Saturday, June 19, 2021

How Psychonauts turned from a flop into a success story

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Psychonauts was ambitious. Perhaps overly so. According to the developer himself, Tim Schafer, the project was plagued with issues from the start. They were creating a game engine from scratch for a platform — consoles — that they had little experience with. Psychonauts was initially supposed to take two years to develop, but it ended up taking five. And, unfortunately, when they finally did create a playable game, they found that it wasn’t fun. It had to be reworked.

While Psychonauts started its development with Microsoft, Microsoft pulled the plug in 2004 – just a year before release. It was both too expensive and too slow. The developers needed to court multiple other publishers, finally landing with Majesco. But Majesco was only able to sell 100,000 copies of Psychonauts in 2005, losing money on the game, which ultimately cost $11.5 million to develop.

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