Notch Decides Not To Back Psychonauts 2

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Notch Decides Not To Back Psychonauts 2

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The $18 million price tag on Psychonauts 2 left Minecraft mastermind Markus "Notch" Persson with a serious case of sticker shock.

Back in February, Notch set the world (or at least our little part of it) on fire when he reached out to Psychonauts creator Tim Schafer to say, "Let's make Psychonauts 2 happen." Was he serious? "I'm serious," he tweeted shortly thereafter.

A week later things got even more serious when Schafer claimed that Notch had expressed no reservations about a $13 million budget for the game. "As soon as I mentioned the amount of money he said, 'Yeah, I can do that'," Schafer said.

But now it seems that the ugliness of reality has set in and Notch is having second thoughts, not just about the money but about the effort involved in throwing around that kind of bankroll. "I somewhat naively thought 'a couple of million' was two million. I had no doubt in my mind that a Psychonauts 2 would earn that money back easily," he recently wrote on Reddit.

"Turns out they wanted 18 million dollars, haha. I don't have the time at the moment to even try to get educated enough to make an eighteen million dollar deal. Perhaps in some distant future when I'm no longer trying to make games, I could get into angel investing," he continued. "I've made one private investment into a game so far, at 100k, and it's frankly a lot more work than I thought."

It's hard to have a whole lot of sympathy for a guy who's biggest problem with an $18 million deal isn't the $18 million but the hassle of setting it all up, and the comment about assuming that "'a couple of million' was two million" doesn't at all jibe with what Schafer said a year ago. But you can't really blame the guy for not wanting to throw away 18 million bucks just to impress strangers on the internet, either. Regardless of how you want to look at it (and let's be honest, criticizing Notch with any degree of seriousness for having a change of heart on this would be awfully silly), the bottom line remains the same: For the foreseeable future, the Psychonauts 2 brakes have been firmly applied.

Source: Reddit

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Why is it I'm getting to feeling that everyone is going to hate Notch now?

You know what? As much as I wanted the deal to go through, I can't help but laugh at the thought of indie champion Notch backing out of one $18 million dollar deal, when the 'evil' triple-A publishers go through with deals like that all the time.

I mean, $18 million isn't even a lot by current standards. That's the low end of the development budget today. And Notch should know that. If he honestly thought Double Fine would have been able to make a fully rendered 3D platformer with the same scale and scope as the original, for a couple of million dollars... how does a guy like that end up being one of the major indie players in the industry? I could have told you right from the outset that it would take more than a couple of million dollars to make a Psychonauts 2. A couple of million isn't enough for three-dimensional platformers. A couple of million is what you spend when you're making a high end 2.5D RPG like Project Eternity, or a sidescrolling 2D platformer.

Seriously, how could such a major industry player be so naive as to how much it would cost to make such a game?

And for the record... I'm kind of ok with not having a Psychonauts 2. It would have been nice, but I'm ok without it. Perhaps it's for the best. The original was such a unique game of its period, and so much time has passed since it came out, I think it would be best to leave it be. Not every good game needs a sequel. Some of the best games are the ones which stand alone, as a statement of where the industry was at the time. Hopefully, Double Fine will be able to continue working on original, creative games, as they're far too good to be shackled to one game or series.

Disappointing, but not all that surprising.

However, it doesn't eliminate the possibility that Notch could fund part of the game while allowing the rest to be financed through other methods such as crowd funding.

in other words:

i thought psychonauts would not cost that much to make so i am throwing random bullshit out to justify making one of the biggest gaming cook blocks of all time. OF ALL TIME!

since he would just be a investor, not a developer of that game. developement would remain with double fine.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
snip

same was said of system shock 1. then system shock 2 came....

anyways, he has the money but doesnt really want to spend that much on a game that has been praised to death but didnt make much money in return.

plus i bet he wanted to have the psychonauts i.p. or else he wouldn't say this

"I've made one private investment into a game so far, at 100k, and it's frankly a lot more work than I thought."

since most of the work would be on double fines side, he just had to give them money, judge an early build, make sure through payment that they complete milestones and just get the game out.

DVS BSTrD:
From the guy who just said he has so much money he doesn't know what to do with it? ~_~

he knows what to do with it.

troll the industry...

From the guy who just said he has so much money he doesn't know what to do with it? ~_~

Awww. Can totally get why he wouldn't want to just splurge all that cash on it though.

Notch was just blowing smoke back when he thought he was the King of the World. Now that things have settled down and he has a more realistic understanding of business and the industry, he likely realizes the claim he made back then was never going to fly. I'm not convinced he actually wants to run a company big enough to make 18-million-dollar investments to begin with.

I understand why Notch doesn't feel up to bankrolling such a big project and no hard feelings towards him at all.....

....
...
....

but I REALLY WANT PSYCHONAUGHTS 2 WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH :(

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
You know what? As much as I wanted the deal to go through, I can't help but laugh at the thought of indie champion Notch backing out of one $18 million dollar deal, when the 'evil' triple-A publishers go through with deals like that all the time.

I mean, $18 million isn't even a lot by current standards. That's the low end of the development budget today. And Notch should know that. If he honestly thought Double Fine would have been able to make a fully rendered 3D platformer with the same scale and scope as the original, for a couple of million dollars... how does a guy like that end up being one of the major indie players in the industry? I could have told you right from the outset that it would take more than a couple of million dollars to make a Psychonauts 2. A couple of million isn't enough for three-dimensional platformers. A couple of million is what you spend when you're making a high end 2.5D RPG like Project Eternity, or a sidescrolling 2D platformer.

