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I Want More of That

A wave of new hires changes the team dynamics at Double Fine and generates fresh ideas for Psychonauts 2.

Published: January 20th 2023

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Episode Transcript

Why is this in here? I'm throwing this away.

Does somebody else want this?

There is a pack of Sun-Maid sour lemon-flavored golden raisins

that has been sitting there all week.

Malic acid, dried orange peel, sulfur dioxide.

Seems great.



ZAK: Uh, happy Frida-a-ay!


ZAK: Helmut's brain. It's like: "Does it make sense?"

Do you see a path for it to be a good Psychonauts mental world?

JAMES: There is pretty consistent complaints

that the game is not Psychonautical enough right now.

ZAK: It has all kinds of crazy water gameplay,

uh, that needs a little bit more time to bake.

JAMES: Stress has been rollercoaster.

ZAK: ...process on the team, and how we work together.

You are the flight attendant on this puzzle pilot?

...uh, in what we are calling currently Pilot Areas.

JEREMY: The pilots were cool, because...

Like, we saw progress.

ZAK: Go, team! Making a good video game!


ANDY: All right who wants to start--

Who wants to do this meeting, so we can be not in this meeting?

This is-- Hey, this is a great, wonderful meeting.

This is the meeting we all get to come together...

-...after a sprint. -This is the fun meeting.

It's, like, the one meeting I'm actually, like, totally cool with.

Look, Aaron said he is totally cool with this meeting.

-It's a nice happy meeting. -Oh, well, as long as Aaron is...

It's a nice, happy meeting where we all get to show our work,

and how much the video game has improved,

and we love it.

Um, so...

Without further ado.

So, we are done with pilots.


All right.

Um, I heard Devin say playing it the other day

that the things in the game that were bad are not that bad anymore.

-It was really high praise. -[CLAPPING]

Which is it's-- it's-- art things everywhere.

ZAK: Would you say it's 200% better than the last sprint or 300% better?

-Um... -ANDY: I need those metrics.


AMY: So, I think, I'm even more excited

that post-pilot is to bring all of these sectors together

into that true vertical slice.


TIM: Like, the things you have to achieve to be a level in Psychonauts is, like,

all this good platforming and stuff, but also, like,

try and make it something people haven't seen in a game before.

Have it completely tell somebody's emotional journey in the landscape.

You know, have it feel right narratively.

Have it really be surprising and fresh.

It's a lot of pressure to be original in a level.

PAUL: Do you find yourself trying to explain this to James

every time you see him in the hallway?

Why do you think-- Why James?

We are also re-kicking off the Bob Z and Helmut levels this sprint.

Um, with some new level teams.

Basically, the way that, uh...

The Helmut one?

I mean, I literally have to step back and say: "You can do it."

It's not like I have a choice.

Were you involved in the first pass on the Helmut stuff?

Yeah, that was so long ago!

That was such a-- that was, like, the first thing we worked on, I think.

ZAK: Aw-w!

There it is! There it is.

JAMES: Wait, go back, there is a little-- Sad little message there.

AARON: Look up.

-[LAUGHTER] -Aw-w.

PAUL: And that was, like, the viking opera style?

JEREMY: Yeah...


James worked on it first, and they...

-PAUL: That was James' very first level. -It was.

And that was a lot to ask.

ZAK: We put James far out of his depth in those levels,

um, as a person who never really built levels before.

I don't think I appreciated...

how hard that was going to be.

I mean, I think even people who have made tons of levels before

and are veteran game designers, or level designers, or level artists...

Like, Psychonauts brain levels are incredibly hard.

And making the first one in that position,

I think, was a 100% not...

a fair mission to send him on.


Well, this was his first time designing these kind of levels.

You know, he was our junior, um...

level designer.

And put into a weird position of, like, doing a process we haven't done before,

project leader we haven't had before, um...

and really put on the spot, because, you know,

some of the first levels we ever reviewed were his.

And you have a lot of people in the room.

KRISTEN: Hey! You just missed--

Welcome back party for me!

Hello. Thank you.

TIM: And, I think, he's actually been pretty resilient

for someone who was put under that kind of pressure, you know.


I probably would have ran out of the room in tears.


ZAK: First, he is a brain without a body.

So, when you encounter Helmut--

Does everybody know the background of that?

When you encounter Helmut, you are trying to get a brain

to go into Nick's body.

So that you can get Nick to let you in the mail room.

JOSH: It is kind of a shame though,

because I played through the old content,

and I actually really enjoyed it quite a lot, so.

It has, like, good stuff in there.


