Double Fine launches 22-hour Psychonauts 2 documentary

PsychOdyssey dives deep into the development of Psychonauts 2, revealing the pressure of creating a worthy sequel.
psychonauts 2 double fine documentary

Double Fine’s Psychonauts 2 was a clear labour of love; a game developed with a reverence for the original Psychonauts, and a desire to re-engage a now-adult audience in a whimsical and surreal world. The journey to creating this connection is now well on show, with the launch of Double Fine PsychOdyssey, a new 22-hour documentary charting the development of the critically-acclaimed Psychonauts 2.

The documentary was reportedly seven years in the making, and charts every step of development from the beginning, to the award-winning end. There are 32 episodes in total to chew through, each clocking in at around an hour, and they’re well worth diving into if you’re a Double Fine or Psychonauts fan.

You can check out the bite-sized trailer for the series below, to get a sense of the depth and scope of this project, which was created by Double Fine Productions and 2 Player Productions:

Notably, the series is designed to celebrate Psychonauts 2 – but it doesn’t shy away from the bad. Even in the trailer, developers can be seen criticising elements like level design, and talking to the intense pressure that plagued every developer on the Double Fine team.

In a voiceover, one developer tearily talks of only relying on faith in the creation of the game – raising issues with other members of Double Fine, who appear frustrated with progress. The Covid-19 pandemic also played into the development cycle, and this is depicted clearly in the documentary.

This is notable, as while many game developers faced issues with the Covid-19 pandemic, it has rarely been depicted in an in-depth documentary like this. ‘I guess one of the obstacles for game dev should have been biblical,’ one developer says of the circumstances.

In the final, triumphant moments of the trailer, Double Fine’s Tim Schafer is seen presenting on a stage, finally unveiling Psychonauts 2 to the world – a happy ending charged with plenty of emotion. This journey is clearly on show within PsychOdyssey, and should elevate the narrative over each of the documentary’s 32 episodes.

You can check out the entire PsychOdyssey documentary on YouTube now, with each episode focussing on one aspect of development – from funding, public reveals, and bittersweet lows, to bringing the game to the masses. It’s a wild trip, and a wonderful all-access glimpse at how game development really works.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.