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New documentary series reveals never-before-seen look at an Xbox classic

The developers of Psychonauts 2 have released a massive, free documentary series outlining the creative process behind the psychedelic action classic. 

Double Fine, the developer behind Psychonauts 2, Brutal Legend, and Costume Quest has put together a brand new documentary for your viewing pleasure. The “Double Fine PsychOdyssey” clocks in at over 15 hours long and features an in-depth look at Psychonauts 2’s development process. 

Available on Xbox Game Pass, Psychonauts 2 is a witty, action puzzler that has you take on the role of Raz, an adorable psyche-traveling, reality-defying secret agent working for the eponymous Psychonauts. Following on from the original Psychonauts released way back in 2005, a lot was riding on the sequel, and Double Fine’s documentary series does a great job at highlighting all of the trials and tribulations that went into crafting Raz’s latest adventure. The documentary can be found on Double Fine’s YouTube channel.

According to Double Fine’s Twitter account, the documentary is the culmination of “six years” and “thousands of hours of footage [providing] a deep dive into the creativity and chaos that birthed Psychonauts 2!” For developers and fans alike, the series is a treat, offering a deep and surprisingly emotional insight into the process of game development.  

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Psyche up

The original Psychonauts put developer Double Fine and spearhead Tim Schafer on the map, offering a psychedelic, thoughtful, and surprisingly moving tour de force boasting easygoing action mechanics and a profoundly memorable art style. Though a tentative follow-up had been offered through the Rhombus of Ruin VR experience, a full-blown sequel was a tall order, drawing scrutiny from other developers and fans alike. 

The game’s positive reception indicates that Double Fine stuck the landing. However, pulling off a worthy sequel is easier said than done. It’s great to see Double Fine willingly offering curious viewers a chance to peek behind the curtain. 

That said, the documentary is more than just a human interest story. The series takes you through the development process itself, not only offering insight to curious fans but also providing a resource for prospective game developers. 

By its very nature, the vast majority of game development happens behind the scenes. You’re able to revel in the finished product, but often the exact extent of all the hard work that went into the product is obscured behind layers of polish. For every great aspect of a game, there are plenty more that never made the cut or simply proved too unfeasible to implement in the first place. 

By lifting the veil on game development, Double Fine is offering a generous and expository look into how the video game sausage is made, allowing us to gain a renewed appreciation for all the hard work and emotional labor that goes into our favorite games. 

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