PAUL: Did you talk to James at all about what the level used to be

and the direction it was going in

just to sort of get his thoughts and feedback on it?

JOSH: No, he was-- he was pretty cool about it.

We talked a little bit about what worked, what didn't.

I'm like: "Okay, we can do it, like, a bunch of different ways."

ZAK: I think some of the mistakes were from, um...

just it being the first one of those things that we built,

and not knowing what the hell we were doing.

Uh, and not knowing...

how much direction to give a team

versus, um... white space.

And I think I really erred on the side of giving a lot of white space.

There was a lo-o-ot of things to figure out.

Um, and I think, you know, what we learned from there,

and what I learned from there,

is, like, the amount of direction that is needed upfront

to be more successful.

So, um...

We are going to be getting Peter Chan.

-Good news, bad-- -SETH: Oh, yeah, no, I heard about that.

Good news, bad news.

Good news, Peter Chan is going to come on board for one last, uh...

ANDY: ...hurrah. -Whoo!

And he is going to basically run concept for, like, two to three weeks.

ZAK: All right! So, um...

Couple things we are trying to do with level kick-offs now

is to be a little bit more clear about kind of the high-level creative promises

and direction that we are hoping the team kind of delivers on.

Of, like, what is the stuff that is kind of the creative--

a challenge for you all to figure out.

Helmut is, at least as we discussed,

there is a pitch for it that is somewhat specific in here.

Um, I don't think it's a 100% yet.

It's kind of hot off the presses.

I think the biggest thing-- like, we kind of understand

what Helmut's problem is, and the structure.

Uh, but in terms of, like, where you are and the setting of the level,

it's something that-- there is a proposal in here,

open to other ideas,

but we also have to, like, have a two-week concept period

where we figure that thing out,

figure out something we all love and move on.


And this is sort of the actual pitch that we have on the table right now.

Inside Helmut's mind is some sort of outdoor music festival or amphitheater

and you need to sort of move between the different places where the senses are,

who literally are, like, surreal, crazy noses, and eyeballs,

and hand people or whatever.

Um, and convince each of them to work with you,

to work with each other again to put on this show.

EMILY: It wasn't so much...

It was, uh...

more concept than art.

Yeah, um, it was a Peter Chan concept.

And then, also, uh... just some narrative direction

um, you know, from Tim and Zak.

TIM: We, you know, messed around with, like, what are the senses like.

Like, talked about a little bit, like...

It's, yeah, like a prog rock band.

Like Emerson, Lake & Palmer have broken up.

But also a little bit like Seven Samurai or Magnificent Seven.

Like, you are getting this band back together,

and you have to go find each one, and:

"No, the nose-- no one has seen him in years!"

And, like...

Um, kind of recruiting them all.

Convincing them all to join the cause again.

"Remember that first practice we had in my basement?"

And they are like: "Yeah, when it was about the music, man!"


There is the high-level thing of, like, getting the band back together.

It just-- just kind of made it easier.

You are figuring out your iconic Helmut view?

ZAK: Um, visual...

We had talked a lot about trying to go down--

because it is overwhelming,

um, kind of, like, the Peter Max, Yellow Submarine,

overwhelming, surreal visuals.

Because it does feel like this is a level about...

someone who is overwhelmed by sense information

they don't really know how to deal with,

there would be...

something kind of overwhelming about the visuals of the level as well.

EMILY: Peter Chan showed a bunch of the Yellow Submarine stuff.

And, um, that was kind of a natural, like, fit with that.

And I just sort of took that and ran with it.

EMILY: Oh, no, I have a question regarding Compton.

Because I know, like, Compton and Helmut had sort of similar, like...

general ideas about what they were going to look like.

Because, you know, Lisa Frank is very colorful and, like--

Are we-- are we still doing that is what I'm wondering.

TIM: Luckily, Compton is completely in turnaround at this point, right?

Is, like, is he--

-I don't think we-- -ZAK: We don't know what--

We don't know what Compton is going to be like.

RYAN: This has a strong visual direction with the Peter Max style influence

that seems interesting, right?

And Compton is kind of... yeah, not on the table right now, so.

ZAK: Yeah, yeah, but, but...

If we did this as, like, Yellow Submarine,

we probably also would not do, uh...

-ZAK: ...Lisa Frank. -EMILY: Okay.

-EMILY: That's totally fine! -We could Lisa Frank elements in this one.

You know what I mean? Like, if they seem so close,

they seem like they would absorb each other.

PAUL: You had wanted to do a level based on...

-Lisa Frank! -PAUL: Lisa Frank, yeah.

