A rare glimpse of 2 Player Productions' Paul Levering alongside Emily and Jeremy Natividad as they stand behind a camera recording something interesting outside a window. Probably the bird.
The semi-official Double Fine beloved visitor rests in her nest outside the office window. Her tiny body rests in silhouette against grey skies. Her wings shimmer blue-green.
Aaron Jacobs stares wide-eyed into the camera while the rest of his face is obscured by a monitor. Double Fine's signature orange office walls brim behind him.
Joshua, Lisette, James, and more bunker down in the Granny meeting room during a review session. The front of the room is covered in a great deal more light than the back.
SPAFF: Holy shi-i-it, Lili is back!
Welcome back from break!
It's me, your future boss, Lili Bean Schafer.
I have the day off of school today,
but my dad forgot.
So, he drove me here anyway
before he realized it, so now I'm here.
But that's okay, because you have snacks
like Hawaiian cookies and Nerds.
Speaking of nerds.
We are not going to do bosses right now.
TIM: I think we've worked through a lot of, uh...
...points of order.
TIM: We got four whole new levels that we are working on.
New level teams.
It's everything I could have imagined!
GEOFF: The game has moved forward more in this last milestone
than it has in, like, two years.
It was kind of worrisome to start feeling a squeeze.
CARYL: You guys all need to be pencils down on your game on November 2nd.
It actually can't slip again.
Uh, today is my last day... at Double Fine.
So, obviously, like...
with Amy and Anna gone there is large areas that we need to cover.
I updated the job descriptions
for Gameplay Programmer, Senior Gameplay Programmer.
I sent that off to Denise this morning.
Um, so that should hopefully be up soon.
Um, you know, regardless of whether we get these hires right away,
like, they are going to be effective maybe three-two months down the line.
So we are just going to have to tread water until-- until we find someone.
PAUL: We also just wanted to talk about what the staffing situation is like.
And how you lost Amy and Anna at the end of the year.
on a good day is an hour and a half.
On a bad day...
it's three hours.
Seattle I can get something that's a 20 minute...
-Yeah, that's awesome. -ANNA: ...commute.
That makes a big difference in just, like, quality of life.
Yeah, because, like, last night I had a two-hour commute home.
And I was just so tired by the time I got home,
I couldn't do anything.
-Yeah, for sure. -ANNA: And I want to be able to...
...live my life.
It was great working on things with you.
-Mm-hmm, likewise. -Yeah, likewise, yeah.
KEE: Boy, it's been-- It's been hard.
I mean, as you've seen Amy and Anna have been really critical
to the development of this game.
They owned very large features. They have--
They are very talented, but also have had a lot of, like, uh...
built-up knowledge of--
built-up historical knowledge of the game and whatnot.
And losing them was a--
It was a giant blow.
I just wanted to take some time today to thank...
Anna and Amy...
Anna and Amy for just...
so much of your hard work, ingenuity, and...
excellence that you've shown in your contribution to the game.
And best of luck in the things that come up next.
EMILY: I'm-- I'm sad.
I'm sad that they left.
Why did Amy leave?
PAUL: What happened on that day?
What happened on that day?
PAUL: How do you feel about your work hours?
-EMILY: Can everyone hear me? -JOSH: Yes.
I think a lot of the anxiety that people have is...
we go into these meetings--
I can see the look on Geoff's face, and he is, like, you know, frustrated,
and then, like, designers are frustrated--
I have resting frustrated face, okay?
-[LAUGHTER] -GEOFF: Like, it's fine.
EMILY: It seems like--
It always seems like there is way too much work
and not enough time.
[EMILY EXPELS AIR]
EMILY: I feel like that argument...
about, like, working long hours, because we had started...
dinner time meals or whatever-- I don't know.
What was your, sort of, point of view about the Amy and Anna things?
I'm just curious.
You saw her side? Okay.
What did JP say? I don't remember.
And it's really difficult sometimes.
And it takes a lot of courage to bring this stuff up
when there is so much that doesn't get said
even on a team that communicates well.
So, I think-- I think the--
the courage that Amy has shown in bringing this stuff up is commendable.
EMILY: I feel like the source of that problem
was way deeper than what we were arguing about.
The thing that's been challenging,
and I'm sure you all saw glimpses of this is, like...
You know, the stuff with there being not enough time,
stuff with Tim being late.
part of that is what we understand, but it's...
We all kind of--
We are all, like, fighting against time.
And they are all kind of, like--
The conflict of time.
The conflict of there not being enough time,
or not enough resources.
This was not that.
That's really different.
Like, I'm just used to everyone kind of being
on the same page about it, and it's...
It's been-- It's been really rough to see.
EMILY: And it all went downhill in this bad meeting.
