Skip to: main content or site footer.

What Good Looks Like

Following a major departure from the studio, the team is forced to examine their own processes or risk losing more vital team members.

Published: January 20th 2023

Episode Stills Gallery

Episode Transcript

MATT: All right.


MATT: That looks interesting.

All right.

All right, uh...

There is a game, I'm guessing.

All right.


-ZAK: What?! -[LAUGHTER]


What just happened?


ZACH: What a tease!


What would-- what would that be? What would it look like?

What is the tank enemy itself?

Like, I don't really have a very good idea right now.

ANNA: I think it's really, really important to let people...

feel like they are contributing their perspective to something.

-TIM: "Nurse, code red!" -"Hand me the dice!"

TIM: "Hand me the dice!"


JAMES: The idea of mashing of a hospital into a casino is pretty exciting.

KEE: We'll kidnap you from where you are going.


ANNA: It's-- it's really strange to be the one leaving.

ANNA: This is really a special place.

And it's unbelievable.

EMILY: I'm really sad Anna left. I love Anna.

Anna was-- was like...

...some sort of heart of Double Fine.

She was a heart of Double Fine.

And... I miss her.

Yeah, it was really sad to see Anna go,

because Anna has been here since almost the very beginning.

You know, we spent many years working together.


KEE: You know someone for that long, it's--

it's sad to see your friend-- your friend go.

I hope that, you know, that...

that she-- she finds happiness in her next job,

or her current job, now that she's started.



I think it'll just be a little bit different.

I think a piece of-- of Double Fine... left.

And not to mention, you know, she'd been here so long.

And it was-- it was nice.

It was the first time I ever had a female senior person above me.

That never happened to me in my life.

I'm like: "Oh, this is cool!"


And, you know, she sat right next to me.

And she built some of our major systems.

And it was just-- it was a huge blow

in a lot of different ways.

You know, on a project level she brought the experience from the first game.

But a lot of, like the-- the gameplay know-how that she has,

just years and years of experience that she has that she brings to the job.

She was basically in charge of all AI.

And Brian was working with her,

so that he could sort of inherit some of the subsystems.

And now he is just kind of the AI guy.

Until we get, like, an AI person.

PAUL: Anna left.

Uh, yeah, she did.

PAUL: Why'd that happen?

Um, you know...

She felt she needed to...

...experience new things, and so she...


...left me to fend for myself.

And, like, me, who is, like...

...trying to do what he can, but is still fairly inexperienced with AI,

and combat, like...

AI is super complex, and I hadn't done it professionally before.

And so, I'm still, like, learning.

Well, at least it's spawning. That's good.

BRIAN: Like I said, it's a challenge trying to, like, figure out

what combat in Psychonauts 2 is.

Because, like, I don't think any of us really knows what--

has, like, a very pristine, exact...

...view of what that will be.

We are just kind of, like--

We are heading towards various ideals.

ZAK: So, combat development is going to be fun from here on out.

So, we had our current plan of, like, whatever it was...

eight complex enemies, and X number of simple enemies.

And, like...

That may not be possible now anymore.

PAUL: Do you think that there were some things

that could have happened that would have made her more likely to stay?


PAUL: Because there were some changes after she left.

Mm, mm-hmm.

ZAK: Other exciting news also is we are going to get Scott's time.

And he is going to charge through a whole bunch

of crazy visual enemy design.

I've been too guarded of stuff,

of trying to keep us on schedule and pack as much into the game.

And that's mostly been trying to make a big game with a small team.

And I want to try to shift that to more of, like, bottom-up creativity.

To have that be a broader discussion

that hopefully everybody feels like they are excited about.

I hope.

If you are not, let's talk about it one-on-one.

Like, you don't have to tell people while there is cameras rolling.

Hi, everybody!


EMILY: No, I don't-- I don't know really if--

I don't know if I have dirt on Anna.

I know that...

I don't think her and Zak got along.

That's-- that's all I know.

She left for the reasons that everyone else is really frustrated.

There is pretty consistent complaints

that the game is not Psychonautical enough right now.

Stress has been rollercoaster for the last few months.

And when pathing is complete that means artists can paint over--

RYAN: Pathing is not exactly complete

because we just gave James feedback and stuff that he needs to work on.

ANDY: In which zones?

-The two we just looked at. -Okay.

JEREMY: My question is when will it be complete?

When we can do the iteration and then check it in.

That's, I mean...

GEOFF: There is still a lot of work to do on the Hub.