EMILY: Yeah, in the beginning I brought up Lisa Frank to Peter Chan

and all the other artists.

And Peter was like: "Oh my gosh, I've never seen this before!"

And it was... pretty funny.

JAMES: Listen, Helmut is still going to be gay.

And that is the most important thing is that we still--

I snuck in my gay agenda into this video game.

JOSH: So, he went on to do Bob Z

which is a brain and a character that's kind of in tandem with Helmut.

Um, and then, Bob Z was, like,

a huge nightmare disaster where nothing worked,

so we are rebooting that.

JEREMY: Oh, yeah, the bonsai tree.

-PAUL: The bonsai tree. -JEREMY: Oh my god, yeah.

-JEREMY: That one. -PAUL: Yeah.

PAUL: You did a lot of work on the bonsai tree, right?

JEREMY: Ugh, it was, like, all placeholder.

It was kind of gross.

It just didn't look or come out well, I think.

TAZIO: I was-- Peter taught me when I was at university.

I, like, really looked up to him and his stuff.

And, yeah, I remember, like, when we were working on the bonsai tree...

for-- for Bob Z.

He, like-- he came over.

And I was just showing-- showed him the whitebox.

And I just, like...

I just remember the expression on his face

which was just, like, kind of blank.

It was like: "What is this?"

Geoff, someone deleted Bob Z.

GEOFF: Okay.


There were a lot of things that went wrong with Bob Z that were...


...somewhat hard to pinpoint.

Um, there was, like, visual things we just should have caught earlier.

Like, a bonsai tree and, like, porcelain houses just, like...

didn't make sense or work together.

It was just, like, a bonkers combination of ideas.

Like, it's just impossible to sell.

TIM: You know, it used to be a...

a village in a bottle,

and then a bonsai tree,

and then all these different things.

And, I think, that's-- that's kind of...

how these game are made.

And by these games, I mean Psychonauts games.

ZAK: Okay! Bob Re-kick-off!

He is back!

He is tan, he is rested, he is ready.

He is ready to be an exciting video game...

It's a level about a drunk guy.


The main thing is he is sort of self-medicating.

He's had a really hard life.

He has lost a lot.

And that loss has led him to sort of withdraw from people,

um, and to self-medicate and withdraw into himself,

and sort of gradually break connections with all of his loved ones.

Uh, but: "Hey, Raz, if you want to try, sure, go ahead."

And so, Raz gets the ability to travel the world.

As you sail around, the camera pulls out,

and it becomes clear that you are on a tiny, little ball of water

with only one island, um... in it.

And you can kind of go around the whole thing.

Like a Little Prince kind of dealio.

And eventually you find a cork of some kind, at the top a bottle,

and you can TK it off, and you go inside.

JAMES: And you can go in the bottle.

And the bottle is this whole little world.

Aw-w, I like it, so good!

Okay! Keep going!


ZAK: Um, inside the bottle is a little mini-world

that represents sort of a cast off or painful memory of some loved one of Bob

that he sort of corked up and cast off and gotten out of his life

and is no longer thinking about, and it's thrown out into the sea.

Um, and from the gameplay--

You are on a boat. You are on a tiny planet.

And there is all kinds of weird water state stuff.

GEOFF: I think the water manipulation stuff

worries me a little bit.

Like, it feels like we are doing two things that are, like, cool,

that are unique to this level.

It's, like, a boat and the water manipulation, and...

Except in the bottles we are not doing the boat,

so in the bottles there is nothing cool,

if you don't have the water manipulation.

I mean, there is no currently a cool idea in the bottle.

Except for: "It looks cool to be in a bottle."

Like, that feels like a big thing to take on.

But if you treat as, like, a dynamic object thing

where you can, like, pull away blobs of water

and do some sort of thing with them, roll it somewhere,

I don't know, like TK it around and splash it into stuff.

Like, that seems like we already kind of have some of the tech in place

to do that without it being, like, a major...

flooded / not flooded ice zone.

Now it's water zone kind of thing.


TIM: And... it's hard, because sometimes I'm just sitting there

quietly in the meetings, because I'm thinking, like:

"I'm just waiting to be blown away by some idea."

And that's--

You don't want to be that jerk who is kind of like:

"Mm, I haven't seen anything I like yet."

You know, like--

But sometimes that is the way you are feeling about the level, you know?

I feel like maybe we didn't effectively...

...postmortem the first failure.

Because we have the same water thing that we had last time

that really tripped us up.

And I still don't know what to do with it.

JEREMY: In our kick-off meeting we talked a lot about, like,

water and water interaction.

Which is just sort of hard to do with Raz,

when there's been such, like...

