Psychonauts 2 was announced back in 2015, and was initially set for launch in 2019. After a couple of delays, and some upheaval when Microsoft acquired Double Fine Productions, the title should now launch later in 2021.
This sequel picks up after the original game, as well as the subsequent VR-only chapter, Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin. Having seen a hands-off demo back in 2019, we're confident that fans of the series will be delighted to see the return of Raz and the gang.
The original 2005 game wasn't a commercial success by any stretch of the imagination, but Psychonauts has gained its status as a cult classic over the years since then. Whether the platformer will resonate with players who are new to the series, we don't know. But the unique art style and quirky characters might just be enough to lure them in.
Psychonauts 2 release date
Psychonauts 2 is still in the works after missing its Q4 2019 launch date, as well as its updated 2020 release window. The game is currently pegged for release this year, although we don't have a specific window just yet.
In the wake of Microsoft's acquisition, Double Fine founder and industry veteran Tim Schafer assured fans that the game will still get a multiplatform release. Fans of the series can look forward to seeing Psychonauts 2 roll out on PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. The good news for Microsoft console owners is that the title will be optimized for Xbox Series X|S, with improved load times, responsiveness, visuals and framerates.
Psychonauts 2 trailer
Because Psychonauts 2 started out as a crowdfunded operation on Fig, there's a slew of videos documenting the development process, as well as trailers. You can find the full playlist of more than 30 videos over on YouTube, but we've rounded up the main trailers for you below.
The official first trailer dropped in 2018, and does a good job of fleshing out the premise of the game for newcomers. The game's humor and art style are on full display, but if you're looking for actual gameplay, you're out of luck.
The first gameplay trailer followed in 2019, and while it's not as generous a look as we'd like, it still shows off enough of the quirky level design, platforming and combat to let players know what they're in for.
The most recent Psychonauts 2 trailer is Brain in a Jar, which shows off a level that started off as an exploration of synesthesia, according to the update on Fig. The concept has evolved since then, and the level has taken a much more psychedelic turn, drawing inspiration from "the Peter Max-inspired Yellow Submarine as well as the work of Russian abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky and even some old cartoons like the Looney Tunes." The gameplay portions also show off Raz's new Time Bubble ability, which will let you slow down your target, whether that's a moving platform, a swarm of enemies or a boss.
Psychonauts 2 gameplay
Psychonauts 2 is a platformer featuring a psychic acrobat imbued with supernatural powers. As such, you can expect some fun twists to jazz up the standard gameplay format of jumping around on things.
If you played the first game back in 2005, or the updated 2011 version, you know what to expect. Of course, Psychonauts 2 will offer new levels and new abilities, some of which we've had a peek at in the trailers.
Double Fine has also added a new hub world inside Psychonauts HQ for the sequel. From here, players can access to new worlds in characters' minds. Raz can help these guests by defeating their inner demons, or — in an even more terrifying twist — "unravel their deep-seated emotional issues." It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.
In terms or powers, Raz is still perfecting his previous PSI-abilities, and will have new ones to play with, too. We know he'll carry over some powers from the first game, revamped and improved for the sequel. The merit badges on Raz's satchel display the powers he's unlocked, and a closer look at the Brain in a Jar trailer shows five badges with slots for three more.
Taking a look at the screenshot, we can see badges for PSI-blast (or marksmanship), Levitation and Pyrokinesis abilities, as well as the new Time Bubble power. The badges have had a bit of a redesign since the first game, so the remaining two on Raz's bag are likely candidates for Telekinesis (hand icon) and Clairvoyance (spooky eye).
Psychonauts 2 story
The official first trailer for Psychonauts 2 giver newcomers an overview of the story. In a nutshell, the game follows 10-year-old Razputin 'Raz' Aquato — trained acrobat and psychic — who ran away from the circus to become a super spy.
The first game is set in the Psychonauts training camp, while in Psychonauts 2, Raz is now a full-fledged member of the organization. Double Fine gives a nice overview of the basic plot on its website:
"But these psychic super spies are in trouble. Their leader hasn't been the same since he was kidnapped, and what's worse, there's a mole hiding in headquarters. Raz must use his powers to stop the mole before they execute their secret plan--to bring the murderous psychic villain, Maligula, back from the dead!"
We don't know much about Maligula, but the figure at the end of the first trailer could well be them.
Is Psychonauts coming to PS5?
The official Xbox website doesn't specifically mention PS5 availability for Psychonauts 2. It's a safe bet that the PS4 version will be playable on the PS5, though. As of July 2020, all new PS4 titles submitted for certification must be compatible with PS5.
Double Fine hasn't shared whether we'll see an optimized version of Psychonauts 2 for the PS5. We already know that the Xbox Series X/S will support an optimized version of the game.
Psychonauts 2 outlook
Psychonauts 2 could be a hit with fans of the series, as well gamers who've dabbled with Double Fine and Tim Schafer games in the past. With overhauled gameplay and next-gen optimization, the sequel should offer newbies something to look forward to as well.
Given the route Microsoft is going with new releases, Psychonauts 2 will likely be available on Xbox Game Pass at launch. We know the title will be optimized for Microsoft's latest hardware, while there's no word on a PS5-specific update that will do the same.
Hopefully, Double Fine has captured some of the magic from the original title, and injected a healthy dose of it into Psychonauts 2.