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Around this time last year, Psychonauts fans had reason to get excited after Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson suggested throwing a few (million) bucks in Double Fine's direction to make a sequel. Valentine's is a great time for breaking hearts, though, so it's only fitting that Persson recently dispelled that notion.
"I somewhat naively thought 'a couple of million' was two million," Persson said on Reddit (via VentureBeat). "I had no doubt in my mind that a Psychonauts 2 would earn that money back easily. Turns out they wanted 18 million dollars, haha. I don't have the time at the moment to even try to get educated enough to make an 18 million dollar deal. Perhaps in some distant future when I'm no longer trying to make games, I could get into angel investing. I've made one private investment into a game so far, at $100K, and it's frankly a lot more work than I thought."
The comment from Tim Schafer that kicked off the proceedings mentioned "a few million dollars," but Persson later reportedly said $13 million was a "can do" proposition. It may be disappointing, but it's hard to blame Persson for his hesitance. $18 million would be a large chunk out of almost anyone's budget, even at his 2012 earnings of more than $100 million.
When Humble Bundle V launched, the general consensus was that it was one of the best collection of games ever put together. Clearly, many people agreed, making the last collection the most successful Humble Bundle yet.
In the span of two weeks, almost 600,000 people donated an average $8.53 to get games such as LIMBO, Psychonauts, Super Meat Boy, Braid and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. If some donated more than the average, they also got Bastion. The $5.1 million more than doubles the previous record of the $2 million collected each by Humble Bundles 2 and 3.
The bundle started off strong, gathering $1 million in the first five hours of launch.
If you've been suffering indie game bundle fatigue, now that a new one launches almost every week, the latest Humble Bundle should perk you right back up. The 'pay what you want' Humble Indie Bundle V packs Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Limbo, Psychonauts, and Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, plus, if you pay more than the average price, you get Bastion too.
Head on over to Humble Bundle to slap down whatever you fancy paying, dividing it up as you please between the developers, charities, and organizer. As ever, the games come for PC, Mac and Linux, and are available as DRM-free direct downloads with bonus Steam keys. Oh, and you get their soundtracks too.
Now, sadly the customary Humble Bundle rapping is absent from HIB V's trailer, but maybe the Bastion narrator and Tim Schafer will make up for that:
Minecraft creator Markus "Notch" Persson gained a lot of attention for his offer to chip in personal funds towards Psychonauts 2. The internet responded the way you'd expect for a dormant, cult-hit property, so Persson has taken to his blog to set reasonable expectations.
He says that he and Tim Schafer have only exchanged "a couple of e-mails" and might meet at the upcoming Game Developers Conference. He says that the budget for the game is three times higher than he though, and Double Fine will most likely be busy with its Kickstarter project for a while anyway.
"I would not be investing in this as a charity," he says. "It would be because I think the game would be profitable. And naturally, I wouldn't want to have any creative input in the game. It would be purely a high risk investment in a project I believe in." He also points out that other investors have expressed interest.
Persson says that this kind of investment would require a lot of discussion, but he says he has advisers to help him with that aspect. "All I know is that IF the numbers work out and IF they still want to do it and IF they don't decide to self fund a sequel by doing more crowd funding (which is honestly what I would've done if I were them), I would be most interested in doing this type of investment."
He says his reasons for setting more realistic expectations is that he's "incredibly scared of the very real risk of people feeling let down just because I took a chance at something that doesn't end panning out." He jokes that if the deal doesn't work, he'll "just go into hiding for a few years."
Even if the investment is higher than expected, Persson seemed unphased by the dollar amount as of a few days ago. He said he "can do" $13 million if necessary. Whether this is ultimately determined as profitable, though, is unclear -- and with Double Fine focused on its adventure game, we might not know for quite a while.
Sure, Tim Schafer and Double Fine Productions are swimming in a boatload of Kickstarter'd funds for their upcoming adventure game. But, $1.7 million isn't enough to make a new Psychonauts game. How much would it take? The original game cost $13 million to make; a sequel would have to match the budget of its predecessor.
Minecraft creator Markus 'Notch' Persson has been sitting on a lot of cash since the runaway success of his blocky creation game. Notch offered to support a sequel, with the multi-million dollar sum no problem for the designer-turned-publisher. "Yeah, I can do that," he told Schafer.
"I feel like I was being proposed to on the jumbotron at the baseball game," Schafer recalled to Kotaku when describing Notch's original tweet offer.
While it seems like the pieces are falling in place, a sequel would still be years away. "These things take time to figure out--if they can be figured out--so please don't expect any Psychonauts 2 announcements any time soon," Schafer previously noted.
But what would a Psychonauts 2 be about? "We had a lot of plot elements that were backstory in that [first] game that we planned on revisiting in the future and tying it back in," Schafer told Kotaku. "We had a longer story arc planned for those characters."
