Psychonauts 2 developer Double Fine was acquired by Microsoft in 2019, and it turns out that the buyout had a major impact on the company’s newest game. Double Fine founder Tim Schafer told GI.biz that when his studio was acquired by Microsoft, it allowed the developers to bring back content for Psychonauts 2 that would have otherwise been left on the cutting room floor.
“With Psychonauts 2, we could see the end of our budget coming up, and so we had cut a lot of stuff,” Schafer said. “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.”
Psychonauts 2 was initially funded on Fig, where it raised more than $3.8 million USD, before the Microsoft acquisition. The game, which was announced all the way back in 2015, is now due to launch later in 2020 following a delay.
Now that Double Fine is owned by Microsoft, and has the backing of a trillion-dollar company, Double Fine is able to think about doing “what is right for the game” instead of focusing too much on time and budget issues.
“I’m looking forward to doing things for the right reasons,” Schafer said. “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. But now I look forward to this era where we are doing everything for what is right for the game.”
Also in the interview, Schafer spoke more about Double Fine’s decision to sell to Microsoft. He recalled that Double Fine was initially hesitant, and not interested in selling. However, Schafer became convinced after speaking with Xbox Game Studios boss Matt Booty and hearing about his vision for Xbox Game Pass in particular.
“I started to see two things that were important to me. One was that we could keep our culture. I was concerned, I was like: Will I need to put up a big Windows logo in our lobby, and change my email address to @ microsoft.com? And he was like, ‘No, none of that, you stay your own company, you’re just part of our team’. Of course, everyone would say that, but I kind-of believed it because I started to understand their vision for Game Pass,” Schafer said.
For more on Xbox Game Pass, check out GameSpot’s opinion feature, Microsoft’s Secret Weapon For Next-Gen Is Xbox Game Pass.
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