-Right. -Yeah.

We go down that rabbit hole, we are looking at months of R&D.

Uh, the team!

That's you, people.

That's you, folks. That's you, fine folks.

Um, so, yeah.

Jeremy and James.

And then, Gianna will be joining next week

and jump right into it.

JAMES: We are also getting a new concept artist

who is going to be working with us on Bob Z, I think,

which is very exciting.

TIM: I did not mention this maybe before,

but, by the way, we film a lot of stuff here at the company.


GIGI: Yeah, I worked at Harmonix for about six years.

And, uh, yeah.

And you worked with Zak at Harmonix?

GIGI: I did, for, like, a second.

But we didn't really cross paths.

ZAK: We didn't work on a project together.

GIGI: Yeah. I looked at--

I looked at him. I saw him.


TIM: I do every day.

We all gaze.

We all gaze at Zak whether we work with him or not.

GIGI: Yeah.

I'm doing it right now.


GIGI: So, I've always loved games.


That's where me and my father got to curse at each other a lot.

One day when we were playing-- we were playing GoldenEye,

and I killed him, he was like:

-"You *** piece of ***!" -[LAUGHTER]


I always tell everyone about her.

I'm like: "We hired this chick from Philly

and she'll be like: 'Shit!'

and f-bombs, and she's so loud, you can hear her across the studio."


EMILY: Yeah, there is--

There is a lot more women.


Faith is our new animator.


TIM: Welcome, Janice Bell!

Welcome to Double Fine Productions! Please, stand up! Please, stand up!


-I gotta shake your hand. -Hello!

I haven't even talked to you yet.

-Hello! Welcome to the company. -[LAUGHTER]

It's really nice to meet you.

The bathroom is a lot more crowded.

I'm really sad about this.

I'm, like, happy that there is more women.

I'm like: "Yeah, women game developers! That's awesome!"


I like having a bathroom too.

Women take longer in the bathroom.

PAUL: Con and pro.

GIGI: But when I learned about Double Fine--

was in college when someone, uh, showed me Grim Fandango.

I was like: "This is cool!

I like this."

And then, from there it was like: "Oh, yeah, cool! They have cool stories.

And, like, fun art style.

And it's, like, silly.

And not, like, a serious man that needs to shoot everybody.



James, I'm sorry, there's already been-- too many questions asked.

Whisper what is the question.

It's about self-driving cars.


Yeah, I think we are good.

Yeah, I think we are good, okay.

All right.

TIM: Psychonauts hired a lot of people.

And so, there is a whole new generation of people

that are new to the company.

And they are so, uh, enthusiastic.

I'm, like, really, really excited to be here.

Full Throttle was, like, my jam growing up.

I played that game, like, a million times.

Day of the Tentacle? Iconic stuff for me.


TIM: Uh, and Joshua, and Jerry, and Faith.

It's great to have a mix of people who have been here since the 1800s

and then there is brand new people like Gigi.

You have to display it on your desk.

It's, like, a thing.

I was the last new person, so now you...

TIM: And then I see my stupid picture on their desk.

It's so embarrassing.

This was given to Tucker... when he first came on.

So, since then it's been going to all the new people.

GIGI: Yeah, all right.

That's-- that is what has happened.

GIGI: He is so pretty!

You know, when you look into his eyes,

it's just, like...

SETH: You can optionally add--

TIM: And they are going to think I did that.

They'll be like: "Yeah, Tim started this weird tradition

where they put his face on their desks."

-It's not me. -PAUL: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

TIM: It was obviously a fan. A fan of mine.

It's going to be great. Thank you!

-An honor. -Yep, it's official now.

How else is the rest of the game right now?

Is it-- is it super, like, funny and--

-I don't think we even know. -Okay.


Like, the only level that's farthest along is Cassie

and there is very little story represented in there.

Which one's Cassie?

-JAMES: Books. -Books.

I want to talk about also the water mechanics.

Because we'll be-- we'll be discussing that Tuesday, right?

-Yes. -Okay.

If we don't walk out of that meeting on Tuesday with, like:

"This is what we are going to make our level out of."

I'm going to flip out.

GIGI: This is probably too crazy, but the--

So, he is near water.

And then, the water actually turns into a...

...a person.

And he is like: "Ah-h-h!"


I'm so stupid!


And he is like: "Ah-h-h! I like you!"

And he is like: "Oh, be my friend!"


Saggy tits.

JAMES: Yeah, maybe it's--

I feel like we are going to have a good presentation on Tuesday.


EMILY: And then...

"Can you help me find my guitar?"