A new adventure game from Tim Schafer, Ron Gilbert, and the rest of the Double Fine Productions gang is on its way, having hit its funding goal of $400,000 only eight hours after launching a crowd-funding plan. What's more, Double Fine is now having "a lovely chat" with Minecraft creator Markus 'Notch' Persson about his offer to fund a Psychonauts sequel.
"If I were to go to a publisher right now and pitch an adventure game, they'd laugh in my face," Schafer said in a video for the KickStarter project. So Double Fine turned to its fans, seeking $300,000 to fund a new adventure game and $100,000 for video game documentary team 2 Player Productions to record its progress.
The project launched at 6pm Pacific on Wednesday, and reached the $400,000 mark a touch over eight hours later. Clearly, this is something special. The pledges continue to pour in, but are not going to waste, as extra money will go back into the project. "This could result in anything from increased VO and music budgets to additional release platforms for the game," Double Fine said.
Double Fine has some series adventure game muscle. Schafer himself lead the seminal LucasArts games Full Throttle and Grim Fandango, and had a big hand in Day of the Tentacle and the early Monkey Island games. Ron Gilbert, the creator of Monkey Island and co-creator of Maniac Mansion, is also on the team.
Pledging $15 will get you Double Fine's adventure game on Steam when it's finished, plus beta access through Steam and access to the video series. Rewards increase as you pledge more, with some ludicrous goodies if you slap down thousands of dollars, including being in the game or even scoring Tim Schafer's last four shrink-wrapped triangle box copies of Day of the Tentacle.
"Here's my promise to you," Schafer joked, "either the game will be great or it'll be a spectacular failure, caught on camera for everyone to see. Either way, you win. What could possibly go wrong?"
Double Fine's plan was to release the game in October, but given how much extra money it's certain to get, finding ways to spend that may take time.
As for Minecraft creator Markus Persson's Psychonauts offer, which seemingly began as a bit of banter, Schafer has said, "If you're wondering about Notch's generous offer to help Psychonauts 2 happen, all I can say is that we are having a lovely chat about it!"
He added, "These things take time to figure out--if they can be figured out--so please don't expect any Psychonauts 2 announcements any time soon."
Of course, given how well crowd-funding is working for the adventure game, Double Fine can always consider that too. The model's becoming increasingly popular with independent makers-of-things to bring their dreams into reality, but Double Fine is the first video game developer to use it for such a large and high-profile project. Exciting times in the industry.
Here's the Double Fine Adventure project's Kickstarter video:
Psychonauts will get a sequel, if the creator of Minecraft has anything to say about it. In response to reports that Tim Schafer would make Psychonauts 2 if he could get the funds, indie developer Markus 'Notch' Persson offered to work with him to revive the dormant property.
Schafer had told Rock Paper Shotgun that he's pitched Psychonauts 2, but no publishers have taken him up on it. "I'd have to convince someone to just give me a few million dollars," he said. "That's all."
In response, Persson tweeted to Schafer, "Let's make Psychonauts 2 happen." He later confirmed this was in response to the RPS interview, ending with, "I'm serious." So far, Schafer hasn't explicitly responded to the idea.
Persson would likely have plenty of money to fund such a project, since Minecraft has sold nearly 5 million copies. That revenue has gone into funding other projects from Mojang Specifications, of course, but Persson himself isn't hurting for money. We can't say if this will go any further than a spontaneous offer, but if it does, we could be seeing the beginnings of a match made on Twitter.
One of Double Fine's most beloved games, Psychonauts, is now available on the Mac. In addition, Tim Schafer's studio has released a free companion app for iOS, designed to "cause a sudden, uncontrollable rush of enthusiasm for Psychonauts" and "cause you to rush out and by the game from the Mac App Store." The "Valut Viewer" app includes all the Memory Vaults from the original game, and adds new commentary from Scott Campell and Tim Schafer.
While today's announcement is largely targeted at the Apple crowd, Double Fine hasn't forgotten its PC base either, updating the Steam version of the game.
The update adds achievements, cloud saves, and a "modified Meat Circus." Considered one of the original's most difficult sections, the update tones down the difficulty.
As of today, Steam users may download a free update to their Psychonauts game which includes--for the first time--achievements, cloud saves, and a slightly modified Meat Circus. "Mostly because Iâm getting older and itâs hard for me to press buttons that quickly," Schafer explained.
If the five included games--Pinball Dreams, Pinball Dreams 2, Pinball Fantasies, Pinball Mania, and Pinball Illusions--aren't immediately recognizable, you may be able to take some solace in the fact that they were developed by Digital Illusions (also known as DICE) of Battlefield and Mirror's Edge fame.
Those scallywags at GOG.com are also offering big savings on Tim Schafer's cult hit Psychonauts. From now through Thursday at 10am ET, the mind-bending adventure is available for 75% off. We're tired of telling you this is a game you should own, so do yourself a favor and throw down the $2.49 for it. We recommend using your mind's eye to search for the change. Or check between your couch cushions.