-GEOFF: So, I would focus on the Hub. -Yes, right.

This isn't an immediate need.

I'm just doing my due diligence to try and line stuff up.


Just the problem that we keep running into is that iteration happens,

and then another week of iteration happens,

and then another week of iteration happens.

We can never-- We keep waiting... the problem sometimes. -We are not.

We are scheduling out what we are going to do.

(Yeah, I know, yeah.)


Why did that meeting get so tense?

GEOFF: It does make it difficult, like, for you to start placing things

when it's constant iteration.

And that goal post keeps moving back

when you cannot fully go in there and start.

There are things that you can do in the meantime.

-Like, kitting out this sort of stuff. -JEREMY: There is always stuff to do.

Which you have already started to do.

I'm not worried about not having stuff to do.

I'm worried that it's never is going to stop.

That iteration is never going to stop.

And I think it is...

That was probably, like-- the boiling point was Anna leaving.

And was the moment everyone realized something needed to change

or else lots of people were going to leave.

ZAK: I wanted to kind of talk a little bit about, uh...

There's been a lot of feedback coming up.

Just about, like, process on the team

and how we work together, and collaboration.

Um, and all of that is really, really good feedback.

There's been some sort of, like,

big teeth-gnashy meetings and things like that.

But it's all really awesome, because now we can fix those things

and make everything work better.

JEREMY: And also too, I think he knows that, like, we--

we had that whole meeting about the designers and stuff.

And, like, there's going to be give and take, and, like...

It's different.

Did you guys know about that?

There were no cameras, so I don't know if, like...

Did you talk to anyone-- to anyone--

I don't want to be the only one that's talking-- talked about this.

ZAK: Yeah, I mean, that was--

It was one of the things-- we had a...

...big leads meeting about, uh...

just kind of what we hope to get out of the next phase of the project...

...that I didn't let you guys film.


JAMES: We had a couple interdisciplinary meetings,

but a lot of meetings within our own discipline

that were like: "Hey, what's messed up about the project right now?

And it turns out, like, there is a lot of stuff

that people are unhappy about.

TUCKER: What was that?

PAUL: Did the meeting end?

JEREMY: The thing that sucks is because it's, like...

I think it's an important part of, like, the project.

But I don't want to be the guy that's talking about that.

-That's talking about that. -PAUL: We'll come back to you, if you...

JEREMY: Um, yeah. It was kind of tough at first.

But I think it's a lot better now.

PAUL: It definitely was--

It was definitely a little contentious at first.

I'm surprised that there was no drama.

That nobody walked out of the room like: "Bah!"

Does that happen?

Oh, I've had, like, some seriously bad scope discussions.

-PTSD. -Not here, but...

No, not here.

-Other places. -Other places.

Of course.

LISETTE: We did help that a lot by changing how we were running meetings.

Meetings were very design focused and artists couldn't get a word in.

And so, as the creative process is evolving,

they were feeling left out.

So, you know, changing, like, who gets to speak first.

And then cutting-- noticing when people are cutting people off.

And then giving them the opportunity to speak, like...

All those little things that people don't notice

really matter when people feel like they are being heard.

Yeah, actually we got rid of a lot of meetings.

Which was nice, because before...

I mean, also too, I guess, there was just a lot more reviews, and, like...

Um, my meetings and, like, things have shrunk down a lot.

So, I can get, like, a lot of work done.

You know, there is, like, a lot less stress.

Because there was, like, a lot of stress when you go into meetings and stuff,

and, like, you only have a couple hours a day to work.


GEOFF: Oh, wait, do I have another meeting now?

Fuck! I do. Goddammit!

JEREMY: But, like, lately, it's...

I have, like, full days to actually work now.

And it's a lot easier to get things done.



I think Zak has a tendency...

to kind of want to know...

I don't want to say, like, controlling.

But he just wants to, like, look over what people are doing, and sort of--

He is used to...

telling people to...

"Here is the next thing you have to do."


You know, he was so organized, and had such a process for doing things,

that I was like: "This will be a relief for the team."

Because when I run things, it's very chaotic.

And everyone wonders how much work they have to do.

He curls up into it and you roll him around like...

EMILY: And he's been very responsive.

Or he's been very, um... good at realizing that, um...

I'm sort of better unstructured.

But in the beginning he was like:

"Do this next part."

And I was like: "I don't think that's important."

The backstage area, it's also been a...

EMILY: They are also on, like, the sets and stuff like that.

