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A Different Beast

Tim steps up his involvement after some high profile exits from the studio, bringing major changes to the project.

Published: January 20th 2023

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Episode Transcript

TIM: But we have some of it on film.

Maybe, no, well-- Yeah, Paul grabbed some stuff.

Oh, he is still alive! Look at him! Paul.


The whole time Paul was hiding in the camera.

In the corner, in the camera.

He was hiding in the camera!

Yeah, you should have seen him! It was very imp--

I was telling the story about how we, uh...

There was a documentary crew for Microsoft that was filming their story to E3

which is just for internal use, which is interesting.

And they got yelled at and kicked out of the room.

And Paul did not, because no one could see him.


He was just so... stealth!

So stealth the whole time. It was very impressive!

What's that?

I think! Yeah, he was wearing all camo! He was just covered in--

JP: Ghillie suit.

SPAFF: People just believe he is allowed to exist.

Like, the same thing happened with Geoff Keighley and Jack Black.

They were like: "You are not filming here!"

And I was like: "Yes, he is."

And they are: "Oh, okay!"



JEREMY: 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

there was a hospital.

JAMES: There is pretty consistent complaints

that the game is not Psychonautical enough right now.

Zak McClendon is no longer the project leader of Psychonauts.

It's just a new ball game.

TIM: No, I mean, I'm not the project leader.

But I am a lot more creatively involved.

And it's nice. It's nice to work with the team again.

And they seem happier.

ANDY: I do want Ryan on there.

The question is, like, with his leave being what it is right now.

TIM: We are getting acquired.

We are getting bought by Microsoft.

JACK: Did Bill Gates wine and dine ya?

TIM: Welcome to our demo!

This is so amazing! This is such a huge thing!

GREG: Hi, Spaff!

-GREG: How's it going? -SPAFF: Hello!

-GREG: You want to dance tonight? -SPAFF: Yeah, of course!

-GREG: You want to go swim today? -SPAFF: Yeah, fuck, yeah!


Hello, everybody! Hello! Nice to see you all!

How is it going?

Moira, everybody! Moira.

-Yeah! -Come look at her, yep!

Uh, it's good to see you all.

We are back from E3.

We had a super exciting E3.

I want to thank everyone who came down there.

We had a big crew of Double Finers down there working the booth.

It was very heroic.

A team effort. People were swapping in giving demos.

Seeing people actually in there smiling, laughing, and enjoying the demo.

That was super fun! I wish you all could have seen it.

Well, no, we went through some--

you know, we went through some dramatic staffing changes before E3.

And, um...

...kind of rebuilding the team after that and keeping everyone excited,

especially when the project has been going on for three years...

is always a challenge.

And there was-- there was-- there was a--

It was fun, it was fun.


All the Xbox studios seemed very excited to have us join them

and working alongside them.

Because we obviously make it a lot cooler than it was before.

-[LAUGHTER] -So that was appreciated.

What else happened in the world of business last week?

Uh, so, we got paid by Microsoft, which is exciting.


So, we are not getting paid for any acquisition-related things.

We are being paid because they bought up the publishing rights.

So, they bought out Starbreeze.


That's Starbreeze hitting the--


Being thrown to the curb, hitting the curb out there.


But they are taking our publisher contract and they paid out--

They paid out all the remaining Starbreeze money at once?

-Yeah. -That's how they like to do stuff!


I like them already!

They are like: "What do we owe you? Let's pay it all!"


So, that was nice. So, that's good.

And then, we are kicking off due diligence stuff now.

TIM: It's mostly about ownership and lawsuits.

GREG: Yep, so, today we get the big list

of all the docs we have to pull together and everything.

And then we have calls with them.

It's all going to ramp up quick.

All the other studio heads talked to us about how intense this process is.

And how we are going to have crazy two-three months here.

You know, it's not a done deal still.

Like, we have months of due diligence still.

Months more of people coming down and visiting,

and looking at all of our stuff.


And so there is going to be kind of ongoing negotiations and things still.

Um, so we are not really totally certain how everything is going to shake out.

And then, ultimately, I think, it's going to mean,

you know, better salaries, and bonuses,

and benefits for everyone within the studio.

Um, and it's stuff we can't, like, totally commit to,

because it's all part of the negotiation still.

But, uh...

It sounds like everything will at least stay the same, if not get better.

TIM: Everything is the same!

-Nothing is going to change. -Yep.

-Onto the next thing! -Yep.


Uh, let's talk about Psychonauts 2!

Hi! What's going on over there in the corner?

Well, we did E3! That's done!

We got our E3 demo.

Thanks to everybody who worked on that.


PAUL: What was the feeling? What was the vibe post-E3?

So, we've been through a few different phases now.

So, we, um...

...changed the team configuration.

There was an aversion on the team to a really strong top-down management...

that we had before.

So, we took that away.

And they had a feeling that they would rather be

on their own for a little while.

So I didn't just step in as, like, project leader right away.

Uh, and the team has self-organized right away

and they were very motivated,

and they started working on Loboto's level which was going to be our E3 demo.

Uh, and they did a great job on that.

And, um...

Then I felt like I wanted to get a little more involved.

Because I felt like that natural momentum

from being on their own for the first time was going to die down,

and they sort of would want someone to help them make

creative decisions quickly on the rest of these levels.


I thought...

GEOFF: (What are we waiting for?)

-Uh... -CAMDEN: Are we waiting for Ryan?

