The makers of Psychonauts, Broken Age, and Brutal Legend have officially joined the Xbox family. Microsoft announced during its E3 presser that it has purchased Double Fine Productions as its latest first-party studio. Double Fine is, of course, currently hard at work developing the long-awaited Psychonauts 2.
Studio head Tim Schafer posted a humorous video that clears the air about the sale. First and foremost, the crowdfunded Psychonauts 2 will still launch on its advertised platforms despite the sale. RAD, the studio’s other project in-development, will still be published under Bandai Namco, as well. Schafer promises that Double Fine’s company culture won’t change (such as its Amnesia Fortnight company game jam) and says he’s ultimately happy that they’ll no longer need to shop ideas around to publishers. The primary reason Psychonauts 2 took so long to get off the ground was because Double Fine spent years periodically pitching it to publishers with no success. Starbreeze Studios eventually signed on to help publish the game, a partnership that appeared in flux when the company fell into its current financial crisis. Not long after this news broke, Starbreeze revealed that it sold the publishing rights to Microsoft for $13.2 million.
In just the last year, Microsoft has greatly expanded the roster of studios under the umbrella of Xbox Games Studios. At E3 2018, the company announced the purchase of Playground Games (Forza), Undead Labs (State of Decay), Ninja Theory (Hellblade, DmC Devil May Cry), Obsidian Entertainment (The Outer Worlds, Pillars of Eternity), and Compulsion Games (We Happy Few). It also formed The Initiative, a new studio led by ex-Crystal Dynamics head Darrell Gallagher. The mission behind these acquisitions is to help rebuild Microsoft's notoriously scant library of first-party exclusive games.
As far as Psychonauts 2 goes, Double Fine unveiled the sequel’s first gameplay trailer. For the uninitiated, the plot centers on Raz, now a full-fledged Psychonaut, who must unravel a dark secret within the organization of psychic crime-fighters. Traveling through the mental worlds look to be just as much of a wacky trip as it was in the first game. One segment, for example, sees Raz traversing a bizarre world made out of floating teeth and gums. We also get a look at returning mechanics like rolling atop the psychic bubble.
Psychonauts 2 will arrive to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, and Linux sometime in 2020.
How do you feel about Double Fine becoming a first-party studio? Are you excited for Psychonauts 2? Let us know in the comments!
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