ZAK: Yeah, yeah.

RYAN: But this is being designed for that.

And we have metrics, and we have, like, minimum distances.

-EMILY: I know. -RYAN: And things we need for that.

RYAN: And this isn't just about combat by the way.

This is about a lot of the other gameplay that we have

which requires those kinds of metrics to be observed

in order to make it good gameplay for what we are doing.

It definitely felt like design was...

kind of trying to...

gatekeep all the content.

And, uh... that just wasn't going to work.

Because we had to do our jobs, you know.

So, we have to find the balance between riding the ride

and experiencing the story.

And then getting off the ride and jumping and moving around.

And if things are too spread out, the story suffers.

And if things are too compact, then the gameplay suffers.

It's an ongoing struggle.

And I don't think it's ever going to go away.

This kind of-- this dynamic between art, design, and engineering.

It's a symbiosis, but there is also differing, like, goals and desires.

And you always have to kind of find

the middle ground that works for the player.

JAMES: It feels like people think that it's not how Double Fine does it normally.

But also my understanding has always been

that Zak and other new people have been brought in to...

make the studio run differently.

So, like, it could just be growing pains

that people are not used to games being made this way.

TIM: Uh... and Seth!

Yeah, I'm going to be joining the level design team for Psychonauts.

-[CHEERING] -TIM: Awesome, awesome.


Uh, how many Dio shirts do you both own?

Uh, I have three, I think.

And then, one Black Sabbath, like, Heaven and Hell...

TIM: Yeah.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Somebody told Seth how to get job at Double Fine.


-ZAK: There was a tip-off on that one. -[TIM LAUGHS]

We are looking at sort of, like, the process team-wide and culture-wide.

And sort of figuring out how to work better together.

Um, because, you know, going into last year,

there was a lot of just, like, heads down, here is a big list of things,

let's get things done.

Um, and people... drift apart when you do that.

You know, people kind of move apart in goals,

people lose track of what other people are doing.

People are not as sort of generous or trusting

in terms of, like, if something is not getting done,

maybe there is a reason for it.

Or if something is being done that I don't understand,

maybe there is a reason for it.

And so, um...

It's a little fractured right now.

So, we are trying to focus a lot more on just team cohesion.

And, um, kind of team culture, and come up with a better way of working

as we move into kind of the next phase of the project,

because there is going to be a lot to do.

ZAK: I welcome that feedback

and I want that feedback to be happening on the team, because--

JAMES: Yeah, I mean, in a lot of our discipline meetings--

That's a weird to say that.

In a lot of our, like, design meetings and art meetings

we've talked about how we'd like to have more Tim time for, like, low level stuff.


It's unfortunate that he doesn't seem to have the time.

Uh, is Tim not making it to this.

PAUL: He is coming.

So you say.

PAUL: We've sort of been used to seeing Tim around more...

-PAUL: meetings. -ZAK: Yeah.

...tutorial-ly and story-ly what's important about the level.

Ladies and gentlemen, Tim...

...Tiberius Schafer!

What is your middle name? John? Is it just a John?

Tiberius sounds pretty good. I like it.

PAUL: And he's been...

He's definitely been writing a lot of stuff.

It's not like he is off not doing anything.


PAUL: But... we just wonder if that element is missed?

Absolutely, yeah.

TIM: I'm going to walk away from this meeting.

I don't know if it's over, but it seems like it's over.

RYAN: It's over.

It is over.

ANDY: Nothing is over!



You just don't turn it off!

(What is he talking about?)

Rambo! Come on! Anyone? No?

Isn't the first one really different than the other ones?

-RYAN: Yes. -ANDY: Yes.

RYAN: The first one's actually a good movie.

Comparative discussion of Rambo versus First Blood is always my cue to...


Because I have too many opinions about that.

-All right. -All right.

ZAK: So, one of the things that came up was trying to get more Tim involvement.

Um, it's a tricky thing.

You know, like, I have tried...

I mean, I'm very personally invested in the game, and creatively invested,

and I see all of these things in the game that are like: "Ah!"

Just ideas we had forever ago.

but I know for a lot of people, like...

I will always be the game's step-dad kind of.

Uh, and, you know...

having Tim's approval...

even if they don't literally need it,

you know, even if it isn't like he is blocking things...

Um, having him give the blessing

to what we are doing on a more continual basis

is something that I think is important to people.

Um, so that they feel like...

they are making the right game.

You know, because a lot of people have come in,

people who are Psychonauts fans,

and they want to be making a good Psychonauts 2.