I was waiting for Ryan, but is he not coming?

KEE: There he is! I think that's Ryan.

-Ryan! -Hey!

I am very sorry.

There is a chair over here, Ryan.

TIM: Uh, I wanted to start coming to these meetings,

if it's okay with you all, if you guys don't mind.

Because I've been getting more involved in the project

and injecting myself ad hoc

wherever I see people vulnerable to input.


From a really high level I wanted to say

something about the state of the project and where we are at.


In that our, um...

Our situation has changed a little bit.

We have been acquired.

I'm pretending-- I feel like the documentary

is going to feel like that's the moment I announced it.


"Everybody, we have been acquired."

We have a new situation, uh... financially,

which is good.

Which, um...

doesn't mean we now have infinite time to get the game made.

We still want to get the game, uh, ship next year,

because we put that in the trailer.

But also, I think, we don't want to work on the game forever.

We think there is a right-- there is a right time to work on it,

and the right amount of time to put into it.

But I definitely feel like it changes

the number one priority of our conversation from time to quality.

I just want to take a moment, and look at the game,

and look at each level as we come up to it,

in a holistic way, and be like:

"Are we hitting our goals with this level?

Is this level Psychonautical?

Is it good? Do we love it? Is it great?"

You know? And I think that's going to bring up the things of, like:

"Well, you know...

we might need to change this thing."

And I'm definitely not trying to reboot every level.

Like, we've been looking at the different levels,

they all need something different.

So, we need to be-- have everyone--

I don't want to be causing any panic attacks.

So I think we all need to get on board with the still compressed schedule.

Andy, obviously, you still care about the schedule, right?

Of course. Always.

But it's not a-- It's not the same panic of, like:

"We have too much stuff to get done in too short of time."

It's like: "What is the right--

What is the right amount of work to do for the rest of this game?

And what--

What do we really want to focus our creative energy on?"


RYAN: Obviously, coming back as--

Seeing the way that they had shifted,

and seeing the way things have changed, and the--

sort of some of the differences that people were doing in terms of work,

um, was...

you know, obviously, something to get used to.

But it wasn't wholly unexpected from me.

PAUL: You had paternity leave?

I was on paternity leave for a little while, yeah.

It was amazing!

It was incredibly hard! Probably the hardest thing I've ever done.

But it was also incredibly rewarding.

So that was awesome. And I'm super happy I got to do that!

Thank you, Double Fine.

LISETTE: If I was going to break out the team structure from before to after...

Before Alpha it was pretty heavily design-driven.

Um, and then the artists and the concept artists

would kind of react to what design was coming up with.

Um, and then after Alpha...

RYAN: I want to, um...

LISETTE: ...this kind of went to a more of a-- kind of...

hub... setup.

RYAN: I need to ask. Can I interrupt real quick?

-Yes. -I need to ask about that.

Because I don't--

Like, I can see how that's the perception,

but I don't know if I agree that that's the actual reality of what happened.

TIM: Like, a--

I don't know if that... diagram holds up.

I mean, I would say...

That's not Loboto, right? On the left?

No, this is...

TIM: I mean, I feel like this is a lot--

what I saw with, like, the early Bob Z ones.

I mean, I think it was all on James to come up with stuff.

And then Jeremy and Levi would sit in the meeting and be like:

"Okay, okay, okay. I'll try and work with that."

I agree with that, but that is-- that's one case.

-RYAN: Right? -Yep.

-The structure was intended to be this. -Yes.

But because of... dynamics,

and... team structure,

and... former leadership,

the perception was more like this.

RYAN: I found out because Caryl called me on Friday night.


She was trying to get a hold of me, and...

which I appreciate, um...

because, yeah, that's the right thing to do.

PAUL: Was that a... well, shock?


Yeah, it was for me.


Yeah, it was definitely hard for me

for quite a long time to, like...

deal with that.


I can't imagine anybody in my position would have had an easier time.


Yeah, I talked to a lot of people about it, like, at the leadership level.


I... listened to what they said.


Ultimately, I, personally, don't know

if the situation was handled in the best manner.

I understand why everything was done.

Maybe that's ultimately how it had to happen anyway.

But, yeah, I don't know.

Thinking about it a little bit more,

I'm... not sure it's something I feel super comfortable talking about.


Because we-- yeah, I mean, I consider Zak a friend.

And also understand a lot of, you know, people's criticism

of working under him on the project.

Even though I wasn't personally in the same position,

um, and didn't necessarily see those interactions in that way...

I can't tell them they are wrong.


RYAN: I want to make sure that there is just a good iterative process,

where each person is bringing their skillset to bear

in terms of getting that actual stuff in 3D.

I mean, there is definitely been confusion in the past

of who gets final say in that process.

-Yes. -TIM: Or does anyone get final say?

Or, like-- I guess the fact that someone would ask:

"Who gets final say?"

means they are not working well together.


Because, normally, you would be like:

"We want to make sure everyone is happy with what we are doing."

Yeah, I think that's a good point.

TIM: Yeah, I mean, we have--

I would say... the biggest company value

I always talk to everyone, even during interviews,

job interviews, I say: "It's really important to me

at Double Fine that we have mutual respect for each other."

Because... previous jobs I've had--

You see a lot of rifts.

Like, there was a rift between the artists and the programmers on the past projects.

Because they were in different buildings, you know.

And, um...

And I've seen a lot of, like, territorialism among disciplines.

And I wanted to have it be that the programmers felt lucky

to be working with artists of this caliber.

