump into a part of the game that you're not ready to jump into, or start working on art before you're ready with design," he says. "But now I look forward to this era where we are doing everything for what is right for the game."
"You do think about where we're going to get the next six months of salaries from," he adds. "That fills your mind a lot, and I am just getting used to my mind being free of that. Being able to apply it to games and creativity has been an adjustment, but a really great adjustment."
Double Fine joined the Xbox Game Studios ranks alongside several other high-profile studios, including Obsidian, Ninja Theory, and The Initiative. With Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 (opens in new tab), Ninja Theory has become one of Microsoft's next-gen pillars, and we're expecting to see more first-party games from Xbox Game Studios announced at this month's Xbox Series X showcase (opens in new tab).
For more on Psychonauts 2, check out this hands-on preview (opens in new tab) from Edge.