-Is Tim here? -ANDY: Nope.

JEREMY: I'm going to go see if--

ZAK: And I think him being--

being a little more present than he has been

is part of putting them at ease.


But we gotta find a way to split the difference

between him being locked away in his office, writing on the game,

and him, you know, actually being out there

in front of people once in a while.

Because I think it makes a huge, huge difference in...


just what people think they are building, you know?


And I certainly could use the support, so.

All right! Ending of the game.

Okay! I was going to write those two cutscenes.

All right, ending of the game. So, let's-- let's...

How far did I get?

I got to... going into the mental scalpel.

-Coming out. -ZAK: Yeah.


TIM: I've always been very controlling about the writing on the project.

And, um...

I had to be really behind on my schedule

to be talked into getting any help ever.

It's just easier to write it yourself.

When someone else writes stuff...

If it's great, it's great.

And if it's really bad, that's great too.

Because you are like: "This is really bad."

But if it's just, like...

When it's okay and you are just kind of like...


Uh... I don't know what to say.

But sometimes when it's just, like, taste or style...

That's what I'm worried about the most.

When it's, like, a taste or a style issue.

What happens at the end of the game?

Like, is someone-- is some--

Like, those two characters who are both potentially could be portrayed

as wrong and evil, redeemable or unredeemable,

tragic or villainous, like... because it could,

you could take either one of them.

It could be that, yeah, Ford is unredeemably awful.

Or Maligula just can't be saved.

Or one of them sacrifices themselves for the other one.

Or you learn that it was all a misunderstanding or whatever.

And, like, what--

what version of that is the right version for a Psychonauts game...

-Hmm. my question.

Yeah, it's a funny challenge, because, like...


-Maligula could die. -ZAK: Yep!

Sacrifice herself.

But it's, like, such a short amount of time

to have that much emotional growth.

ZAK: Yep.

Ford is, actually, at this point in the story,

he is probably worse?

He did all the things, yeah.

I think that's what's going to...

I think that's going to be the audience perception

based on what we have right now.

It's like: "Huh, Ford's kind of a bad guy."

-All is fair in love and war. -ZAK: Yeah!

Or he was young, and he made mistakes, and then he suffered enough for it

by being crazy all these years.


It seems like to really make it--

The game-- Like, the victory is that he is--

Ford has brought back the original vision of the Psychonauts to the Psychonauts.

So, Ford and the Psychic Seven.

They are-- you know,

they are all welcomed back into the base in some way.

For lunch, they get a free lunch.


All right.

-ZAK: You are like: "All right!" -Let's do that!


You are making it all easy. It's so easy now.


You know, I feel for Zak, because that's a high pressure position.

It's, like, a lonely job.

You have to-- You can talk to--

He can talk to me, he can talk to his producers, but you--

you've got a bunch of people on the team that you are trying to keep moving,

and productive, and happy, and, um...

you are a natural focal point for their... dissatisfaction

if anything is-- you know, on the project.

And, um, especially that part of the project

where you are just hoping people have faith

that it's going to be good.

I think it's always a trial.

And especially a trial for a new project leader to...

exude that confidence to everybody.

SAMMY: ...their rendering API.

-ZAK: Uh... -It's the new...

Hey, when you are done, can I talk to you?

EMILY: I can't even imagine, like...

...being-- being in his situation.

That sounds so hard.


He is trying.

I know he is trying.


There is nothing in the game that I am-- I don't understand how it would get good.


Okay, great!

-Hey, Asif! -ASIF: Yes.

Designer Asif.

ZAK: And... I need to, uh...

figure out how to get everybody on board with that--

just confidence.

ANDY: So, we are only-- we are only left with, like, 40 open issues

which is about what we usually end with.

Um, and these are the things that are just going to be rolling over

to the next, uh... sprint and milestone.

Uh, so, this milestone really is about getting all of our core gameplay systems

and our world art represented in real, actual production levels.

Um, at a level of polish and density

that represents our intentions for the full game.

Um, so, not totally shippable, not totally perfect.

But something that we can sort of stand behind

and look at and be like:

"Yes, that is the version of the thing that we want to ship,

and it's just going to get better and better everyday.

But, basically, something that demonstrates what good looks like.

So, we are going to be that, uh,

in what we are calling currently Pilot areas.

ZAK: So, my hope for that is-- I'm trying to sort of just build...

some buy-in on, kind of, what our creative goals are.