And the artists felt lucky to be working with the audio department.

And the audio department-- you know, and they respected the designers.

And everyone had a lot of mutual respect.

I feel like we really achieved that as a company here.

And I felt like there were some...


negative relationships that were set up at the beginning of this project.

Some-- some negative, uh... interactions

that were just kind of festering.

But, like, for instance-- like, if you look in Ford right now,

all the buildings are, like, perfectly square lined up.

And, like, they totally don't need to be.

Um, just, like, little things like that.

But there is-- there is an interesting perspective.

That's someone from design saying: "Why didn't art move these buildings?"

In a way.

Which is, like, I feel like art is kind of, like--

not understanding, or not knowing that they can move the buildings or what--

I want to make-- I want to draw a really quick distinction.

Because I hear why you would think that's what it sounds like.

But I really wish that's what not what it sounded like.

TIM: It's kind of, like, Double Fine as a collaborative entity.

Like, just teaching people to talk about creative stuff, and give feedback,

and to receive feedback, I think, is an important thing.

A lot of people can't... take feedback.

And I think just learning how to, like, just talk openly and politely,

and, you know, respectfully, but honestly about the game's state all together,

and reminding everyone that everyone has a say in the game that we are making

was always why we-- we did it in the past.

And a lot of people don't realize how they feel about something

until they hear other people talking about it too sometimes, which is helpful.

So I feel like you could have both options open to people.

NAOKO: Well, the forms are anonymous.

And that's to encourage people...

to share their opinions freely.

And I think that's good and bad.

I think it's good that people can be honest,

if they like they can't be honest in this meeting.

But I think it's also, like...

why should we have to be anonymous to be honest with each other

about how the game's state is. You know, like, why can't we--

-Because I'll come after you. -[LAUGHTER]

And ask you: "Why?"

Like, and the thing is, like, Tim wants people to be happy.


more than everyone.

This place from what I've heard...

is-- just always been, like, a very happy place,

a really cool place.

And it still is!

But some people aren't happy.

And if they aren't happy, I'm going to figure out why,

and what we can do.

I mean, it's fine if they smoke or vape, and they'll come outside with me.

But, like, nobody smokes here!

I found this-- I found this in Tim's office.

NAOKO: Tim hates that I smoke.

And I'm just like: "You know that I have some gossip

that you don't know about, because I do.

MONICA: You are trying to document her smoking?

PAUL: Yeah.

NAOKO: He is just like:

"Naoko, that's not why I want you to smoke."

And I'm like: "No, I get it!"

But... I don't know. He hates smoking so much!


Which is fair! Which is fair!


I feel like we should be able to talk

about things we like and don't like in the game

without worrying about... hurting each other's feelings.

Like, learning to talk about it that's not, like... you know:

"I'm not saying you are a bad artist. I'm saying, like, this--

I couldn't see this thing, because it wasn't bright enough."

Like, why can't we--

Do we need to be anonymous to get those things out?

-Has that ever happened to you, Brian? -[LAUGHTER]

Uh, but I think there are still hard feelings.

I think a lot of people have their defenses up.

A lot of people are really--

A lot of people who feel like their, um...

their areas of ownership and responsibility on the project

had been trotted on, you know--

they had been trespassed upon,

and so they put these big, big walls up to make sure that doesn't happen again.

But in a project where things are functioning really well,

you don't need those big-- you know, razor wire over every wall.

You know, you can, like, you know,

be more relaxed about that.

And I think trying to get the team into that more relaxed state

where people are feeling good about...

you know, collaborating across walls, and getting along.

It's very hard not to take your art or your passion personally.

And I know-- I'm sure everybody in this room...

has struggled with that at some time,

especially early on in our careers and stuff, but...

But part of being in a profession like this is--

is learning not to take it personally.

So, if somebody doesn't like my art...

Okay, that used to make me literally cry.

MOIRA: We need to be able to communicate with each other

in an effective way.

And that was something that was seriously lacking under Zak.

Because nobody felt comfortable doing it.

"You can't-- No, you can't criticize design.

If you criticize design, you are criticizing Zak,

and therefore everything is just shut down."

Each discipline is equally important in making a game.

And I feel that he put a lot more emphasis on design than anybody else.

And then, questioned everything that we did,

instead of supporting,

or guiding.

Yeah, because I've had managers who said: "That looks like shit."

And that was their entire feedback.

And that's not helpful, you know?

LISETTE: I'm sorry.


We are learning, we are all learning.

And she chose to give you that feedback right here.

MOIRA: I love working with you.

RYAN: I mean, there are-- I don't know, there are probably...

numerous things that I would go back and do differently.

And-- and hopefully do better.


We just-- we played through the game last Tuesday as a Leads group.

And we were able to just look at a ton of stuff in context.

Um, and see...

the shape of the game, you know, as a whole.


That looks-- makes me feel weird.


RYAN: And, yeah, just doing that, I was like:

"Wow, if I was solving this particular creative problem again,

I would not have chosen to do that."


So, I think there is a lot of--

I think there is a lot of aspects of the game

now, looking back, we would do differently.

Doesn't mean what's there is necessarily bad.

It just means what, you know--

The solution for fixing going forward is, like:

"Do we want to make what's there better?

Or do we want to, like, change it? Or..."


Just for the record, I'm totally lost right now.

ZACH: Go to the classroom.

TIM: I know, but where was the class? I don't remember where it was.