And you go into this weird trippy world,

and there is towers,

and the Mote came with you, and he teaches you Time Bubble.

And you climb to the top of the tower to get the sweet guitar.

And Raz plays the guitar, it goes:


And we, uh, wipe.

And he is like: "Thanks, man!"


And the Mote sort of freaks out a little bit.


And he's got eye balls.

And he is like: "Whoa-ow! What happened?"

"Uh, I guess we need to find the rest of your band!"

"To the van!"




LISETTE: Emily in particular on that level,

she'll do a ton of explorations,

and then, you know when you know.

It's, like-- it just hits. Everybody was like: "Yep, that's it!"

Um, and we have those moments here.

It's, like, you'll do some exploration.

And then, somebody will be like: "Yep, that's it. That's the right call."

Emily was really awesome at helping us put together those pitches,

um, and visualizing what the level is actually going to be like.

Including the entire, like, arc of the narrative within our brain.


EMILY: And you open this map.

And you, like, zoom in.


ZAK: Oh, so you play on the map?

-Maybe. -That sounds great!

-Okay! -I love it!

PAUL: ...for the first time on this project.


That warms my heart.

I'm glad, I'm glad! That's what I want!

That's what I want in this game.

I want emotion, and story, and feelings,

and all that, like, touchy-feely stuff.

I don't--

(I don't care about the jumping as much.)

I just want-- I just want a good story!

And, like, weirdness, and to be surprised.

That's what I want in this game.

ZAK: The original idea was

that Helmut's level was going to be a musical level,

so that's something that had already been talked about.

And in fact, there had been talk at various points

about having Jack Black play Helmut.

-Wha-a-t?! Cool. -Oh!

-That'd be cool. -ZAK: Yeah.

ZAK: Because it seems like this is leading up to a musical number.

And there would need to be a song at the end.

Um, so...

I'm curious how they would use all these instruments in a song.

PAUL: How are you doing, Jeremy?

I'm doing good.

-PAUL: Doing good? -Yeah.

Just working on Helmut right now.

It's going well.


EMILY: Mm-hmm.

He is so chill right now.


He got out--

He got out of that Helmut meeting--


That one time we were, like-- we did the, like:

"This is what we are going to do. This is the structure."

And everyone's like: "Yeah, cool."

And he was so amazed!

He was like:

"It went... well."


"What's going on?!"

You learn all the secrets.

Are you still going to be friends with everyone after the doc?

PAUL: We'll be friends with you.

Okay, good.


JEREMY: Thankfully, uh, it was such a strong direction.

And, like, Emily kind of had a really good idea of what to make, so.

Um, whatever she made was, like-- it fit really well, so.

I just kind of built off that.

It kind of worked out.

ZAK: Whoa-ow!

JEREMY: So, yeah.

We are going to try to do this, in a couple different ways.

Um, and then, Tazio did this with mesh.

And it's kind of another way to do it.

So, it's, like, a 3D thing that does it.

I had already talked to Tazio too, and he is going to--

He is actually making this so that the silhouette maintains its shape,

so that you don't get that, like, shrinking feeling to the end of it.

Mm-hmm, okay.

Yeah, he was working on some scripts, so we can start testing it at some point.

He is kind of busy with a bunch of stuff.

TAZIO: We could set it up in such a way that we have interior lines and texture,

and then just-- just do the exterior lines.

JEREMY: You just kind of double the Geo, and then set the normals to be reversed.

And that's how the outline shows up, but...

Yeah, I don't know.

But yeah, like, the stuff Tazio is doing is great.

Like, there is a lot of Tazio shit in here that is making my life a lot easier.

Have you guys talked to Tazio yet?


About him being the only VFX artist for a while.

Uh, Jeremy Mitchell is going to be leaving Double Fine.

It is with sadness that I have to state this.

To be going elsewhere.

I don't even know, you'll have to ask Jeremy.

I don't even know if you want to share that.

None of my business.

ANDY: Yeah.

The beard stays.

We are going to take the beard,

and we are going to staple it to the back wall.

GEOFF: No, no, you would put it on the next FX artist.

ANDY: Oh, yeah!


Um, so, Tazio is in for a lot of work when he gets back on Monday.


I'm-- I-- I don't know what to say.

Yeah, I think you should just pick his brain,

and then see if anything, like, triggers--

Certainly by next week.

-TAZIO: Yeah, okay, cool. -LISETTE: Okay.

Yeah, just-- yeah, keep me updated, and all that stuff.


I didn't actually.

I was like: [SCREAMING]

TAZIO: Yeah, just-- It's a bummer, you know.

It's been-- it's been really nice.