That made everyone kind of look bad.
NAOKO: I think she was trying to help.
JAMES: She was planning on leaving.
JOSH: She was planning on leaving, and she was trying to help.
I think what she did was probably...
ill-suited politically, but also, like...
in the right mindset of helping her fellow co-workers.
I am on the side of, uh...
labor not being exploited.
And I think it's beautiful and brilliant that we have a culture
where we can be relaxed about the way we approach things.
I don't think that means that we shouldn't do work.
Or that we've escaped the, you know, capitalist society
that we live in somehow by being at this place.
So, we still have to have an output.
I did not expect this Bernie bro tack.
-[JOSH CHUCKLES] -I just, like...
Do you know where the 40-hour week came from?
Oh, Josh! I can't...
KEE: Um, so, then you kind of have to think:
"Well, then their work has to be distributed out.
And we fill up the gaps of what we can do."
KEE: So, um...
Let's still have those conversations.
And make sure that all of your folks know to--
to come and chat with us about stuff.
That's it. Thank you.
TIM: One thing I wanted to talk about,
and I want to see how this room feels about this,
but I feel like over the break sometime I started feeling like...
it was time to actually become the project leader of the project for me.
Like, I have not been officially the project leader.
And I kind of really held back
after what happened with the last project leader.
It seemed like a really rough job.
But being kind of, like, the, you know...
your mom's boyfriend
you don't have to call dad for a long time.
And I feel like...
-NAOKO: We are finally getting adopted? -TIM: Yeah.
It's mostly the name, but it's also--
You know, there is a lot of things that I've been stepping back
and letting people-- you know, not trying to--
you know, um...
take lead on and stuff.
But I feel like...
more and more as we get into it,
I'm just going to naturally start doing that kind of stuff.
And so, I just might as well...
uh, make it official in that way.
It's mostly symbolic, but I really feel like--
For the first game there was definitely a different role I had
than on this game where I've been, you know...
just showing up like a...
strange ghost who has strong opinions.
And, you know, I feel like...
I think everyone is ready to--
You know, after a year of not having a project leader...
-...I think we could have one again. -Yes, that would be good.
-Uh, cool. Well, thank you. -Great.
And it got to the point
where I'd like to officially be the project leader of this project.
Unless anyone objects.
Because, I think--
I really care about this project.
And I really want to do anything I can to help.
Like, the things, like, where you say:
"Who's the project leader? We don't know."
And now you can say: "It's Tim."
-TIM: Right? That's... -[LAUGHTER]
TIM: It's simpler, it's simpler.
TIM: What did you say?
-TIM: What did you say? -[LAUGHTER]
CARYL: A real quick note.
Um, on March 6th, uh...
Andy, Tim, me, and Spaff are all going to go up to Redmond,
and have a one-year out meeting with Matt Booty.
And that is the one-year out from the street date.
So, this is again--
November 2nd is our content complete, our RC date.
And we expect that the product--
the product will actually hit the streets in the first quarter of...
Like, January, February, March of '21.
Right? That's right.
So, it is real, uh...
If I hear anybody say: "I don't believe in the November 2nd date."
Like, this is for real.
We are going to go meet with them and tell them we are shipping this game.
GIGI: We have been gaslit before.
-What was that, Gigi? -We have been gaslit before.
-We have trauma. -CARYL: Yeah, I'm sorry.
-GIGI: No, it's okay. -CARYL: We are really working on it.
Because the good news is
once this ships we have a lot of other cool stuff we get to work on.
TIM: Uh, great.
But it's a-- I feel really good about stuff.
Like, I feel like this year-- Fresh start.
We are starting, um, these new levels.
I feel really good about where the game is headed.
Like, just our knowledge about what the game is.
All of us feeling like we know what the game is.
And we have a date.
And we have a process.
And we have a lot of things that are working a lot better.
And I feel like we are really heading into a good final year of the game, so.
That's when I step in and want to take credit.
ANDY: So, we have started a new milestone.
From between now and the end of February.
Um, so, we are working on four levels.
NICK: Oh, man!
NICK: Oh, that's harsh.
Trapezes are so much fun!
The levels are Helmut,
which is being led now--
because there's been some switcheroos,
Kee is not going to be leading levels anymore
due to some changes in the programming line-up.
So, the Helmut effort is going to be led by Emily.
EMILY: I don't know how I got here.
I really-- I don't know.
I feel hot thinking about it.
That was kind of out of nowhere.
The Friday before break he had sent a Slack message to me, like:
"You want to lead Helmut?"
I'm like: "Whoa-ow!
Because I've been pretty intimately involved
with the making of Helmut.
So I do feel like I knew more about Helmut than a lot of people.
-Naoko? -NAOKO: Got it.