Letting you know that the Leads-- we played through the whole game...


...on Tuesday.

-And we didn't fight once. -We didn't fight once.

-It was pretty amazing. -Yep.

The point of this was for the Leads to kind of look at what's next, and...

expectations of time that we want to spend per level as we move forward.

And so when we looked at all of them, we were able to kind of rank them

on the scale of one to five.

One being: "That level doesn't need too much work."

And five being: [ANDY MAKES NOISES]

Hollis would be a five for example.

Half of it. Parts of it are not--

ANDY: Four point five.

Solid four!

ANDY: Solid fo-- eh.

You guys say whatever you want to say.

-That's fine. -[LAUGHTER]

And there is work going on to try to figure all this out.

Um, other news.

Some of you have already heard,

Ryan will be leaving Double Fine.

His last day is going to be next Friday.

Um, he will be missed.


I don't know if you have anything to add to that.

TIM: Speech!

I'm assuming up to now

in the documentary,

it would be obvious to viewers

that it has not been the easiest project on Earth.


Have I been doing what I necessarily want to be doing?

Not all the time.

I would have enjoyed being a little more hands-on.

And so, yeah, it never really felt like...

I got to jump onto anything

and to, like, really sink my teeth into.

And something that my wife and I had been talking about,

especially now that we have a son,

is wanting to live closer to family.

So, there is another opportunity that came up

that, uh... gives us a chance to do that.

And so...

I don't know, kind of...

everything being considered all together,

for me right now that felt like it was the best--

the best thing to do.




ANDY: Thank you, Ryan.



So, you know, in terms of, like,

what that position is going to shake out to,

and what-- what the leadership thing-- we are still working that out,

how the level design team will kind of shape out, so.

RYAN: Yeah! Yeah, absolutely, yeah.

I will miss you, guys.

Like you asked earlier, but, you know, I'll miss working on Psychonauts too.

Like, it's-- it's a cool project.

For all of its difficulties, um...

there is a lot of really neat things there.

And the team is doing some really, really cool stuff.

And I will absolutely miss that.

There is definitely a sense of regret for the things that I won't be here for.


And I feel a little of that already.

But I'm also...

I'm pretty sure the team is going to do some amazing things, so.

I'm excited about it too.



PAUL: Do you feel like Ryan leaving--

Was that just--

-No. -PAUL: Was it inevitable?

I don't think it was inevitable in that it was a choice.

He could have been like: "Well, there is a-- there is a vacuum.

And I could step into it, or I could step away from it."

And he chose to step away from it.

And I'm kind of stepping into it.

Zak's whole thing was puzzle churches.

And I don't think those are very Psychonauts.

Play that card. Play the Z card.

Because my biggest experience with hospitals,

and I've been in them a lot in the last few months...

Play that card too.


TIM: That's when we started Hollis, right?

PAUL: Yeah...

And Hollis... is a little bit of a problem child.

I don't know if you know this.

I don't know what it is. There is some--

Something is going on.

TIM: The thing that I am most concerned about the level is...

Are we living up to, like, the central premise of:

"Here is this hospital that's been creepily infested with Vegas."

Like, this area is supposed to be about, like, the Hippocratic oath,

and, like, dedication to patients and health.

It's been, you know, corrupted

to be, like, rolling dice with people's lives, and stuff like that.

And just having that-- that imagery feel wrong in the space.

And it feel like you are in this hospital... is somewhat--

It has not yet-- I think it's not yet been paid off in the level.

And, um...


And I think-- because that's the high concept of the level,

that's something we really have to hit over and over again, and strengthen it.

And... I inserted myself most heavily into the Hollis level.

Because there were these parts of the old level

that I felt weren't really living up to the potential of it.

It felt like it was... all in a big shoe box.

And it didn't look like a mental world to me.

I want no environment to look like a box,

ever, in the world.

No more boxes.

No more shoe boxes.

-Rhombuses. -All rhombuses.

Yeah, from now on. That's a secret shape.

Tim wanted concept art to sort of reinvent Hollis,

sort of give some-- some shape of the room,

some new ideas.

Shake it up, shake it up a little bit.

Uh, yeah, I was just thinking about how the levels went on the first game

once we had our groove down kind of, and how people handed--

they didn't really hand things off,

because they overlapped a lot from one discipline to another.

But there was an area for everyone to collaborate.

But not all collaborate all at once,

but to collaborate in their areas.

When the concept art was kind of free to go wild with concept art,

and then have it kind of, you know, then pulled into a game flow by design,

and then the gameplay programmers and the world builders worked together

to, like, make the actual level out of that.

And so, I wanted to grab

some of the concept artists and just pull them into a room,

and just come up with new crazy ideas of what the level could look like.

Um, but I didn't really communicate that that well to anybody.

Because I was still kind of trying to be stealth in coming in there,

and it was a really bad idea.

And, um, they had self-organized

into having different leadership for different levels.

And they-- Geoff was in charge of the Hollis team.

And I didn't know that.

This is what I get for coming in from more on the outside.

I was like: "Why does Geoff like to stand

by the whiteboard during all the meetings?"


-EMILY: But, I mean, we can repurpose-- -That's what I'm talking about.

EMILY: But we can repurpose that stuff for other storylines.

AMY: We could literally just look at all the assets,

look at what we want to keep, look at how much we don't want to make,

and say: "What do we want to make with all of this stuff?"


I think is what James wants--


JAMES: And I'm just trying to do it like Loboto.

