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Psychonauts Parts Ways With Microsoft

simoniker posted about 10 years ago | from the floating-away dept.

XBox (Games) 29

Thanks to IGN Xbox for its article revealing that long-awaited Xbox platform title Psychonauts has been dropped by publisher Microsoft. According to an official statement: "Microsoft Game Studios has made the decision to end its publishing agreement with DoubleFine... [It] believes in the vision of the title and would like to see the game on Xbox... [and] is supporting Tim Schafer and DoubleFine in their search for a new publisher." There are some fine-looking comics on DoubleFine's news page, but no comment as yet from the developers regarding plans for one of the most long-awaited, intriguing-to-many Xbox platform/action games.

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Hmmm... (2, Interesting)

Fortunato_NC (736786) | about 10 years ago | (#8722089)

I think the takeaway message is, if Microsoft still supports the game's vision, then it's probably that the execution has a lot of problems. These guys should probably take a long hard look at the game before earnestly finding a new publisher and bringing the game to marker.

Re:Hmmm... (2, Insightful)

Black Hitler (687112) | about 10 years ago | (#8722448)

Supposedly the graphics, story and dialogue are there but the actual gameplay isn't coming along too well. After all this time and money I imagine MS had pretty high expectations. Of course MS has been canning titles right and left over the past couple of weeks (Mythica, the Xbox sports lineup, the next Oddworld game) so there's definitely some internal politics involved as well.

FUCK MICRO$OFT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8722101)

Want my card? (4, Insightful)

superultra (670002) | about 10 years ago | (#8722134)

The sports series, I understand. Oddworld made sense. Tork, of course. Ed Fries getting canned was a little mystifying, but the "high" knowledge that is company politik is not for us to speculate on.

But this. This? This sounds like someone at Microsoft accidently hit the delete button on their Projects Pending page. This was the one artistically creative title Microsoft had going for it, and now it's gone. I think that this represents the end of all that high talk of art and creation and a gaming revolution that floated around the launch of Xbox1 from Seamus and his colleagues.

What does Microsoft have now? Halo and Fable? Halo 2 will be Halo, but not as repetitive. Fable? Based on the hands-on previews that have been surfacing, it might be fun but really is, at heart, a traditional European adventure/RPG. Whoopie. Psychonauts was the one creative spark Microsoft seemed to have left in it, and that is now extinguished.

Well, I'm turning in my Microsoft fanboy card. In fact, I'm selling my video gaming fanboy card on ebay at a Buy It Now price of $10.36 so can I buy Hickee [amazon.com] which, I'm told, is drawn by some of the Double Fine Team. This industry blows its official licensed and franchised chunks and it got all over my damn shirt. If games like REZ and ICO and Beyond Good and Evil and Prince of Persia don't sell, and games like Sam and Max and Psychonauts don't even see the light of day, consider me officialy disfranchised.

Screw this joint. I'm picking up books. Or gardening. I hear gardening is fun.

You can't hide from the Grim Reaper. Especially when he's got a gun. - Manuel Calavera, Grim Fandango

Hickee (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8722298)

I haven't read "Hickee" but it appears to be edited by Graham Annable, who in addition to being a great cartoonist, was working on the animation for Sam & Max 2. What I am wondering is if Craig Thompson is involved in Double Fine--the logo certainly looks like his style.

Re:Hickee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8722429)

What I am wondering is if Craig Thompson is involved in Double Fine--the logo certainly looks like his style.

Which, if true, should make you also wonder what the hell is in Hickee that obviously pisses off gaming companies.

I buy products. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8722869)

Not talk.

Ever seen the behind the scenes of Crimson Skies? Oh they loved talking. But when push came to shove all they had to show was a half formed lump of clay based entirely on big talk about style over substance which ended up poorly excecuted.

Any jackass can come up with a great idea. It's the excecution of that idea that gets people's heads rolling, or earns the admiration of millions.

Re:Want my card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8722881)


I'm sorry but Fable is quite possibly going to be the biggest disappointment of whichever year they eventually decide to bring it out. As we speak, basic GUI problems are still being ironed out - the main interface gets regular overhauls! Fable is deadweight, and the worst part of it is, everybody working on it knows that.