Um, so, there is a couple of different ones that are happening

in different areas across the game.

And the idea is each one of those would sort of demonstrate

a different kind of good thing about the game.

Um, and then, eventually we'll start sort of pushing that out

as an example to everywhere across the game.

So, there is an exploration pilot which covers platforming, collectibles,

and world interactivity of punching things, and collecting things,

and exploring, and platforming.

And we are going to do that in the Hollis hub.

The big Hollis hub area.

Um, puzzle pilot which hopefully will represent

a shippable version of a puzzle.

A puzzle that we can play and playtest,

and some day will ship.

As opposed to a puzzle we will build, hate and then take out of the game again.

Which is what we have been doing.

This is the, uh... puzzle pilot, yeah.

-Is this you? -Mm-hmm.

You are the puzzle pilot master?

You are the flight attendant on this puzzle pilot?

ASIF: Yeah, well, there was no one left to make puzzles, so.


ZAK: The combat pilot.

Covering representative group combat throughout the tutorial areas of Cassie.

ZAK: Oh, yeah, this is nobody attacks!

Yeah, nobody attacks.

Especially him jump-- Like, they back up from you.

He is in the corner.

ZACH: They are like: "Whoa, whoa, I don't need-- I don't want any trouble!"


WILL: "This guy's crazy!"

-"We are just in a library." -"Yeah, what's this guy doing?!"


ZAK: And a very exciting world art pilot

with pre-Alpha pass at world art, visual effects, and lighting.

-ZAK: Running on PS4 at thirty frames-- -BRIAN: Sixty!


-I don't know. -ZAK: Uh-oh, ninety!

ZAK: One-twenty.

It's going to be in Hobbit-vision.

Um, but this is sort of the big thing that we are trying to accomplish,

is have a couple of areas where-- that look great,

and a couple of areas that play great, for different kinds of gameplay.

Um, and then, as we approach the next milestone,

kind of spread those out as guidelines more across the game-- more evenly.

That might have been my version.

ANDY: I can-- I can still--

PAUL: I'll have to look at yours.

ANDY: I pulled whatever was in my--

TAZIO: Oh, I'm sorry.

PAUL: Now, with Psychonauts now,

we've sort of seen a recent shift after the previous milestone.


PAUL: Where they are trying out this pilot process.

Yes, yes, yes.

There is a lot of things that's very energizing

about working collaboratively and closely together on a--

very iterative way.

Just to get, you know, your head--

just to get your head out of your desk

and, like, be able to take a step back

and look at what it is that's being created.


LISETTE: This whole area needs a theme to make it work, right?

It's either, like--

that's X-rays, X-ray machines.

There is something about all of the pieces that need to make sense.

JAMES: And now, with the pilot program, we are actually, like, sitting in a room

and talking about, like, holistically what makes the level good or bad.

Which is a nice change.

DEVIN: And we really need, like, a time running out sound on that.

Yeah, I'm going to talk to audio after this.

AMY: The entire sort of, like, company is represented

in all of its departments.

Like, there is an FX artist there, there is a concept artist there,

there is programmers and designers,

and we are all talking about things together.

The pilots were cool, because...

Like, we saw progress.


AMY: There is more of a sense of collaboration in them.

And I think that's kind of raised morale a bit.

-I brought Levi! -BEN: Oh, no!

He is going to do it too!

AMY: I think it's really good for us to see it all come together.


-Peace! -Go, team! Play the build.

S'up, Andy?



-I don't like this at all. -No?


Didn't want to upset anybody.

TIM: But I think people wanted to see results in certain areas.

Especially, proving that the game was going to feel Psychonautical,

feel like a good follow-up to Psychonauts.

The biggest and most exciting thing that we are going to undertake

is the narrative pilot.

ZAK: Whoo-oo.

Don't do that.


So, that's where the things like the narrative pilot came from.

It's, like, a lot of that stuff--

when you play the game...

...that's what seems missing.

It's all the characters, and story, and stuff.

All right, Tim said he was going to make it.

-But I guess he is not? -He is on his way.

He is going to do a lot of writing and it's going to be amazing.

-Uh, okay, so... -ZACH: Do we have his live location?

Narrative pilot!

Anything else-- anything else people think strongly needs to be included?


ZAK: Oh, subtitles! Oh! Good one, yeah!

All right!

Um, do we have what we need for that?

-Nope. -[LAUGHTER]

ZAK: All right.

Let's put it on there as a stretch goal as we'll try to get to it.