Which is, like, a series of--

Like, every moment in Loboto is a big interesting moment.

Yeah, but before we did any of that,

we figured out what the structure of the space was.

And then we talked about

what was going to happen between those locations.

Which we are not. We are skipping over all of that.

Which is...

maybe a little frustrating for me,

because we are not doing this like we did Loboto.

The way we are approaching Hollis is completely different.

This was a different beast though.

EMILY: I think for Loboto...

Geoff was the best for-- for the situation and the circumstances.

And I don't know if it fits perfectly on top of the Hollis method.

AMY: Whatever weird process we created for Loboto,

while it was functional in some ways,

it's not necessarily the process that Tim has used for the project either.

So, we went from Zak regime to chaos.

And now Tim is coming in.

And while I think that's a good thing overall, it also means:

"Okay. Well, now things are going to change completely again."

Not to mention, this is a team that Zak built.

PAUL: Mm-hmm.

And he is gone.

So whatever intention he had... is completely changing.

And there is a lot of tension... about:

"Should concept artists be creating the beats?

Should it be level designers?

Should programmers be involved in any of these meetings?"



Tensions are high.

And emotions are high.

If we want to do it like Loboto...

that wasn't part of Loboto.

Like, it wasn't like this.

-Wait, I'm going to stop. -No, but it wasn't like...

I want to stop all this talking right now.

Because I feel like we were kind of on the plan that, I think, will lead to--

We don't need nitpick any future stuff right now.

I think the next step is for Gigi and myself

to start doing some concepts of these things mixed with gambling.

Yeah, and then we can talk about laying the quest stuff on there,

and if we come to things in the quest flow that we don't like anymore,

or it don't fit anymore, we can throw them out.

But that's the-- that's a future problem

that we don't need to litigate at this moment.

That's a great word to throw out in a meeting

if you want to shut people up, by the way.


Right? I don't want to litigate this right now.


We'll be all right. We'll talk.




-Are you-- are you upset about this? -No!

EMILY: And so, Gigi and myself...

uh, went and drew...

blue sky stuff.

And it had to be... hospital, and it had to be casino.

And those two had to marry together.


And we did...

a shit ton of concept art.

-GIGI: It's a box. Oh, no, it's a box. -EMILY: Oh, no!

-GIGI: Oh, no, it's a box! -EMILY: Oh, no!

-GIGI: It's in a box! -It's in a box.

It's in a box.

It's a box!

I need to go to Vegas.

Why am I even here?

You don't need to go to Vegas, you are fine.

No, I know, but I need to--

Like, I just need to experience it once, so I'm like: "Okay."

Wait, wait, wait. Can I have your wallet?

All right, here you go.


Well, what about Maternity Roulette?

What about Pillchinko?

What about Heart Racing?

Like, a thing from a casino, and a thing from a hospital.

And you jam it together.

EMILY: We've been sort of chewing over this level for the past week

and trying to distill what's most important.

And all the interns and Raz go into Hollis' brain.

This is the big thing. This is a big-- big change, I know.

And then, all of a sudden, the Luctopus is introduced early.

And she comes up and is big and scary and menacing.

And the shadow goes over them.

"Oh, no!"

-And grabs... -Mm-hmm.

...them two by two.

So your mission is to go find your friends now.

So you have something to do in there.

We could have the areas that we've already modeled.

And we could put, like, Aaron and Morris in Area 1.

And you could solve a Mental Connection puzzle

or a combat puzzle.

I mean, it does, I think, improve this thing.

-The interns, for sure. -Okay.

I don't see it cutting anything, but it definitely adds to it.


But I mean, like, we wouldn't do the missions

of, like-- doing the High Roller.

TIM: I think you also have to do those.

So, here is why. So, like, I think, um...

The problem is that, I think...

This is really cool for the story path about the interns.

It makes that stuff better.

But it makes the level no longer about Hollis,

and no longer about Hollis' problem.

And it seems that all the biggest quests and stuff in the level

have to be about gambling,

have to be about Hollis and her problem still.

EMILY: But, like, defeating the Luctopus isn't...

-...doing something for Hollis? -It is.

-It is. -Okay.

-Yeah. -Okay.

That's also-- my comment on that boss fight

when you guys first did it is like:

"Why is computers coming in as a theme now?"

-TIM: Or it's medical equipment? -GIGI: It's EKG.

TIM: If it's a piece of medical equipment--

-EMILY: It's an EKG machine. -TIM: Okay.

We got a lot of meetings of you being like:

"Okay, here is the idea, Tim."

EMILY: Mm-hmm.

PAUL: And then him being like: "Hmm."

EMILY: His little-- his little-- his little dance.

His little Tim dance.

His little...


Yes, I know the Tim dance.

The: "I don't want to say I hate it...

but I hate it,

so I'm doing a little dance."

"I can't make this work..." dance

" my brain," you know?


LISETTE: Because right now, I think, there are people

with very different visions of what this level is.

And I think that's-- our biggest problem is

trying to have you guys brainstorm this week,

and everyone having very different ideas about what this level is,

is the core challenge we are going to have when we open this up to the wider team.

ZAHRA: I saw a lot of cool concepts on Friday.

Does it mean you guys just...

...starting over completely? Or...

Yeah, we are pretty much throwing out the Hollis casino

and starting again.

And I don't know how to solve it.

-Like... -Yeah.

Even a pharmacy and a, um...

what are some of the other things we were talking about?