It looks beautiful though. Absolutely beautiful. Pity nothing works, and nothing promised has been delivered. Oh well.

Re:Want my card? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8723436)

You mean, like Black & White?

Re:Want my card? (2, Insightful)

DeadScreenSky (666442) | about 10 years ago | (#8723953)

Just wanted to point out that the newest Prince of Persia sold really well. It just took a while to build sales momentum. Its 'sales death' has been greatly exaggerated.

(And in my opinion, Beyond Good and Evil didn't deserve to sell all much more than it did. I want the other half, or more, of the storyline that for some reason wasn't in the game. Hell, I would just be happy if I could get a good story period, like most reviewers claimed it had.)

Beyond Good and Evil (1)

swat_r2 (586705) | about 10 years ago | (#8726366)

BG&E's strength wasn't in it's amazing story, but in it's original, well rounded characters. They were well acted, sincere and had depth - so you actually felt a bit of a bond with them. Plus, the Hyllian world was just dripping with charm and was a treat to explore.

I think it was one of the best (if a little short) games I played through last year.

Probably not the game, but timing ... (4, Interesting)

SuperRob (31516) | about 10 years ago | (#8722172)

Microsoft has a nasty habit of offering developers everything under the sun for an exclusive title published by Redmond, then dragging out the process for so long that it no longer fits in the schedule and it gets cancelled.

Something incredibly similar happened to Boss Game Studios and a phenomenal racing game they had scheduled for the LAUNCH of the Xbox. It was a follow-up to the critically acclaimed "World Driver Championship" on Nintendo 64, but it never got released despite being 98% finished.

The problem is that Microsoft had Project Gotham Racing scheduled for Launch as well. Microsoft pushed back "Racer X", and pushed it back, and pushed it back ... all because they didn't want scheduling conflicts with other games like Midtown Madness and what not. Boss used the extra time to continue to tune and polish, even adding a few new features.

Eventually, the window of opportunity for what was a unique GT racer (including things like body kits ... this was YEARS before The Fast and the Furious, and Need For Speed Underground), and Microsoft severed the publishing agreement. Despite having the game nearly complete, they couldn't get another publisher to pick it up, and the result was Boss ceasing operations.

Unfortunately, it looks like history is going to repeat itself. For some reason, publishers won't release nearly finished games, and I can't figure out why, since it would be nearly all profit ... the development costs were already spent!

Now I can hear some of you saying that if the game was any good, this wouldn't happen. I can tell you from first-hand experience that this is not always the case, and frequently couldn't be farther from the truth. This happens all over, and not just with the smaller development houses either. You just don't always hear about the cancellations. And when it happen inside major companies (first-parties like Nintendo, for example), sometimes those projects can be resurrected later (Majora's Mask on GameCube being a key example).

Re:Probably not the game, but timing ... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8722984)

Majora's Mask on GameCube being a key example

Majora's Mask was released on the Nintendo 64. Isn't "Ocarina of Time: Master Quest" the game you are referring to?

Re:Probably not the game, but timing ... (1)

SuperRob (31516) | about 10 years ago | (#8733668)

"Majora's Mask was released on the Nintendo 64. Isn't "Ocarina of Time: Master Quest" the game you are referring to?"

No, I'm referring to the fact that Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask were in development at NST (Nintendo Software Technology) at the same time, but only Ocarina was released (as a bonus disc) and Majora was subsequently canned. Months later, they resurrected the project, and released the game as part of the Zelda compilation disc for GameCube.

Note that Majora on GameCube has a sound bug that was never resolved. This was part of the reason it was canned to begin with, but it was later deemed non-critical.

Re:Probably not the game, but timing ... (1)

zero_offset (200586) | about 10 years ago | (#8723908)

Now I can hear some of you saying that if the game was any good, this wouldn't happen. I can tell you from first-hand experience that this is not always the case, and frequently couldn't be farther from the truth. This happens all over, and not just with the smaller development houses either.

So in other words, Microsoft is just like every other game company in this regard, despite what your opening paragraph seems to imply.