EMILY: And so on Monday it was: "Go!
Figure out the Helmut level!"
Something I also want to bring up is obviously demo.
EMILY: The very first part, the Eye Shrine,
is, um... going to go to E3.
They threw into the deepest of the deep ends.
"Also, it's going to be the E3 demo."
We, in terms of, like, PR and marketing, we are going to be relatively quiet,
um, until E3.
I've been told to be secret about stuff.
Did you say secret butt stuff?
-Secret butt stuff! -Ooo!
And then, E3 will start the kind of PR bandwa--
Bandwagon? The PR wagon.
-Sure. -SPAFF: Push it down the hill.
Push it down the hill. Set it on fire. Give it a kick.
So, yeah, working towards that.
Dropping that bomb.
JOSH: And then, eventually you make your way around.
And you find a hot dog.
This might ch-- This is probably going to change.
-TIM: Wait, wha-a-t! -EMILY: This is going to change.
This is going to change. No hot dog.
You find a hot dog, and you throw it down this tongue.
TIM: Wait, I just fell in love with that idea now.
You should never have shown that to me.
-Approved. -Well, we are trying to...
Too late, it's in.
EMILY: So, we gotta-- We gotta polish that just a little--
a little extra more than the other ones.
Because the public is going to play it.
And they are going to not do the things that they are supposed to do.
Josh, what about jumping from the light platform?
Oh, yeah, I mean, that's...
EMILY: I mean, there is always going to be those, like, cases
where we are gonna have to push and pull a little bit
here and there, you know?
JOSH: Yeah, I mean...
I mean... It's fine, isn't it?
I want to be real about this.
It's not fine.
Like, when we get into playtesting and people start doing this stuff,
it's going to break our game, and everyone is going to cry.
EMILY: We are going-- We are going to Alpha.
Which is, like, first--
Like, it is playable and all the things are represented.
Art looks pretty good.
But it's just a lot of, like,
cleaning up what designers change at this point.
Good to know!
But let's not underestimate the amount of cutscenes
that's going to come in,
because it's going to be part of the E3 demo.
JEREMY: There is going to be a lot.
There is going to be a lot.
It's more cutscenes and story, and all of that kind of stuff.
And cutscenes and stories when you don't have, like,
all the animations and all the effects
is super janky, um...
So it's not going to feel, like, right.
EMILY: Just making sure the animators get in the points
where, uh... there is conversation.
NICK: Hang on. Borrowed lips. Wouldn't be right.
BOB: And he is not as cute as you either.
NICK: Well, neither are you right now.
Wait, are they in a relationship?
-Where have I been? -[LAUGHTER]
Welcome to the team.
I don't know! I'm not on these!
I'm like-- I'm like: "Why are they acting like that?"
Yeah, no, they are-- they are a couple.
EMILY: I'm more--
I feel like I'm more of a story-focused person.
So getting those things in first is really important to me.
Okay, we are looking at Helmut!
-So, show Tim this real quick. -Yeah, play that one too.
ZACH: We are playing this. And Tim is going to love it.
And we are moving on.
Tim, I changed it.
I'm not going to change it again.
TIM: Are you saying this one is pre-approved?
TUCKER: He is not taking notes at this time.
-"Okay, Tim." -It's not, but...
Tazio added a little spinny thing.
I wanted you to do the work, not Tazio.
-ZACH: Yeah, smashed. -TIM: Oh, wow!
Are you ready for this? I don't think you are.
TIM: "You guys, I don't know if I should be--"
[TIM VOCALIZES PANIC]
And just lands in a bunch of ear wax.
-TIM: Looks great. I love it. Great. -ZACH: Ship it.
Cool, now we have to do the two other ones like that.
EMILY: "Put that shit in right now! It's really important!"
I'm just trying-- trying to do that.
JAMES: It's true. I still want your feedback, Tazio.
TAZIO: Well, I mean, I give you my feedback on a regular basis.
Yeah, but when you do it in person, it's so loud and irritating.
So, like, in meetings...
There is a lot of-- lot of dudes.
A lot of deep voices.
A lot of fast talkers.
I don't have any of that.
So, I feel like, uh... doing storyboards and being like:
"Why don't we do this?!"
...is, the, like, kind of the only way to communicate with people.
And this is the day that Helmut dies.
[EMILY VOCALIZES CHANNELING PSYCHIC POWERS]
[EMILY VOCALIZES AN IMPACT SOUND]
"No, my love!"
Wow, this looks expensive!
It's different, because a lot of times...
I feel like I'm just making suggestions through storyboards or concept art or...
kind of being like: "Here!"
I throw it to the side!
And then, sort of, hope that that goes somewhere.
And now I am more like:
"Here! We are doing this, everyone. You do this, you do this, you do this."