Like, these things are very-- very similar.

ANDY: I was about to say, is the question:

"What's the difference between the pharmacy wing of a hospital

and the cardiac wing of a hospital,

and the maternity wing of a hospital?"

EMILY: Yeah, they are all boxes.

They are all white boxes with different equipment in it?

Well, I'm saying we got all we can from the--

EMILY: And then, like...

Tim wants...

us to have ownership over things,

but he has his own ideas.

So it's sort of like: "Can I-- can I do this?

Can-- is-- Will people get upset if I do this?"

GEOFF: That's why Hollis has been so fucking weird to work on

this last week.

JAMES: It does like Tim is rediscovering

that he doesn't like designers.



Well... I mean, coming up with the core gameplay hook

seems like a designer thing to do.

Seems like an anybody thing to do.

I mean, that's what this teams are about.

AMY: So, there is the whole design team

which under the Zak regime their responsibility was

to decide what this game was and make it.

And everybody else's responsibility was to make tools or art for them.


That was the reality as I saw it.


And the transition from that to a collaborative environment

has been a rough one.


We have, um...

some super nice people who are designers on this team.




taking their level and being like:

"Okay, we are going to work on this level.

We are going to completely recreate it.

And it's going to be a team thing.

And you are no longer in charge of it."

That's gotta be rough.

JOSH: Tim-- I think Tim is just embracing his--

like, now he is the Creative Director also.


AMY: And he is a designer.

He is a game designer.

EMILY: They are-- The designers are orphans.



PAUL: Ryan was the Mom?

EMILY: Ryan was Mom.

Uh, Ryan had to go somewhere else.

EMILY: I really like the X-ray box room.

I really like the idea of going through

and seeing those things come up.

And then having a conversation around there,

I think-- I would want to keep that one.

EMILY: And Ryan was the Lead, and he--

They went to him for one-on-ones.

Or, like: "Hey, this is not working. Can you look at this?"

And... now it's just-- there is--

There is a house with no head right now.

But they often have nominated Lauren

to be their interface with the rest of the--

Like: "You go to the Leads meeting and tell us what happened."

LAUREN: For example, one example that got brought up was,

your, like, stump--

stumps with the pyro, stumps that--

JP: Mm-hmm.

LAUREN: It felt maybe a little-- taken off-guard or something.

JP: Wait, what?

LAUREN: Or, like, Amy got taken off-guard by it maybe?

I think that's what I got.

JP: That's...

She turned it around super quickly--

This is the first I'm hearing about this. So, that's a problem.

Yeah, I hope that that was okay.

Because if it's not, then I have big questions about

how we are expected to-- to work together.

It's weird sometimes, I don't know.

I don't know.

SETH: We are going to start integrating

the engineers a little bit more in conversations, and try to...

TIM: You know, I'm trying to be more helpful to the level designers.

And go to the--

I go to the level design meetings.

And it's actually been great, because I've gotten--

I spent some time with the designers and see--

They are very supportive of each other.

Because, I think, in that time when there was a lot negativity going on,

I think they learned to rely on each other and trust each other.

ASIF: And then the last thing...


I'm playing around with this,

just not always treating these as paths, but treating them as blockers as well,

since we are doing powers now.

So, like, if you have a Mental Connection on one path,

maybe that's preventing you from getting to the next one, and...

Are we ever going to get a presentation on, like, the new Mental Connection,

and what it does and doesn't do, and all that.

Like, is it-- Or did I miss a team meeting?

SETH: Mental Connection has been

such a problem child, I think, for a long time,

that people have just been overly cautious about...

"Roll it out."

GIGI: For me to, like--

And I know you told me not to worry about this, but...

knowing what is happening in those rooms,

you know, I know that we are like: "Okay, it's Maternity Roulette."

And it's like: "Cool."

But knowing how it actually functions helps me create a better room?

But I get stressed, like, saying: "It's Pillchinko!

It's racing!"

And then we don't know what Mental Connection does.

And we haven't tested it out.

Like, all of a sudden I see the mechanic, and the potential for it,

and then I would draw on top of it.

Anyway, yes, I get it.

"Just make a cool room."

LISETTE: Um, so I'll be just doing whatever it takes to support that today.

I think overall we still need a group meeting

around Mental Connection and environments,

because it's blocking work on the minigames,

and how we are actually going to resolve those.

So, we need to get a meeting scheduled for that.

PAUL: The latest thing that's getting overhauled

is the Mental Connection.

And that...

has gone through lots of different iterations.

Mm-hmm. It's still kind of doing that.

ANNA: So, we have enemies on platforms.

TIM: And that instigated a punchy fight?

AMY: Oh, it's going to!

-[TIM CHUCKLES] -ANNA: It carries you.

It never had this one, sort of, statement of what it was supposed to do.


And we have a bunch of, like, conflicting needs for it.

TIM: Um...

And then, the pathfinding, I was a little confused,

because it seemed like you are just following one, like...

I'm not sure what your choices are when you are pathfinding.

Like, are you...

Are you just going from one to one?

Or do you have some choice there?

AMY: So, there are branches.

And you are using a power, and you are aiming it.

So, we are trying to simplify that part of it.

You know, we always get--

It always seemed really cool in the beginning of Psychonauts 1

to have, like, three cantilevers in a row, three H poles in a row, because, like:

"Wow, that's cool that I just moved really fast!"

But really the player didn't really do anything.

They just kind of, like: "Pom, pom, pom."

