Episode 8 - Psychic Powers
It’s been a little while since we last spoke, but rest assured we’ve been heads down working hard on Psychonauts 2! The team is now hovering around 40 people, we are full steam ahead on content creation, and the game is really coming together! We recently completed a milestone that we dubbed a “Narrative Pilot”, which meant building an area that was fully scripted and voiced, with dialogue and jokes and animation and all the things that give us a slice of gameplay that feels like a fully completed game.
The aim of this was to give us the confidence that we are not only making a good game, but a good Psychonauts game. We just completed a studio-wide playthrough and review session of that area to gather feedback on it, and the reaction has been fantastic! We can’t wait to show you all this stuff, but we’re not quite there yet. Don’t fret though, because we still have plenty for you to feast your eyes on!
In this update we wanted to take you on a deeper dive into the world of Raz’s Psychic Powers. Naturally Raz has already received extensive psychic training, so you’ll begin the game with many of the psychic abilities that he learned to harness at Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp. For those returning powers, the team has focused on making sure that each PSI ability is fun and useful, and on finding a visual style that feels uniquely “psychic.” Classic powers like Telekinesis, PSI Blast, and Pyrokinesis have been totally reworked and you’ll notice lots of improvements from the first game!
As for the new powers we’re adding this game… well, more on that in an upcoming update. :)
Dive on into the latest 2 Player Productions project update to meet Amy Price, our mighty Programmer of Powers, and learn about the journey she’s been on to get them working juuuuuust right.
We just got back from our very own Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp, one of those reward tiers that sounds like a great idea at the time you put your campaign together, but then later realize means you need to do a whole lot of work to fulfil it. We ended up using it as an excuse to lure the whole team out into the woods for a bit of R&R, and it was an incredibly great time - we only wish way more of you could have joined us there!
We’ll share more about what went on at camp in the next update, but for now let’s find out how all these amazing treats we promised you at the start of this whole adventure are coming along!
Prints & Posters
A large number of these are on their way to Peter, Scott and Bagel to be signed, whilst the rest are run off on the printers. We have some of the final blacklight posters here in the studio though and they are amazing! Here’s one glowing on the wall of our Black Velvetopia meeting room.
Whispering Rock Shirts
We might have mentioned this before, but these shirts were a little more complicated than we first thought as we couldn’t find the correct style of shirt to print on, and so we ended up having to get the garments specially made for them. They have been made and are being printed right now!
These are in the print queue behind the Whispering Rock ones.
Luggage Tag, Viewmaster Reels, Lapel Pin, Backpack and Lili Plush
Fangamer are awaiting production samples from the factory for most of these things, or they are going through various stages of design to solve tricky problems, but once we have more visuals and info on those we’ll be sure to share more! This stuff is going to be in the secondary postage drop, which will be waiting on the one item we think is going to take the longest anyway...
The Raz Figurine
We’re especially excited for this one, and are working hard with Fangamer to make sure he comes out just right! Making a minifig turns out takes a lot longer than you might think, especially with all the back and forth sending of prototypes. We thought you’d like to see our progress, and get a little insight on how these things even get made!
To get things going Psychonauts Character Modeller, Dave “Rusty” Russell, provided a posed 3D model and pantone color sheet to Fangamer, who then sent us a huuuuge list of things to change; certain grooves that need to be deeper, or bits that need to be thicker in order to print a real life version of the in-game model successfully.
Fangamer then took our work, set that up for the factory and sent it off. The factory made a first attempt at a 3D printed prototype, hand painted it and sent it back for approval. Here’s the first prototype:
Lookin’ good! But definitely in need of some extra love. Rusty provided a set of feedback, including new pantone colors and advice on various aspects - like how we wanted glossy paint on his goggles, and how to paint his face so he didn’t look like a zombie. We also noticed that he was leaning forward a bit too much making his face hard to see, and so made a change to the 3D model... In working this out we also snapped the model's leg off, oops!
A few months (yes, months!) later and we had another prototype, and it is waaaay better!
Some aspects were still not quite right, mostly tweaks though - some color changes, and still some confusion about what should and should not be glossy. No 3D model changes needed this time at least.
Rusty put together another round of feedback, new pantones, etc, and we sent that all back to the factory via Fangamer.
So that’s where we are now; we're waiting on a third prototype that we’re very hopeful will be the last one, so we can get Raz into production and onto your shelves as soon as possible! You can see that this figure has come along in leaps and bounds, so hopefully the next one will be even better, and it's already the best Raz figurine of all time!
The Big Question
The Big Question on everyone's lips is “when are you going to ship all this stuff to me?? I need it now, give it to me you monsters!” to which the answer is the all-too-often-said and always-frustrating-to-hear “soon”
On previous crowdfunding campaigns we spent way too much of our funds on postage, and so with this one we are trying to ship things in as few boxes as possible. We’re currently hoping we’ll be able to get two shipments out, the first one of which would be shirts, posters and maaaaybe a few of the other things if they appear in time. With those things all mid-printing now we’re ever so hopeful that our first shipment will genuinely be “soon” So watch this space.
That brings us to the close of another Psychonauts 2 Project update, but with more and more progress happening here in the background we are getting really excited about being able to show even more of this game to you in the near future. Until then PSI-Cadets, farewell!