And so, that's...
different, and an adjustment.
And I have to, sort of, learn to be like:
"No, we are going with this."
That's-- that's very different and cool.
-I mean, that's a pretty big effect, dude. -[LAUGHTER]
-I mean... -JAMES: Then stop bringing it up!
TAZIO: Well, the thing is, if I don't bring it up now,
we are going to-- we are going to circle back later
and be like: "Yeah, what's that..."
TIM: Yeah, if he was just underwater, he sneezes, he goes: "Achoo!"
And then it cuts to the stage, and he flies out of the audience,
and lands on the stage, with whatever effects we can afford.
-TAZIO: Okay, and then... -[LAUGHTER]
TIM: A stream of rainbows that are already paid for.
"It's a flashback. No, this is actually happening."
NAOKO: That's not how scoping works.
TIM: ...and it cuts to the stage where he actually flies out of the crowd.
JAMES: How did he get into the crowd?
People have been pretty on board for the decisions that I've been making.
And I'm-- I'm very happy that that's happening.
-I can totally do that. -EMILY: Yeah, actually, yeah, Jeremy.
EMILY: I want some bushes with some eyes in it.
EMILY: Having the relative gravity here in particular...
...is so confusing to me.
And I think that's something that I would probably just not have.
Two things. Previously we were talking about doing the... uh, boss fight first.
Because it's the most-- the biggest unknown.
The last-- the last sequence. Whatever that's going to be.
EMILY: I think that we should probably do the Eye Shrine first.
JOSH: To get it ready?
LISETTE: Yeah, I would say...
the Shrine one is higher priority than the boss fight.
Even though the boss fight is definitely important.
I think we have to nail what we need to get done for E3 first.
What is the standing of, um... Time Bubble?
How do you feel about Time Bubble and it's glory?
Uh, I feel like we should revisit what it is and what it's doing.
We just need to...
you know, give a language for it that people can read.
Um, and come up with better interactions for it.
KEE: So, power stuff is for the time being going to be taken over by Devin.
-Okay. -So, um...
I think if there are discussions to have about the power,
have it with the player group.
That could be one of the first things that they tackle and talk about together.
And what specifically the level needs.
ANDY: Yeah, I'm with you, Kee.
I think it's worth stressing that, like...
We need to be real careful about sitting here and deciding:
"You know what? Let's make Time Bubble work different."
Like, that ship has started to sail.
JOSH: I don't think we should make it work different.
ANDY: We need to be very, very careful.
I just want to stress this.
We need to be very careful
about addressing how a power is working right now.
EMILY: Uh, we are pretty light on the programmer support right now.
Kee has been working real hard trying to figure out how...
um, his team is going to do all the things that we actually want to do.
Because we can't ask for as many things right now.
JAMES: Yeah, do we have programmer support time?
ANDY: I would hope so.
I'd love to turn that tongue-slapper into a real thing.
KEE: I want to-- I want to look at what that is.
How you made it. How did you make it?
-[CHUCKLING] -Oh, Kee.
I'll write tongue support.
Tongue support. Tongue support.
PAUL: James has a tendency to go big.
Yes, he does.
JAMES: So, is that thing we suggested within the realm of possibilities?
-Well, I don't know. -Okay.
Like, I-- Like, I--
Somebody has to look at the code.
Yeah, I think it would be irresponsible for me to say: "Hey, that's easy!"
Because I don't know how it's put together.
All right, cool.
Helmut is going to be-e-e... cool!
EMILY: So, can we--
We can make targeting, sort of, a priority?
-How soon do we want to-- -Immediately.
I'll just call Amy.
-I'll be like: "Hey, Amy." -You can call Amy.
-Just call Amy. -I think you can call Amy.
DEVIN: Uh... welcome!
This is a new player team meeting.
Because the player team now also includes powers.
So we needed more than three people on the team.
Um, the Time Bubble now doesn't spawn where you are.
It spawns where the reticle is pointing.
Whoa-ow! When did this get checked in?!
Uh, like, I don't know.
-At least five or six minutes ago. -Oh, okay!
When it hits a thing that it actually, like, is excited to slow,
the bubble pops,
but it leaves a slow on the thing for a timer.
SETH: We might want to make it not purple.
Because of Mental Connection.
TAZIO: I mean, in general, it needs some fucking love, man.
[SOUND OF A DEVICE DISCONNECTING]
Oh, did I step on the cable?
-And that's it! -It's all my fault, it's all my fault!
How does time work even really?
-It's a good question. -Great question.
So, I think it's feeling, uh...
...like a more usable thing for the types of use we have for it.
PAUL: Devin has taken over.
EMILY: Devin is-- yeah. Devin is really easy to work with too.