Just, like, for me learning a lot about game effects,

just having Jeremy was just, like,

you know, from my perspective pretty fucking irreplaceable, so.

It's fine, we'll figure it out.

But, yeah, the upside is the Houdini license is all mine!



WILL: I think it's definitely overwhelming.

That's understandable.

Um, VFX artists are hard to find.

But I think he is up to the challenge.

And he accepts that it's an opportunity to grow...

I'm fine, I'm fine.

WILL: ...and become better.



Does Tim know...

-He was hugging a large doll. -GIGI: Yeah.

JEREMY: That might take a while.

ZAK: I can understand.

-ZAK: I can understand. -JAMES: Should we reschedule?



Are there things that are a surprise for Tim here?

Uh, well, we were going to show the mechanic.

-Okay. -Which he seemed at least sold on.

-I was keeping that warm for you. -Thank you!

JAMES: Our mechanic that we talked about last week.

Um, air plants.



JAMES: So...

"Oh, I found a fruit!"

ZAK: All right, you've got a crazy plant!

TIM: It's a Japanese watermelon!

JAMES: It's a multicolored, cool looking strawberry.

"Oh, no, water."

-It's water! You can't go in the water! -Why does he always forget that?

But what if I could?


-TIM: Shh! Shh-h-h-h! -JAMES: Goddammit, Andy!

-JAMES: I would say it's an evolution. -TIM: It's under your control now.

It's an evolution of something we introduced

as a concept in Psychonauts 1.

That was a harsh one from Andy.

What happens at the end?

You just have a little narrative thing at the end?

Or there is a--

So, you chase after this plant that has taken your mom.

But as you get smaller and smaller you end up in a sink,

and then the sink is that--

(Dirty dishes level.)

Dirty dishes level.

TIM: Remember we wanted to do a dirty dishes level?

Tim, how are you feeling?

-You look very thoughtful. -How am I feeling?

How am I feeling?

Aside from this meeting, how are you feeling?

-Are you excited about the level? -Are you excited about the level?

-I'm very excited about the level. -Me too then.

I like the effect of that, um... that little plant going through--

I mean, I'd love to-- you know,

I always love to see, like, an example puzzle

to, like, prove out that you can do something cool with it, you know.

Placing it places to solve puzzles.

And you are putting it on a moving platform where you are doing--

you know, PSI Blasting it.

I don't know, you are doing things with it to use it as a tool.

I think that's the cool part of it.

JAMES: Cool.

Okay, I have to sneak off to another meeting.

-All right, have fun at it. -You guys can hang out, but I gotta--

(Okay, bye.)

Uh, yeah, when we did the new, um...



Did Tim seem excited?

-GEOFF: Yeah! -JAMES: Okay.

I find Tim very hard to read now.

He-- he seemed sleepy.

PAUL: How is it presenting to Zak and Tim?

And getting feedback from them?

Uh, it's a weird meeting.

JAMES: Like, if the thing is let's say a piece of fruit,

and the solutions work around that fruit, is that okay?

You know, like, if you are in Helmut and--

ZAK: I'm not an approving body here.

-It's gonna work or not work for the game. -Sure, sure.

People are going to play it and buy it, and it's going to, like--

They'll understand it or they won't.

This isn't a matter of that I personally give a thumbs up or thumbs down.


GIGI: It's, like, a little bit of pressure, you know?

And you don't know, like, what to expect.

I wish that there was a little more, um...


Like, hard decisions.

There's been a little bit of, like:

"Well, who decides if Bob's-- if this should be..."

You know, whatever, like...

...a door, like we were talking about the other day, like...

...if it's a door.

JEREMY: The kind of sled dog, um...

the fish pulling the door along.

-Which is also pretty fun. -Because you could have multiple fish.


The boat is a door.

We decided that two weeks ago, and now we are bringing up the door again.

Yeah, I was going to say.

Does anybody not want to do the door?

-The door boat? -Yeah.

LISETTE: I think the door functioned as a way

to justify why doesn't Bob just get on the boat by himself?

No, I know. And it's also cute.

But I also don't know that it needs justification.

Like, Bob probably just doesn't want to go find these memories?

So, I don't know that, like, we have to do the door thing to explain that.

GIGI: And it's like: "Why-- wait, what's happening?

Who-- why can't-- who made the decision?"

I think if you guys are still excited

about it being a door, it should be a door.

-And you should do that. -Yeah, I think so.

It just is...

I, yeah-- I think it should be a door, because it's cool.

GIGI: "I'll make the decision! It's a fucking door!"

You know, whatever, but, like...

