Psychonauts 2 Shows That The Best Sequels Are Never Too Late
Psychonauts was released in 2005. It was a failure commercially and did not receive the Psychonauts that many thought it deserved. It was hard to imagine that its sequel would come sixteen years later. However, the platformer Psychonauts2 proves that even the best sequels can still be made. Many television and film series are experiencing long-delayed sequels. Psychonauts2 was able, despite dealing with the problems of old stars, to continue its story as if it had been only days and not a decade and a half. While many issues prevent this kind of late sequel from happening in games, Psychonauts2 avoided them and was well worth the 16-year wait.
While some games were popular when they were released, their gameplay and designs age over time, making it less likely that there will be a sequel. Psychonauts2 works well due to the strengths of Psychonaut’s established gameplay and formula, which allows the sequel to pick up the story Psychonauts ended. In their 4k format, the highly stylized characters and surreal mindscapes look even better. The game’s mental health approach shows more empathy and nuance than the original. The transition feels natural and reflects Raz Aquato’s maturity rather than changing the cultural zeitgeist. It will feel more like a player is moving from one Psychonauts to the next game than playing on different consoles.
While some games don’t see a sequel due to the popularity of their genre, Psychonauts2 proved that platformers can still excel today. Action platformers may not be as common as in previous generations, but they are still a popular gaming genre with a timeless appeal. The original Psychonauts game reworked the 3D platformer “collectathon,” subgenre established in titles such as Super Mario 64. It had a lot of exploration for its time and tough late-game platforming sequences. The combat with Censors, hallucinatory enemies and other enemies was similar to Kingdom Hearts. Boss fights had unique gimmicks that kept the game fresh. Psychonauts2 has all of these features, except for the difficult platforming sequences. The sequel is easier to play for casual gamers or platformers who have lost their skills.
Psychonauts’ Stylized Characters Are Unique, And Its Story Remains Relevant
Many long-awaited sequels don’t come true because the subject matter is no longer relevant or appropriate in today’s gaming environment. Psychonauts was a well-written story featuring memorable characters who returned for the sequel. The subject of diving into others’ heads to help them overcome their inner demons is something many games have done since Psychonauts, such as the popular Persona RPG series. Psychonauts’ combination of dark themes and outlandish designs gave it an ageless quality. Although Raz is still a child, Psychonauts2 has a more mature story, which deals with trauma, war, and grief. Double Fine’s skill in writing is evident in the way the game handles serious subjects with gravitas while still maintaining its trademark humor.
A simple aesthetic can prevent a game’s sequel from being made after enough time. It’s a great idea to revisit the Psychonauts world using modern hardware. This avoids the uncanny valley effect in games that try to achieve photorealism but become less relevant with each new hardware generation. Psychonauts2 is a return to a dream world that can be viewed in widescreen and makes it more immersive than ever. The unique anatomy of Double Fine Psychonauts characters is as charming as ever. Some art styles are more relics from their era, as shown with the recent Battletoads sequels to the heroes and the Dark Queen.
Some long-awaited sequels are unlikely because of licensing issues and IP ownership. Psychonauts was published originally by Majesco. In 2011, publishing rights were reverted to developer Double Fine. The game also received an updated PC port and a Mac version. Due to Aruze’s disbandment as a developer, the cult-classic JRPG series Shadow Hearts will not see a revival. There are many similar stories with other beloved IPs. Double Fine fought for years to find a publisher to publish Psychonauts 2. Microsoft purchased Double Fine, and it was able to help the development of Psychologynauts 2 instead of stalling it like some acquisitions.