Let's hope this means it'll be ported elsewhere (2, Insightful)

oskillator (670034) | about 10 years ago | (#8722285)

I was afraid I'd have to buy an X-Box to play the game developed by two of my heroes, Tim Schafer (of LucasArts) and Erik Wolpaw (of Old Man Murray). Now? Now, I have hope.

I also have hope that Erik will be writing more updates for the DoubleFine news [doublefine.com] page.

Re:Let's hope this means it'll be ported elsewhere (1)

AzraelKans (697974) | about 10 years ago | (#8729305)

MOST probably this game will still be released for the xbox (since it was made for it) it will only be released by another publisher house.

ship it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8722461)

It has only been in development for 3-4 years. Why stop now?

Well ..well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8722885)

Microsoft thought it could swoop in, buy up a bunch of developers and dominate another industry.

No Mythica?
No Sports titles?
No Psychonaut?

Maybe Halo 2 will be out by the holidays, but Bungie is a stickler for polished games- I can see this being pushed out - short of many of the features that will make it worth the year(more?) delay.

I am glad I have never supported Microsoft and instead put my dollars to a gaming company that strives for originality, quality and fun- Ninetendo.

For $99 and the interactivity with the gameboy, this is gaming how it should be.

Calling Tim Schafer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8722938)

...Tim Schafer, calling Tim Schafer... Your psychic is on line two right now, and advises you that the stars aren't in your favor this year. Come back and try again in another year, when perhaps more rational thought prevails.

Sux0r (0)

Cronan (717762) | about 10 years ago | (#8723150)

Aw man! I've had my eye on this title for a couple of months now ... hope this doesn't prejudice the developer getting a new publisher ...

What's going to happen with the game, then? (1)

mystereys (673518) | about 10 years ago | (#8725922)

Microsoft is not going to publish the game. So now, Double Fine is looking for a publisher for the X-Box game. Is there a chance, then, that the game will come out for other platforms? It looks like fun, but I don't own an Xbox. (BTW--the game hasn't been pulled from the Microsoft games site [microsoft.com] yet.)

'OMM is dead forever' counter = 6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8726729)

...though they did an update this calendar year, the first since December 2001...

some retard

Sad... (1)

Doches (761288) | about 10 years ago | (#8728087)

First console game i've ever seen that reminded me of...

...and it gets dumped in favor of some MS-house Myst clone. Tragic.

New and improved vs old and proved. (1)

AzraelKans (697974) | about 10 years ago | (#8729270)

MS (and every gamedev) is now realizing that old franchises with new technology and (sometimes) gameplay, have more chances to succeed over new ones. Want to know Why? Fanbases and instant name recognition, a new franchise (most of the time) doesnt have a following base even if its a quality product (beyond good and evil) it has a good 50% chance of not being recognized due to this.

Yeah I Know a lot of "retro" games have never pulled it off and some have even been cancelled. but MS is just checking numbers, and right now the most expected and played games are sequels and some of them are more than 10 years old. (zelda, mario, mk, metroid, ninja gaiden, half life, doom, etc)

The saddest thing is that we are the only ones to be blamed, we are the ones who put aside new and innovative games (beyond good and evil,rez,ico) in favor of new versions of old franchises. Think about that the next time you are in a game store.


Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#8733131)

From DoubleFine Website News:


Wednesday, March 31, 2004

You may have heard about this already, but just to confirm: there is no hand soap in the kitchen. Maybe CERTAIN PEOPLE consider the watered-down dish soap by the sink to be hand soap, but my delicate hands and I do not. Though my skin has the same fair, smooth consistency of fine china, I am not a dish (except in that way that indicates that I am super good-looking, which I am). Real dishwashing soap (yes, even Palmolive) will dry out your hands real quick. Maybe if CERTAIN PEOPLE spent less time drawing unicorns, and more time ordering hand soap, then THOSE VERY SAME CERTAIN PEOPLE wouldn't have to wear headphones to block out the screams from my office as I try to type the news with dry, cracked, bloody hands!

In other news: Psychonauts is awesome.

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