You know, so there is a lot of, like,

that kind of nebulous stuff going around.

You are in, like, a clearing of a field or something

with some trees and, yeah, that kind of-- that--

That is very different.

-Yeah, we are not gonna have -We are not having trees.

JEREMY: Yeah, it's supposed to be dead, kind of dry--

RYAN: Okay.

GIGI: It's going to be, like, close to this concept.

ZAK: Okay!

GIGI: Shit! I probably shouldn't have said that.


ASIF: What happened to the potted plant idea?

I don't know, there is a potted plant, I guess?

But also, sometimes you can't pick it up.

So, sometimes it's not a potted plant, I guess?

I mean, can the same plant just be rooted in the ground when it's stationary

and then when you play it, you can move it,

or in a pot, I mean.

Yeah, I guess so.

JOSH: Almost every time you go in, there is--

you are kind of, like, giving a little bit of a pitch.

Um, so, you have to have, like a structure to that pitch to show them:

"Here is where we started with the idea.

We rolled with it. This is where we are going."

JOSH: It worked on my machine.

ZAK: Oh! Good save.

JOSH: There we go.

JOSH: And then, Time Bubble itself is a power that, um...

we are still kind of exploring the uses for it.

JOSH: I figured here is where you have this kind of, like, river going

where there is some, like, fish that are jumping out,

and they are actually H poles.

So, what you have to do is Time Bubble them

while they are in the air,

or at least one of them while they are in the air,

so you can jump across the path.

JOSH: My philosophy on learning in general is...

You know, we are all kind of standing on the shoulders of giants, right?

We do kind of try to follow the Zelda rule,

or, you know, the Nintendo rule, I guess it is, which is like:

"Teach it in a safe place where the player can't fail.

And then make them use it to progress out of that space."

JOSH: And it pulls you out into this trippy world out here.

And you find out that you've been in a vault the whole time.

JOSH: I try to base a lot of my design and layouts in the real world,

because the more connections you can make to the real world

the less you have to suspend disbelief.

And, like, you say: "Oh, yeah, that makes sense."


And, you know, especially through the greyboxing stages,

like, the ideas are a little bit more nebulous,

and so, it's really helpful to have a strong, kind of, idea.

JOSH: So, currently I have the nose breathing.

It's breathing you in, and...


...and then it takes a second, and then it breathes you out.

-Okay! -JEREMY: Cool.

JOSH: Anyway! So, the idea is it pulls you in, it pulls you out.

-[RYAN SNEEZES] -Gesundheit! Exactly!

So, um...

JEREMY: Josh... is different.

It's a lot easier working with Josh, I guess, because...

he is, like, more open to feedback and changing things, I guess?

Like, Jeremy and Emily helped me quite a lot,

um, kind of, like, fit into the role.

Being a new person at the studio, they also helped me understand

the process that we go through.

Which I understand is kind of unique per brain.

Similar to how each brain is unique.

Um, because they each have unique needs.

Uh, and the...

I guess, like, kind of the ideas and talents that are on each brain team,

uh, each level team,

uh, kind of shape that brain, right?

And so, I think we have, like, a really strong, like...

I guess just, like, collaborative effort here.

It's great! That's awesome!

GIGI: "Maybe... out there?"

So, you have your quest now.

You gotta go retrieve the memories.

You grab the door,

use it as a boat,

you sail off.


As you are sailing off...


[GIGI CHUCKLES] and birds that have, like, beer bottle stuff,

with those plastic rings, will come up and--

and talk to you to tell you more.

Uh, these are, like, good moments to have stories here.

You get to your first bottle and you go in,

and you are greeted into a beer bog is kind of what we've been calling it.

I like all of those things that I saw in that.

Like, all of those little details and stuff were really awesome.

I thought that was really nice.


I love the little fish with the rings, and the little tiny island,

and the martini glasses, and the, uh...

Beer bog.

...and the door boat, I think, is interesting.

TIM: And then, Gigi is one of our newest people.

And just seeing her storyboards come out, and it's just that, um...

That little touch of, like...

You know Bob is--

Or Raz is on the little door on the ocean,

and a little fish comes up to talk to him,

but the fish has a little, like--

uh, a six pack ring around its neck, and it's just like:

"Oh, a little..."

Didn't have to draw that little six pack ring, but she did.

And that's what means so much to me.


TIM: I feel like that's the same way the player feels, like:

"Oh, they didn't have to do that.

That's so nice they did that."

GIGI: Okay.


Move over, Silence of the Lambs.


EMILY: I don't know, Gigi hit the ground running.

She is doing real well.