So, that's-- that's nice having Devin.
He is-- he is kind of off in the corner a little bit.
Just heads down working on that.
GEOFF: We should have a discussion about the trapeze as well.
ANDY: I know Devin has a crap ton of-- of, uh... tasks.
JAMES: But are they being, like, redone?
EMILY: I think they are just trying to be--
They are making it, so it's fun to actually grab
and it doesn't hurt every single time.
TAZIO: The plan is to make them not suck.
Okay, I need to have a talk with Devin then.
This whole thing inspires a ton of confidence.
Oh, there it goes! There it goes.
I don't know what's going to happen!
What's going to happen? It's advanced!
Oh, shit! That's cool! Okay.
That was-- That was a little touch-and-go, but that--
That could be cool.
I mean, that was an interesting thing.
I don't know if it's, like, playtest ready.
I don't know if regular-- you know, people who are not
as good as me could do it, but, like...
TIM: I thought that was interesting.
TIM: The sprint is going well. So, the milestone is going well so far.
Uh, the only news is--
Some of you have already heard is that we have a new--
A new effects artist has accepted the position...
...here at Double Fine, which is exciting.
Also exciting is that it's Jeremy Mitchell.
-What?! -TIM: Our old friend.
TIM: Yeah! The beard is back.
Yeah, coming back is good!
PAUL: You've asked her, right?
KEE: I've talked to her.
A bunch of times.
She would-- She would solve so many problems.
I don't think that's happening.
We'll recover. We'll figure it out.
One way or another.
KEE: So-- so, Tim to catch you up.
Basically, what I'm doing and trying to figure out
what the scope of work for programmers are.
It's just to, like, enumerate just all the features
that we need outside the levels to ship the game.
For example, Mental Connection.
Is everyone happy with where Mental Connection is now?
And, like, how it works?
Because if it is, it's just bugs and whatnot.
If it's not working for the game,
then we need to have a bigger conversation about what it needs to be.
This list is...
going to make anybody who comes to a meeting and look at it, go:
[CARYL VOCALIZES AN EXPLOSION]
Somebody needs to be the one that says, like:
"I know, random programmer, you have an opinion about this.
That's great. We love your opinion.
It's done for now."
Like-- like, that's the lay of the land right now.
And that's gotta start being okay on this team.
But it's like the example--
the kind of thing that you pull on and you take out,
and it affects so many other things.
Because, like, all the collectibles and stuff,
a lot of the player progression is, uh...
dependent on getting those upgrades, and making the player want those upgrades.
And stuff like that. And so, if you just removed it,
all of a sudden you got:
"Oh, now what are we going to replace that with?"
And you got some new stuff you are adding.
So I feel like it is worth looking at it, like:
"Oh, that thing is almost done. And we should--
It'd be less work overall to just finish it."
CARYL: You know, like, you should be able to answer
for all the engineering stuff, how hard it would be?
Like, how complex the work that is left?
But you are taking what you know about the game
in order to make this list of, like...
"Here is the stuff that's done."
And then just pull an all-nighter and get it done.
-CARYL: Huh? -TIM: Nothing.
TIM: What if you just--
KEE: We are down two programmers.
Um, Bert and Chad have joined the project.
Um, Chad is not a hundred percent on.
But he is still, you know, contributing significantly.
And then, hiring, it's--
First of all, it's hard to hire.
It's always hard to hire.
It's hard to hire programmers.
TUCKER: What else is not represented that should be up there?
KEE: My schedule is kind of nutty right now,
because of all the interviews and stuff.
Do you feel like Brian would be able to meaningfully move that forward on his own,
if we did that meeting without you?
KEE: I'm starting to think a lot more about:
"Well, help short-term. But also long-term."
You know, how are they going to fit with the company?
How would they grow the engineering culture here, like--
What's the next kind of generation of engineers at-- at Double Fine.
Because, I think, you know,
if you look back at the gameplay programming group
from Psychonauts 1,
um, like myself, Anna, and so on, and so forth.
Um, we kind of grew up in the industry together.
But that also meant that we kind of learned
how to work together so well.
And we created a certain kind of environment
that, I think, really fit with the company.
Um, so, I want to make sure that, like, you know, we--
the next kind of generation of folks, which I'm definitely seeing
with folks like Aaron Jacobs,
is going to kind of create the engineering culture
that is true to Double Fine's heart.
Does she have any idea that we are sitting here,
thinking about her, all of us rooting for her.
Um, Paul said he went up on the roof and saw the eggs.
ANDY: And then, the longest for last.
"Helmut. Instrument get VFX flourish."
Do we need to do it this sprint?
TAZIO: All right. Well, we can do it this sprint, that's fine.
-[LAUGHTER] -This isn't-- this isn't a mandate!
