More proof that everything Tim Schafer touches is gold. My expectations were very, very high, so I was a little nervous at first, playing the first couple of hours...the mechanics were a bit too derivative of Jak & Ratchet, and it was maybe not quite as funny as I remembered Tim Schafer being. But then I got to the lungfish brain and I was sold. Even funnier than I remembered Tim Schafer being. It's genius. A hot genius injection. There's a thing about Tim Schafer games - they're not just funny, they're clever, they all have original puzzles, and you feel clever when you solve them. Much like the time travel setup in Day of the Tentacle created the opportunity for a slew of time travel related puzzles, the psychic powers of Psychonauts lends itself to psychic puzzles.
[Sign you've been blogging too long? I know I wrote a Notes on Grim Fandango once, talking about "functional fixedness", but it seems like Google never indexed it...?]
I look at this game, and I know it's been in development for a good long time, but it's still unbelievable they pulled it off. There are a lot of levels and they all have their own look and feel and they're all highly polished...I play it and I think, "This must have been really expensive."
I wonder why Microsoft bailed out on it? It's the best Jak & Daxter-like game I've ever seen...so I'd expect a high quality Xbox version of one of those games to do about half what they do on the PS2, if Microsoft put marketing muscle behind it. Maybe half of Jak & Daxter just isn't enough to be profitable?
Now that Double Fine is with Majesco, they can hit the PS2 also, and make more money, but then they lose out on the Microsoft marketing muscle. (I assume there are no TV ads for Psychonauts, and I haven't been to a videogame retailer lately but I imagine they don't have pride of place.) Still, I expect Majesco will be profitable, Double Fine will be profitable, and the only losers are Microsoft.