-SAMMY: Cool. -ZAK: For sure.

ZAK: Yes, I think that's probably going to--

the interesting object stuff is probably going to come as part of the second pass

where we play through it and would be like:

"Hey, Raz should say a thing about this funny sign."

-ZAK: Or whatever. -SETH: Yeah.

ZAK: Big log, purple bushes.

Big log. That's pretty funny.


ZACH: (Squirrels!)

We've got squirrels!


-BRIAN: We've got squirrels! -And goats.

We've got goats!

Uh, and they can be in the diner.

And we got a squirrel milking a goat.

ZAK: Squirrel milking a goat?

Oh, that's a surprise! Sorry!

That was going to be a surprise for Zak later.

(A goat milking a squirrel.)



TIM: But I've never felt worried about that stuff going in.

Because that's--

There's going to be way too much of that stuff by the time we are done.

There's going to be way too many jokes.

We are going to have to cut jokes by the time it's done.

And cut characters and stuff.

ZAK: Anything else that you think is super important that is--

like, should be included with the pilot that we haven't talked about.

Well, I had some thoughts I was just going to mention them too.

They're not implementation specific, but I was like...

A character changes some b-line plot or feeling during the thing, you know?

-Like, we actually show someone-- -ZAK: Some progression.

Some progression or a character state

to show, like, all these tools add up to, like--

And go! And break!

JAMES: Yeah, for sure, yeah.

Because we've been told a bunch by the old-timers here that, like:

"When Tim writes stuff, it's going to change the level, and...

you are going to have to--

and you are going to want to make design changes

based on the stuff he comes up with."

Which is great!

Because that's the thing we all want the game to do right now,

is to feel more like Psychonauts.


Oh-ho! Look at that!

That is super awesome and a good video game!


CARYL: I don't know, we have another, uh...

programmer starting on Psychonauts, also named Anna.

Apparently we always have to have a programmer named Anna.

Yep, Newton's third law of Anna's.


new Anna is going to take old Anna's job.


TIM: Often when someone starts here at the company,

we ask them some questions in front of everybody

in case someone wasn't there during the interview,

and doesn't know anything about you.

James, you are looking at me. Do you have a question for Anna?

Yes, go ahead.

If you were a character in the movie The Lake House...

...what would you send through the time-traveling mail box?


I was just gonna give you one of these.

So, just put that under your shirt.


ZAK: And combat is sort of, uh...

in an in-between state right now for sure.

Like, there is some really good infrastructure

and some good content, but we haven't had the chance to sort of polish it.

Like, the most specific thing--

PAUL: How do you feel like you've been meshing

with the culture of the studio in general?

Like, is this place that different from other game studios you've been at?

ANNA: It's a lot friendlier environment.

Uh, I'm-- you know, I come from Chicago.

Which... is--

especially the programming is very bro-ey there.

So, it's very competitive with programmers.

But here...

Aaron, our graphics engineer--

I'll ask him a math question, and he is like: "I don't know."

And he is perfectly fine with saying I don't know.


I like that?

It's not-- it's more of a collaborative-- we help each other.


we are okay saying that?


that's taken a little while to get used to.

Also, this noise gets a little--


BRIAN: And so, like, things have been sort of accelerating since then.

Which is great, and I think--

I think Anna was a great hire.

And I'm glad she is with us.


ZAK: Oh, man!

SCOTT: That's just the judge, like, really judging you.


-SCOTT: Yeah. -ADAM: "Stupid."

ZAK: The giant hammer that says stupid on it is so harsh.

SCOTT: You have a judgment-- Everyone has kind of a judgy side,

No one likes to be judged.

So, this is, like, your inner judge.

-ZAK: Yeah, yeah, yeah. -ZACH: Giant gavel.

ZAK: So, Dwayne is--

So, Dwayne is, like, a big, defensive, kind of strongman character

that has this giant shield.

And the shield blocks all your attacks.

Oh, it seems like this character should go with this prototype that we have.


CLAM: We working to swap the old guy with the new guy,

so that all the-- all the animations work.

And, uh, his animations are slowly being replaced.


-But! -Brutal.

CLAM: But we are slowly swapping them out.

And soon all those weird deformed ones will be replaced.

And we are replacing some of the attacks.

But this was the quickest way to get them up and running.

ZAK: The judge, ladies and gentlemen!



Yeah, if there are any big ticket items that are going in today...

-Hi, Tim. -TIM: Hi!

Anything exciting happened?

SETH: We got dialogue trees in!