I'm asking the question!
We should have a conversation about it.
When is Jeremy Mitchell starting?
-LISETTE: We are waiting to hear. -ANDY: Not soon enough.
LISETTE: He is talking with them. We are talking with him.
-So, not tomorrow? -Not tomorrow.
LISETTE: Not tomorrow.
Not this sprint.
-Are you nervous, Emily? -What?
JAMES: About the level.
-Good. -That's good.
That's the, uh... thing we are trying to invoke.
Ooh, I love it that they change color when they pop in.
ANDY: I will say...
Compared to where we were last year getting an E3 demo together,
we are in a hell of a lot better shape.
EMILY: Are you ready to talk about...
-JAMES: Football! -Football!
Are you ready to talk about Helmut boss?
End of meeting.
EMILY: Josh, you had feelings early on about, like, what this should be.
Yeah, instead of it being a boss fight against Maligula,
or, you know, some character we have to build,
we just do wave battles.
And then, the goal then is to use Time Bubble
to slow down the enemies as they roll in.
Whenever you see one of the Care Bear Stare lasers turn off,
you have to go to that area to, like, disperse the enemies around it,
and then they'll start playing music again,
and then, uh... continuing to whittle Maligula down.
NAOKO: I think we should--
I'm going to get Tim.
TAZIO: Yeah, this is-- Tim needs to, sort of--
PAUL: I guess there is someone--
There is only one person in this room that could really be like:
"This is how we are doing it."
LISETTE: I'm watching Naoko make her producer face.
Uh... yeah, I'm just catching up.
TIM: Well, I was saying-- I like-- I like the way-- the setup.
But if you are not-- you are, like-- all--
If you are just running to the different spots,
and then killing all the censors that are there,
it's just, like, all the same gameplay from the level.
And it's not...
JOSH: I mean, this is also right now minus any kind of platforming.
-It's just running. -Yeah.
And so, we can put some platforming in there too.
It's not going to be just, like, a flat surface.
JAMES: Or even if it's platforming. It's going to be the same platforming?
TIM: I just worry about it being the same gameplay we already had.
Because the whole point for me of having a boss fight
is that you've been through a level, you fought a bunch of little guys,
and all of a sudden there is this huge thing
that has a bazillion hit points, and you gotta do something different.
You know, way back to Contra.
That's the only reason I always like to have them.
And so, so--
If you are not fighting some big enemy, uh... that is really powerful
and has some, in our games usually, like, a trick to make it vulnerable.
I do worry that we get into the thing-- sometimes we are like:
"Well, we don't have time to do it, so let's do it this way."
And then the whole thing is thrown out, because it's just not good.
You know? Like, if we--
We don't have time to do it wrong, you know?
We-- we have to make it good.
Um... or else we'll never be done with it.
TAZIO: It seems like there is also something Time Bubble-oriented.
That, like, you know...
You've been using it a lot in the level.
And it seems like now it should be the final test
of all your Time Bubble skills.
I'm sorry, I have to sneak out. We can talk about it tomorrow.
But I do have to go pick up someone.
LISETTE: I really do think that there is something
that has to do with the towers here--
-[EMILY CHUCKLES] -Yep.
LISETTE: What made you nervous about his post today?
JEREMY: Oh, just-- just--
"Let's turn everything into a giant version."
And, like, yeah: "What does that mean?"
LISETTE: Yeah, there was a frustrating brainstorm last night.
LISETTE: Me and Emily ended up staying late.
I think it was good, because it kind of--
It forced some calls.
TIM: I want to say, like, I did drop that thing in Slack this morning
about how I was lamenting the fact that we have so much--
fewer boss fights than we do in the first game.
And... well, I'm sure everyone knows that that's not a call for crunch mode,
or for slipping the schedule.
That's just, like...
We should use some of the money we have now
to try and help with this problem.
Because I really feel like we've lost some of the--
some of the bigger, more iconic, character-based moments
from the first game were the boss fights.
And they were really heavy narrative things,
because they are about the person's worst fear and stuff.
And I think some of the levels that we've cut them from,
like Compton and Bob Z, I think, really need them.
And so I would like to restore them.
And look at all of them, and work with the producers
to find out solutions to make them possible.
It was bothering me. I had to bring it up.
And I think-- I just want everyone to know--
Like, I'm not--
When I am talking about things missing from the game,
the things that are improvements I want to make,
it really is me trying to finish the game.
I am trying to end the game by making it good.
Because the only time we will be done with the game is when it's good.
So, it's not that I want to spin on this game
and noodle with it forever.
It's just that I want to make it great.
So, uh, thanks for reading.
And thanks for all the creative--
I love that people are already suggesting creative ideas in that thread
that, I think, would be great solutions to that.
