It has been many years since Tim Schafer first helped found Double Fine and it's been just as long since he last released the original Psychonauts. Through the past several years, Double Fine has released a number of new original games, as well as remasters of some of their old Lucasarts favorites. But the wait for Psychonauts 2 persisted.
After years in development, Psychonauts 2 is almost ready to release. It's now to the point that Double Fine is finally showing off gameplay, revealing more of the game's story, classic characters, and 3D platforming action that made the original such a cult hit. Shacknews traveled to PAX West over the weekend and took a look at a hands-off presentation, offering an idea of what's on the horizon.
For those concerned that the PlayStation VR tie-in Psychonauts: Rhombus of Ruin would be a throwaway part of the overall story, the Psychonauts 2 demo quickly shows that it is not. The sequel takes place in the immediate aftermath of Rhombus of Ruin, with Raz and the rest of the Psychonauts having recovered leader Truman Zanotto from the clutches of sinister dentist (which seems to be a theme for Double Fine) Dr. Loboto. Of course, Loboto isn't exactly the most... competent of villains, so the Psychonauts come to the conclusion that he couldn't possibly be working alone. That sets up the demo, with Raz and the Psychonauts setting up a phony scenario in Loboto's mind in hopes that he'll expose his boss.
What ensues is a great example of Psychonauts' off-the-wall humor. The fake scenario sees everyone working a mundane office job, with everyone getting called in to a meeting called the "Morale Corral." This is where the employee of the year is revealed, with said employee receiving an all=expenses-paid tropical vacation package. Of course, the winning employee is Dr. Loboto, but for him to redeem his package, he has to get his boss' signature.
A quick stealth sequence follows, with the idea to follow Loboto to his boss. But the villain quickly sees through this ruse and the playing field becomes much more hazardous. Raz must face off against a handful of dangerous enemies, all representing different aspects of Loboto's mind. There are censors with giant "NO" stamps, flying doubts, and flammable regrets. Raz gets many of his abilities from the original game back, such as his telekinesis, his PSI Blast Badge, and his Pyrokinesis Badge.
Players will be happy to see the returns of a number of fan favorite characters. Sasha, Lili, Milla, and Coach all play a big part in the scheme to poke around Loboto's mind, all offering a degree of introduction to the story and a fair amount of exposition. In addition to the standard 3D combat, players can also expect some 3D platforming sequences across some odd locales. Near the end of the demo, Raz was tasked with catching up with Loboto by jumping safely across moving teeth.
This looks to be just the start of the grander Psychonauts 2 story, as the demo ended with Loboto confronted by a shadowy psychic figure, one who threatened bad things if Loboto revealed their identity. Those looking for more of the humorous storytelling that made the first Psychonauts will be happy to know that it looks to remain a key element for the sequel. Double Fine also looks to sprinkle in a lot of accessible platforming sequences, along with a few surprise moments. One such moment came when Loboto attempted to escape Raz, requiring the game's frontman to run sideways up the walls, briefly shifting the game to a side-scroller.
It's been a long time since the Psychonauts have graced PC and consoles and their time finally looks to be at hand. Look for the long-awaited Psychonauts 2 to release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in 2020.