SETH: So, I will say the one thing that's interesting

about Tim working in his office all the time is...

I thought that going through this

I would get some sort of sense of his process

and how he, like, actually thinks about this stuff.

It's not like he has, like, a...

a bunch of note files on Google Docs

where he, like, hashes out what characters should be like.

And, you know...

Or that we have, like, character bios or things like that.

Like, all that kind of stuff--

like a lot of it is just very internal.

His process is not, like, evident in real world artifacts.

And so, like, I've picked up on little bits.

But, like, how he actually writes? I don't know.

Because I've never seen him actually writing.

-It could go either direction. -What are you doing?

Like what are those objects?

So, these are going to become the poles.

Um, so...

TIM: So, they are going to be, like, big poles laying flat on the ground

that you TK up in the air like that? Or...

Okay, this is--

And, like, we'll actually look at the game.

I'm like: "This is the situation.

This is where the characters are going to be."

And that kind of stuff. And he writes to that.

Yeah, I guess I would need to know exactly-- exactly what you are doing,

so that Raz or Dion can talk about it, like:

"You need to put that thing in the base."

-And you immediately-- you know? -Yep.

SETH: I don't know if it's a process of, like...

me having learned how he writes a little bit,

him having gained some sort of confidence

that, like, I've thought things through a little bit before talking.

Or just, like, the sheer amount of stuff that we need to get done that he is like:

"All right, you know what?

If designers figured this out, I'm going to go with it."

Well, that's, like...

He implanted that version of himself.

That's, like, an automaton.

ZAK: That's the-- yeah, we can--

SETH: I mean, the tricky thing with Tim is, like...

the version that he just, like, spouts out instantly

is almost always, like... good.

He is just... a very, like, fast creative,

uh, in a lot of ways.

TIM: The goat should have job.

Like, he's got a spoon in his mouth and he is trying to stir a bowl.

-He is, like, splashing around. -[KEE LAUGHS]

TIM: She's like: "No! I told you! Figure eights! Figure eights!"

ZACH: I was going to add some gesture animations.

TIM: It's fun working with Seth, and...

It's that kind of, um...

...development that I--

you know, you miss when things are really well-organized.

That just kind of like:

"What can we do? What can we get done in two weeks?

Let's put this in, and let's put that in!"

And you are just seeing what-- how much you can accomplish in two weeks.

SAM: No, because I asked for acorns that were crushed.

Didn't I? DIDN'T I, FUR--




Raz-- Raz has crashed the scene right now.


So, I gotta go figure out what's going on there.

But regardless, we can now do camera cuts,

we have dialogue in...

TIM: You start-- people start believing it.

I mean, obviously... hopefully, most people always believed in it.

But you start seeing evidence of, like:

"Oh, yeah, I start really feeling like this is going to be great."


ZAK: Oh, you've got a Bertha bomb and then he turned back into a Censor.

-Oh! -Nice!

WILL: Okay!

Well, he's gone now.

-What's going on here? -Oh, what?!

Unintentional, but good.

-ZAK: All right. -WILL: Yep.

Will, you looked like you had fun almost.

-I almost had fun. -Almost had fun?

ZAK: Do you also want to take a five minute nap?

Is everyone just going to sit here in complete silence for a little bit?



They can get some good shots of us, like:

"Oh my god, they work so hard!"


ASIF: And then the thing pops out.


ASIF: Got one of those hospital beds.

Comes in, and then, you are, like, actually in a classroom.

-Cool! -And some other stuff.

-So, that's where it's at. -That's pretty interesting.

ASIF: And then I'll keep doing the other stuff.

SETH: Cool.

I think it does really isolate it

and make it feel kind of like the very beginning-- tutorials,

when Ford gives you a merit badge in the first game


JEREMY: He's been great so far!

Like, on the puzzle pilot it was awesome working with him.

And it was really cool.

And, like, the puzzles were really smart.

ASIF: Uh, yeah. And this sort of just keeps going.

And there is more buttons to press and puzzles to solve.

But I don't want to do it all in front of you guys right now,

because I do want to test this with some of you, so.

Uh, hopefully you will figure out what to do next.

How far does it go?

Look, it just keeps going, and going, and going, and going.

ASIF: Yeah, there is stuff to do.

Asif made Psychonauts 3, uh, in this room.

TUCKER: It's a Mega Man level!

JEREMY: But then it turned out to be such a cool puzzle experience

or, like, a little area or whatever.

It was cool.