And-- or rail slides often seem really dynamic and cool,

but then you are like: "I didn't really--"

As a player I just kind of sat there.

So, like-- Like, the Mental Connection thing...

You just made it look easy.

It's really actually challenging for the player to do that?

LISETTE: I think what Tim is asking does make sense.

Because it does feel like you are just following a linear path.

And where is the skill element to it?

And I am-- I am worried about that.

AMY: That was-- oh, man!

That was all part of Hollis.

I feel like every power just reflects...

where the team was at with whatever level they were working on.

So, this is, I think, the first-- biggest challenge

in-- in sort of, like, collaborating with a bunch of different departments.

And I guess Tim is a department...

[CHUCKLES] that description.

To try to deliver something that can please everyone.

I mean, we are going to land on something in the next few weeks.

Something has to-- something has to be decided.

ANDY: So, what do we need to do to decide how to move forward on this?

TIM: Well, I mean...

It feels like it's--

Uh, you know, I think that I like the direction.

I was just bringing up risks.

I feel like that's something I would like to see proved out, you know?

I don't know how--

I don't know what is blocking, like, the mocking up of the--

I guess it's a decision about the design of the octopus

that blocks the actual prototyping of the octopus combat--

AMY: Whether or not you like the idea at all.



ANDY: Great!

...would you be happy with?


Oh, this is-- What are we talking about right now?

I don't know, what can I do?

"Is there anything you'd be happy with creatively, Tim?"

-[LAUGHTER] -"Would you ever approve anything?"


EMILY: Sometimes you get burnt out.

You get burnt out after a while

trying to make the same, like, two things work together.

-I need a new-- -You need new thinking paper?

I need new thinking paper.

Like... I don't know!

ZACH: That was actually super cool.

How you were on top of that tower,

and you jumped off,

and then you picked, like, which way to go,

because there were a bunch of nodes down below you.

TAZIO: So, we'll do something like that, but, like, less shit.

JEREMY: Oh, cool.

LISETTE: I think Hollis is just its own... pain point.

And I think Tim trying to use the process of Psychonauts 1 with you guys

without fully understanding the process that got us here

is where we kind of hit a big road block.

GIGI: Okay.

LISETTE: And I think a lot of these last few weeks

is actually Tim figuring out: "What-- what is the process we've used?"

And how does that meld with what he has in his head that worked before?

You got Hollis'd!

-I got Hollis'd! -[GIGI LAUGHS]

LISETTE: Everybody who has worked on this level...

comes out stressed on the other side.

Slap! You got Hollis'd!


Probably going to be one of our best levels.

GIGI: Probably.

It better be!


GEOFF: This one ended up being good,

because you still need to deflect the stick

to connect to the next one, but not by much.


GEOFF: And also, if you miss, it's actually really easy to fall.

-[AMY LAUGHS] -Oh, shit!

-That's super cool! -That's pretty fun, you guys.

-Oh my god! -ZACH: Like, we need more of that.

ZACH: Somehow.

GEOFF: Like, falling and then catching yourself,

it is super fun!

There could be some cool speedrun strats in here.

It's actually pretty cool if you have to, for some of them, jump out.

Like, a leap of faith kind of thing.

And then you shoot it out!

We put a figment somewhere or something that says that you can do this.

"You can do this!"

I don't think it was on purpose,

but, like, the way the camera sort of bounces...

-That is very much on purpose. -No, it is very much on purpose.

It's great! It helps a lot.

AARON: I've got a little bit of anticipation

and a little bit of bounce when you, like, get in there.

And it's supposed to feel real stretchy as you are flying along,

because it makes you feel fast.

GEOFF: Yeah, that was--

Really enjoyable was actually falling and catching myself.


-I don't know why it's so fun, but it is. -It's so satisfying!

Because it's-- I don't know! It's really fun!

GEOFF: Let's just change it back to what it was before.


It sounds like people are a lot more excited about it now.

-Yeah. -Yeah, now-- well, yeah.

I can see, like, now where it's--

where now, like--

places that a challenge could appear that would make complete sense

and it's, like, there is more than enough options

for how to accomplish that.

So, it seems like it's got a really good skeleton now.

EMILY: Like, see--

See, we have, like, this already going on up here.

-GEOFF: Yeah, yeah. -Yeah!

Because we are not necessarily going with this,

we are just, like, coming up with a whole bunch of concepts, but--

but I can see that in here already!

-It's done! -GEOFF: Yeah, no, yeah.


LISETTE: All right, let's roll.

Holy moly!

Here is some art.

LISETTE: These ladies have been doing a lot of art!

We are at what? Sixty drawings for the third version?

More. More!

LISETTE: We are at what? Sixty?

-Really like seventy something. -LISETTE: Seventy.

ANDY: But who is counting?

LISETTE: All right!

...the exterior of her hospital.

And she is the hospital.

Um, the idea is that she is so consumed with her work

that she is now becoming her work.

So, when you first see her in her mental world,

you see her as the hospital.

Um, and then you enter the ER.

And the ER is a relative gravity space inside of a pill bottle.

So it's important for those windows to be, like, orange,

or to have, like, a glass entrance, so that we can get

that sense of being inside of a pill bottle when you are in there.

And where does Raz-- where does the player stand?

Are they down-- where is the player?

Like, to see-- to see him,

it seems like you have to be up there, maybe hopping on the beds?

Like, you are hopping from gurney to gurney,

stepping on the patients, and just...