So, that's helpful.
PAUL: How has Tim responded
to the idea of the bosses just being something that there is no time for?
ANDY: Well, since this is our one opportunity
where we are all in the room with Tim,
I want to just make sure that there is clarity on the boss situation.
SETH: That's what I was going to ask about, because...
I wanted to give everyone the opportunity to just kind of, like:
"When we talk about bosses..."
Just any outstanding questions around that.
-SETH: Yeah. -ANDY: Yeah, so.
LISETTE: I think that they want to hear about three bosses.
But they also don't understand how we are going to get them.
And that's the part that people get scared about.
And we have an extra added thing
where we've had some big blowouts on the team
where they are very concerned about crunch mode.
And everyone is like: "We are going to crunch.
I just know we are going to crunch."
And we are like: "We haven't done for many years.
We haven't done that for many years.
I don't know how to tell you we are not going to do that."
Um, but they don't...
I can see why a lot of people wouldn't believe us,
you know, when we say that.
Um, and a lot of people might be not believing it
just because they themselves are like: "No, I'm going to crunch myself.
Because I care about this game,
and I just don't want to be in that position where..."
Or they are-- you know, from previous experience,
they feel like they've been lied to about deadlines and stuff.
And we were all in that Friday meeting that was so awkward,
because it was all Caryl saying, like: "This is the date."
And people are like: "Ah, pff-fa, pff-fa."
You know? "I don't believe you!"
And so, um...
I mean, we are really committed to not crunching the team.
-We talk about that a lot. -Mm-hmm.
And we talk about places we can get help.
And programming help, and outsourcing help,
and ways to make this happen, so.
But, yeah, people are going to wonder how we are going to get those things...
...made, for sure.
CARYL: Do we want to bring in a bunch of cinematic artists
and have them sit down and hook up cutscenes.
You know, like, that might be super helpful.
You almost did a spit take right there.
Why didn't we do that last year?
-And that's only one of the avenues... -Cutscenes? Pfft.
-...that we are looking at. -You never liked cutscenes.
-They are called cut for a reason. -LISETTE: I think they want to hear that.
LISETTE: They want to hear that.
CARYL: Because, like, right now-- not to say that money is not an object.
But it's less of a concern than it was a year ago.
-It's our loosest lever. -Yeah.
-But-- okay... -LISETTE: So, I will say...
KEE: So, going into that meeting
where, you know, we were talking about where things are,
um, I thought, you know, there would be concerns raised and whatnot.
Um, but I start to see excitement.
Which-- that's lovely, that's great, that's great.
But then I start seeing it, and I'm thinking, like:
"Wait a minute!
I-- I am-- I am--
I am, like-- I am having a really tough time here."
And I-- I needed everyone to know that.
Um, because where we are as an engineering group is we are--
we are really behind.
And we are struggling to keep up.
One of the things that I personally have a hard time doing,
or feel bad for doing is letting folks down
when they are depending on me.
And I'm doing that left and right
because I just don't have enough bandwidth to get stuff done.
I think the only thing that's going to get us out of--
get us finishing this game is, like, creativity and big ideas.
Good, strong, simple things we can do to make the game better.
And I think people are locked out of the most creative part of their thinking,
because they are super stressed and worried about...
-CARYL: Yeah. -Self-censoring, yeah.
And I want to acknowledge that bringing in additional heads
will be challenging in its own way.
It's going to be a lot of money.
And we are going to probably solve this problem with money.
For the particular challenges that we have on the programming side to ship this game,
it's not easy to throw money at the problem.
I've been racking my brain for weeks trying to figure out what we offload.
And there is not much I could think of.
Like, right now...
I'm-- I'm probably coming from a really emotional place right now,
so forgive me,
but I have no idea how to do my job well right now.
I don't. I don't.
And when the team gets that message from the--
the-- the head of the company,
and again, it is very much within your right to, like...
have that idea in front of folks.
Like, I don't-- I don't know how to, like, then go to James and say:
"I think the thing that you are trying to go for
is slightly superfluous.
Because, I then also want to make sure
that you are exploring the ideas that you want to explore."
So, like, I have two different things going on.
I-- I-- I don't know what to do.
I don't know what to do.
I don't know what to do.
KEE: You know, it's something that I was thinking about for a while.
It felt good to, like, express that I needed help.
I can't find anything else.
I know, bud. I know, we'll get there.
Like, we have some ideas. And we just have to, like...
look at it as something that's a solvable problem.
And, you know, like, this is not--
we are not, you know, sending people to Mars.
Um, we are going to be able to solve this problem.
We are making a video game.
Out of all the changes this project has had,
I'd like to think that this is not the worst one.