She is a very positive and fun, and...

just that energy of, like: "Yeah, let's do this!"

I want more of that!


-JEREMY: Hey, Tazio. -TAZIO: Hey.

I got you a present,

because I'm leaving tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my last day.



Here you go.

Oh, shit, dude!

-Yeah, this seems appropriate. -[JEREMY LAUGHS]

I thought you were going to cut off the beard and leave it at the studio.



I think it's on backward.

-This is going really well. -[LAUGHTER]

Put that on your head.

I think it's made for smaller... heads.

TAZIO: I mean, I have a-- I have a giant skull, you know.


I feel beautiful.


All my shader development is going to go way easier now.


-JEREMY: No. -This is perfect.

I think the tiny arms is better.

Yeah, I agree.

JEREMY: The massive arms...

creates that feeling of this little thing that wisps around.

Because it doesn't do melee attacks, it doesn't punch you.

-CLAM: Yeah, it doesn't -ZACH: That's true.

CLAM: We definitely want it to float.

ZACH: I like these barely there arms.


It's like that one shrine quest where you are bringing the bubble

all the way out the long twisty island in Breath of the Wild.

JAMES: You guys are saying this doesn't look fun.

-JAMES: Man! -Roger Ebert was right is what...

...we are starting to feel.



LISETTE: In that hallway we gotta be careful

about you being able to see the seeds, because there are definitely areas

and the camera where you can't see where it is.

TIM: I like how these are developing. Yeah, it's neat.

What just happened?

GIGI: Neat.

-GIGI: Wha-a-at! -TIM: Wha-a-at!

TIM: Oh, man!

ZAK: Did it just blow your mind? Did your mind get blown?

TIM: A little bit! A chunk of my brain just got blown off.

TIM: And then, just recently I went to a level review for Bob Z,

and they have that water-repelling thing growing in the level.

And I was like: "This seems really neat!

This is really, um...

This is going to be a lot of fun."

And so, it was nice to be able to feel that way about that level after the...

two years of...

of, uh...


...reviewing that.

But, uh-- but, yeah, the bubble going by at the other angle...

I was kind of like:

"Oh, I think the bubble is actually a red herring almost in a way."

TIM: I mean, is it good confusing? Or bad confusing?

Like, I liked that it was, like, getting really weird.

I liked it as getting really weird too.

All I'm saying it's cool sometimes

when the water is being a different gravity than you.

Then why can't other things like pendulums and stuff be--

Because there is two different gravities happening at the same time.

Do you think it would fix it to just make everything crazy, and then...

I was hoping this was progressing to a world where you are just, like...

almost, like, a crazy Venn diagram of bubbles

where you have no idea what's going on,

and you are really confused, and you are like: "What the?!"

I don't know.

That's cool. Now you are totally upside-down.


All right, anyway.

-All right, great. -JEREMY: (Start the music!)

JEREMY: Start the music.

I'm going to head out.

I got stuff to do.

-Thanks, Tim. -TIM: Bye!

["Tijuana Taxi" by Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass starts playing]




JEREMY: And the concept now is a lot cooler, I think.

And that bubble mechanic looks awesome.

And, like, I think it's in a good place.

And then, like, hopefully this cool Compton thing works out too.

ZAK: Okay, this is where it gets crazy.


Uh, so, Compton has been, like, on the back-burner for a long time.

We haven't kicked off, we didn't know what we were going to do.

We've been talking and talking about what we are going to do for it.


And the idea came up of, like:

"Wait a minute. We had already sort of built,

like, a whole crazy level using Psychonauts gameplay.

And it was really cool, and everybody really liked it.

And it's just sort of sitting around.

So, the idea now is to actually take the Gods Must Be Hungry as a core concept.

Where you are, like, jumping around

in this giant, sort of, kitchen environment

and building a super-sized meal for some sort of angry thing.

Um, and that's going to be the base of the Compton level.

So, uh...

So, we are going to have Asif,

because that was his Amnesia Fortnight level-- uh, or project.

Um, he is going to work on that with Will and Emily.

Um, and so that will be an exciting part of our video game now.

Which is going to be cool.

-[EMILY CLAPS] -ZAK: So, yay!



...powerful and cool, so.

This is-- this is good.

I like-- I like this direction a lot.

Let's try something else now!


That's good, I like it. I think it's going to be good.

GIGI: Yeah.

What if he is not an alcoholic.

What if he is a chocoholic.

-Yeah, everything is chocolate. -GIGI: Yay!

Note from the publisher: "That's a little heavy, you guys.

What about making him a chocoholic?"

What about making him a chocoholic?"

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