LISETTE: We did like the idea of jumping around on beds,

and it would be interesting to bring that back.

GIGI: Yeah.

And we don't even have to make it all logically work, right?

This is just like when you are dreaming

and someone is floating next to you, and they are, like...

JOSH: Yeah.

(Nice room shape, Gigi!)

It's a beautiful room shape!

What's the shape of the room?

-It's a... circle. -"It's a fucking circle, Tim!"


No boxes!

ANDY: How far off are we from being able to make any of this?

LISETTE: Um... I think the class room--

I think there is enough there for the space to be built.

ANDY: But it sounds like you are cool with the ideas?

I like all those ideas!

LISETTE: And I'll get an updated version of a few of these.

And I'll find a blackboard to keep this up somewhere.


Cool, awesome!

-GEOFF: Hurray. -Progress.

-TAZIO: Beer! -LISETTE: Yay, decisions!

Hey, have some beer, you guys!

And then we do an Alpha state, and then move onto whiteboxing.


TIM: Good job, good job.

Well done, well done. Good room shape. Excellent job.

Good job, good job.

LISETTE: We are going to fix this.

-Thank you, Emily. -Thank you, Gigi.

One hair-pulling meeting at a time.

TIM: I love this clamshell--

EMILY: This clamshell, like, a birth control sort of thing.


EMILY: It's that she is on it.

And-- and--

And she is the queen of--

I don't know, we can get into some of the, like--

the womenly, like, anxiety stuff

that... she has.

She is-- she is an anxious person.

She is in a man's world, and she has to--

Yeah, she has chosen not to have kids.

-She has not had kids. -Mm-hmm.

And she is like: "I didn't have a kid, because I had a career."

You know, sort of thing.

LISETTE: So, that's where we are with concept.

I think we are at a point where we can kind of...

back off a little and let gameplay kind of get figured out.

And then we'll come back to start doing paintovers.

EMILY: It's kind of hard in this, like-- at this point.

Like, concept is at the beginning.

So, a lot of it is, like...

you push off these little boats to, like:

"Go free, little boat! Find your journey!"

And-- and, uh...

Sort of at the end I'm just, like...

...cheerleader going: "Go, go!"


TIM: Hello, everybody! How is it going?

Uh... this is an exciting day.

We are signing a final contract with Microsoft today!


This is the Psychonauts team.

Say 'hi' to Phil, say 'hi' to Sarah.

-Hey, how are you? -ANDY: Howdy.


CARYL: There is Denise!


Tim is, uh... hopefully coming.

I hope he is coming.

SPAFF: We kept thinking he was going to pop up on here.


-TUCKER: Oh, there he is! -CARYL: There he is.




Hey! Hello!

Hi, everybody! You guys are excited!

Um... what else?

So, what happened last week in the world of business, Mr. Rice?


Any announcements?

We have been working for a long time on this deal,

I don't know if you've heard about this,

with, uh...

the, um...

Xbox-- Xbox Games Corporation.

-That's not what they are called. -[LAUGHTER]

So, we signed an LOI back when we announced it at E3.

Like, very quickly before that.

Uh, and then we've been doing due diligence.

There's, like, 350 or 500 due diligence items that Greg--

-AARON: Six hundred and one. -TIM: What?

-TIM: Thank you, for having that. -[CHUCKLING]

Proving that we actually, like, own the rights to Brütal Legend.

Things we thought we had proof of.

But, you know, we had to look it up.


And... I am happy to announce

that as of 9 PM last night it is officially signed,

and sealed, and done.

And we are now officially part of...

Xbox-- no.

Microsoft-- one of those companies up there.


Don't use that in the documentary, please.

-[CHEERING] -TIM: Yeah, yeah, yeah, thank you!

Um, and also, it means that there is going to be some raises.

There is going to be some bonuses.

And for people who've been here and were given stock options,

stock payouts.

And we are going to actually have to move on that stuff really quick.

Get that taken care of, and pay people these things.

So we are going to be meeting with everybody this afternoon.

We have to split it up amongst ourselves to meet with everybody to say, like:

"Whoop! Here is a list of things that you get."


So, I think that's it?

That's it! Please join me for some champagne right out here.



GREG: Did it!


-Good job, man. -Thanks, buddy.

TIM: Some people have been with the company for...

you know, our whole history.

And, uh... they've been through several periods

where we were very low on money,

and it was very unsure what was going to happen.

And a lot of people bailed.

And a lot of people didn't, and they are still here.

And it was really nice to be able to come up

to a lot of those people and be like:

"Uh, remember that weird stock document I had you sign?"


"It's actually--

you actually get to participate in this acquisition in that way."

Who knows if that's why they are sticking around?

But I don't think that's why they are sticking around.

But it was nice to have some reward for those people

who have been so, um...

dedicated and, you know, part of this, uh...

part of this roller coaster ride for so long.

TIM: All right. Cheers, everybody!


-Yeah! -[CHEERING]

Hey, old-timer.

Hey, man. Congratulations!



GIGI: ♪ I can do anything ♪

LEVI: Oh, I've been missing out.


♪ It's in a book ♪

♪ A reading rainbow ♪

Gotta go low on that one, gotta go:

♪ ...bow ♪

Oh my god! They made a show about this!


Look at it!

He is dead.


They are all dead.

Look at him!

They put a dog in a dumb outfit and have him go on adventures.

This is-- This is probably where it came from!

This is-- This is probably where it came from!

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