-You know, like, this is-- -[LAUGHTER]
Luckily, none of them are on film.
CARYL: Yes, thank goodness!
We can forget about all the bad changes.
CARYL: This to me is the, like--
We are turning a corner of, like: "We are making a game"
to: "We are making a great game."
CARYL: And, you know, like, for me that's the message I keep seeing
when I look at what's getting done.
TIM: I appreciate, Kee, really a lot you sharing your doubts in this meeting.
And stuff like that, but I feel like...
This is what this meeting should be for.
That's literally what this meeting should be for.
And so that we are all doing our jobs,
and especially me and Caryl and production,
like, we are here to worry about the schedule,
so the team can be creative
when everything is going well.
Like, the people in this room...
sharing their doubts in here is-- is great.
But eventually we have to, like, lift that burden from the team, so they--
They are trying to work on their little thing,
they are like: "Are you crashing the plane?"
Like, we don't them to worry about that stuff.
-Plane is fine. -So they could just work...
...on making something amazing in the scope of their daily tasks.
So, that's where we have to get to with the team.
Where they feel like: "Okay, I think they have a plan.
I think they got it covered. I'm not going to crunch.
And I'm not going to not see my family for a year.
And I'm going to--
The game is going to be good,
um, and great."
So, first we gotta convince Kee.
-Then we gotta convince everybody else. -Please, please convince me!
If you want, I will go over to Ubisoft, and yell on the floor:
"We need engineers!"
Why haven't you done that yet?
Oh my god, I didn't know you had a key card!
-[LAUGHTER] -ANDY: Thank you, everybody.
I'll just stand outside and sneak in.
Stick around if you want to stick around...
LISETTE: Put the black hood on.
KEE: That was hard. At the same time, I don't regret...
And I think that was the right space to do it.
It's been a long development cycle, this game.
The mindset that I hope people don't have, which I myself even fall sliding into, is:
"Let's get this done for it to be done.
To be done with it."
I just have a question about how to interact with Kee
with-- with regard to something.
I just-- it feels so hopeless, this game.
You can't say it's not, because it might be.
And that part of me just wants to finish it, no matter--
Are you filming this?
I just want it to be over.
I feel like what we prove with this game
is we just can't make a game this big.
KEE: But then I take a step back and think, like:
"We are making Psychonauts 2."
Like, this is the game that I have the most emotional attachment to.
Like, making this game should be a joy.
Making this game should be, like, an honor to do.
I didn't even think this was going to be possible.
Like, making this game--
like, I shouldn't be, like, looking at the end.
And not thinking, like:
"Well, at least it will be done and, you know, out."
That it should be like: "Well, we are done.
And we made this thing.
And we made this thing that we could share with the world."
As opposed to, like:
"Oh, let's just be done with this."
Um, the big-- big question mark is what happens with the boss fight.
But I'm going to kind of leave that as is for now
and pretend that that's a problem not for this week.
EMILY: Okay, with that boss fight...
Yeah, I have a...
God, it's been...
It's been-- it's been-- it's been hard.
Tim talked about, like: "I want to put bosses in our game."
And we say: "Well, we've got a lot of work to do."
And then the answer is: "How much work to do?"
And everybody goes: "I don't know."
So we need to start estimating our work.
That's the only we are going to be able to make the intell--
(All of the work.)
ANDY: Yeah, we need to make intelligent decisions
about what we are capable of doing.
And the only way we do that is by estimating
what it's going to take to do the work that's already on our plate.
I mean, we should--
we should take a look at your estimates, Tazio.
Because I'm already looking, like: "There is a lot there!"
There is-- it's going to be great!
NAOKO: It's not split up yet too.
-Some of it is-- -Wha-a-t!
Get over here, you son of a bitch!
-You just spilled my coffee all over you. -[LAUGHTER]
-[LEVI SCREAMS] -[LAUGHTER]
join me in welcoming Jeremy Mitchell to Double Fine Productions.
-TIM: Where are you? Stand up! -[CHEERING]
Stand up, Jeremy. Hey.
-TIM: Hi. -Hi.
TIM: Well, it's very nice.
I want to say on behalf of everyone, it's very nice to have you back here.
We are very happy to have you.
Uh, what will you be doing here at Double Fine for those who don't know?
TAZIO: Saving my ass.
-[LAUGHTER] -JEREMY: Yeah.
JEREMY: Rescuing Tazio.
TIM: Rescuing Tazio.
We are all looking forward to a dramatic improvement in Tazio's mood.
GEOFF: We've proven that, like,
a boss doesn't have to be this giant level-spanning thing.
We could literally put some different pants on the Judge
and call it the boss of Bob Z.
-[TIM CHUCKLES] -You agree with that, Tim?
Okay, pants with a robe is ridiculous.