The exploration one...

...was nuts.

We feel more confident that it's, like, a cool level,

a cool little area to play.

JAMES: It's also nice to see an area get...

more towards finished,

so that the people who normally play the game and are like:

"It's nonsense to me right now."

...can actually give useful feedback.

MATT: Looks like...

Okay! I get the hospital theme now.

I saw the IV racks and didn't--

didn't quite make the connection.

I saw the, um, wheelchairs and just thought, like:

"Oh, old people casinos."


But now I see hospital beds.

So, okay.

Yeah, I don't know.

I don't know if we've completely solved it.

Because I don't think, like, a lot of people understood

it was a hospital.

I don't know. Maybe it's enough, maybe it's not yet.

I don't know.

Maybe we get feedback and, like, maybe we'll adjust it then.

ZAK: Uh, yeah, we are still working away, um, on our different pilot areas,

and gameplay, and art.

And so, the art one is starting to look very, very pretty, uh, and quite nice.

It's the big Ford clerk one.

It has a giant, robotic, multi-armed Ford in the middle,

sorting mail and moving around.


LISETTE: I think the art pilot was, like, a really good moment where we were, like:

"Yep, this is going to look pretty goddamn awesome, if we can finish it."


JEREMY: If it has more of a sheen and, like, wetness in areas.

And, yeah, right now it's very-- very even and flat.

Also just thinking about effects around, like, all these joints moving around.


I don't know if it's smoke, or steam, or sparks,

or whatever it needs to be.


JEREMY: It's very fun.

-This is too cool! -Yeah.

-Too cool! -This is fun.

-Anyway, yeah, I had to share that. -Exciting!

Because it's the first time I saw it, it went in yesterday.

Looks good!

ZAK: Tazio is also bringing special effects magic to it.

Um, with the maelstrom.


TAZIO: I mean, it mostly speaks for itself.

It's a big maelstrom of mail.



GABE: It felt near Alpha quality.

That robot looked really cool.

Materials were awesome, effects were awesome.

And then, it felt like a lot of floating platforms,

which is always tricky.

Small floating platforms specifically.


TIM: I think it's a natural time in the project

to have moral kind of pick up,

because you are in that middle part where everything's bad,

game is not fun, and everything is ugly.

That's just a natural--

that's just where you are, you know, pre-Alpha a lot of times.

And then, you just start climbing out of that hole.

You put together your first few fun things,

and your first good-looking things, and we have, like...

You know, mail clerk Ford started to look good, and people were like:

"Oh, maybe this game is going to be looking good!"

And then we did the Questionable Area

which has some funny jokes in there, and people were like:

"Maybe there'll be some funny jokes in here."




DONATELLA: Oooh! Cretino!


FRAZIE: You guys!

RAY: Okay, so I-- So, yeah--

-RAY: So, the end I'm not finished with. -Yay!

But I want a little shot at the end where--

I can't believe that works!

I wrote that to be impossible!

-Okay. -[LAUGHTER]

I'm like: "This will slow him down!"

RAY: Anyway, we haven't done the review with it yet.

And Tim-- this is the first time Tim is seeing it, so.

I love it! No, it's good, ship it!

It just feels like a Psychonauts game.

It's really cool to see.

But a game that's for this next generation.

It's-- it's great. I think it's neat.

-TIM: Awesome. -Cool.

-All right. -Awesome.

The QA area?

I think that's pretty cool!

Like, with the family camp area.

It's not all there, but just talking to the family members

and, like, interacting with them was really cool.

It's kind of just, like, an area you can explore and, like...

You kind of feel like you are in that world.

That's kind of, like, what this is, like, working towards.

All right, we are going to start. I think you were the fastest, Emily.

-EMILY: Okay! -All right.


But I mean that in a good way!

I mean that in a very good way!


Uh, it is-- so...

I will say-- I'm sure I've already said it,

but, like...'s really good?

It's really g-- Like, it's really funny.

It's really charming, it's really well-paced out, it's dense.

There is, like, lots of good writing in it.

All the characters are adorable.

So, like, it totally does feel like a Psychonauts game.

So, that's great.

-Yes. -ZAK: Yay!

ZAK: Yay, us! Yay, team! Go, team!

-ZAK: Making a good video game. -[CLAPPING]


JEREMY: Uh-oh, shit!

PAUL: Oh, god!

Shit! I don't even know where it is now.



Oh, well.

We'll get it later.

We'll get it later.

Skip up to: site menu or main content