According to latest news, Psychonauts 2 is happening. It’s a sequel to Double Fine’s first-ever game, a quirky, beloved, 2005 plat former about a team of psychic spies-in-training. Most of the pieces are in order — the concept art is in, the characters are rendered, the narrative is prepped and Double Fine founder Tim Schafer is ready to roll. The studio needs just one more thing before diving into development: $3.3 million from investors and fans.
Double Fine is seeking that cash on the crowd funding platform Fig, an investment-focused initiative launched by former Double Fine COO Justin Bailey in August. Fig allows people to actually invest in a game and share in its profits, rather than dealing strictly in “donations” like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other crowd funding programs. Last month, Bailey announced that Fig would allow non-accredited people (meaning: people who aren’t millionaires) to invest in its games alongside SEC-accredited investors.
Schafer is a member of Fig’s advisory board — and he’s a good guy to have around, considering he helped Double Fine raise $3.3 million on Kickstarter back in 2012, an event that spawned the new era of crowd funded video games. He’s looking for that same amount of money with Psychonauts
“I’ve been wanting to make this game for 10 years, but it wasn’t possible before crowdfunding, specifically the kind of crowdfunding that lets us share our profits with the backers,” Schafer tells Engadget.
In truth, Double Fine needs more than $3.3 million to make Psychonauts 2. In 2013, Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson claimed that Double Fine was looking for $18 million to fund the sequel. The studio is putting up “a significant portion” of the development costs itself and getting another chunk from an “external partner,” according to its fact sheet.
Splitting up development resources is a savvy move and one that Double Fine may have learned during its first foray into crowd funding. The studio originally asked for $400,000 to create a game code named Double Fine Adventure and it ended up with more than $3 million raised via Kickstarter. The game later turned into Broken Age — and it did, in fact, need to be broken into two episodes so that the revenue from the first part could help fund development of the second.
Some fans and Kickstarter backers were miffed that Double Fine needed more money after receiving 8.5 times the amount of cash it originally requested. Despite the bumps in the road, both acts of Broken Age successfully launched and Schafer still firmly believes in the power of crowd funding.
“When a backer gives us their money they are also giving us their trust,” Schafer says. “They are trusting us to make a good game for them, which means making hard decisions along the way to make that vision a reality. They’ll make requests (or demands) but in the end, if they don’t like what they get that’s my fault. I can’t blame it on their requests. Which means I have to make choices I’m happy taking responsibility for.”