Seriously, how could such a major industry player be so naive as to how much it would cost to make such a game?

And for the record... I'm kind of ok with not having a Psychonauts 2. It would have been nice, but I'm ok without it. Perhaps it's for the best. The original was such a unique game of its period, and so much time has passed since it came out, I think it would be best to leave it be. Not every good game needs a sequel. Some of the best games are the ones which stand alone, as a statement of where the industry was at the time. Hopefully, Double Fine will be able to continue working on original, creative games, as they're far too good to be shackled to one game or series.

$18 million isn't a lot? Maybe by AAA publisher standards where they spend ludicrously excessive amounts of cash on administrative costs and marketing. Chris Roberts brought up a chart of manpower costs when he was explaining why he was asking for as much money as he was for Star Citizen. Let's look at that, shall we?

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So the total cost(including equipment and software) for a member of a game development team(aside from those QA peasants) is around $127,571 per year. So let's assume a long development time: 5 years. $18M would pay for a 28 man team for 5 years. Frankly, I think that 28 people may be a bit of overkill for a platformer, as is a 5 year development cycle. $18M is quite a lot of money when you don't have to feed CEOs and plaster your game's image on every major television network every 10 minutes.

Normally I wouldn't bat an eye and simply say "Yeah, that's reasonable. I know I would be cautious with that much money.", but yesterday's announcement now has me confused. After all, an $18 million backing is a good way to spend your fortune that you yourself said you didn't know what to do with. If it was "I decided to spend this $18 million to help fund lesser known projects" that would be one thing, but now I'm just confused.

Good.

I've been saying for two years now that the guy better show some fiscal restraint, because i doubt 0xTC is going to have the same kind of legs as minecraft.

If lightening strikes, make sure you can live out your years not in a gutter before frittering it away and hoping for a second bolt.

Okay, so I noticed "Psychonauts 2" in the article's title and got really, really excited. I thought that maybe the game's already in development and the devs are using Kickstarter and Notch decided not to back it for some reason. Then I read the whole article.
I think I'll go shoot myself or something.

Yes he has a lot of new money. No he does not want to invest it in an IP that has a poor track record for income returns. Can you blame him for not wanting to make an investment that is questionable at best and potentially high risk, low benefit? Oh wait this is the internet. Of course you can. There's a difference between investing in a game project and creating or investing into a charity. With charities you can immediately see the results and whether or not that money was squandered to the heads or actually used as it was meant to be. This is a business proposition, plain and simple. There's a reason why the AAA publishers haven't invested into this project. Why should the new money then do it?

Andy Chalk:
"I somewhat naively thought 'a couple of million' was two million. I had no doubt in my mind that a Psychonauts 2 would earn that money back easily,"

I have a feeling he's just afraid it's not gonna sell... again....

I don't why he's being villainized so much, honestly. Yeah, it sucks that he went back on his word, and his reasoning is kind of meh.
But you can't really say 'just' 18 million dollars. That's a lot.
It doesn't matter how much that is relatively speaking, that's a tonne of money to be casually thrown around

Scars Unseen:
So the total cost(including equipment and software) for a member of a game development team(aside from those QA peasants) is around $127,571 per year. So let's assume a long development time: 5 years. $18M would pay for a 28 man team for 5 years. Frankly, I think that 28 people may be a bit of overkill for a platformer, as is a 5 year development cycle. $18M is quite a lot of money when you don't have to feed CEOs and plaster your game's image on every major television network every 10 minutes.

Excessive? You still need to pay for the building lease and maintenance of the office, the support staff for IT, admin for managing paperwork for benefits and stuff (do you want to deal with the paper work and also work on the game too?) and of course, and you always need to advertise to drum up interest and such - sending people to cons and expos, paying for booths and displays. Heck, even a person with a camera for the "Making of..." video.

And oh yeah, Doublefine is based in San Francisco which is like the most expensive city to live and work in. So you'd probably doubling the cost of those averages listed.

There's a lot of back end costs people just simply aren't aware of in the game dev industry.

k. We knew this last year when Notch changed his mind like an asshat and said he was just joking right after claiming he was serious. And thus also no, it is not silly to be upset with him over it. You don't say "I'm serious" and then turn around and say "I was just joking and everyone took it seriously for no reason wah wah wah!" unless you want people to think you're an asshole.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOtch!

And seriously: I don't blame him(even though he took my hope away after arousing it) - it's his cash. His lots of cash.
But isn't 18M a relatively small budget nowadays? Even when we talk about a game that isn't necessarily in AAA segment?

Harker067:
I understand why Notch doesn't feel up to bankrolling such a big project and no hard feelings towards him at all.....

....
...
....

but I REALLY WANT PSYCHONAUGHTS 2 WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH :(

And you have summed up quite possibly everyone's thoughts in a nutshell. I salute you.

Dang shame. But I still believe that Psychonauts 2 will happen, we'll just have to be patient.

I don't hate Notch for backing out. It's the smart and reasonable choice.

I hate Notch for being the kind of arrogant and pretentious douchebag to make random claims without consulting any of his business partners, doing any research, or thinking them through. The phone, email, face to face meetings: all better ways to make initial contact about a multi-million dollar deal than twitter.

He wanted to reap the popularity and goodwill of the internet by making a big show, and he's earned whatever he gets.

Scars Unseen:

Holy well-spoken post, Batman! +5 internets to you, Scars.

If these numbers are correct, I find it completely plausible that Notch was surprised by the 18M bill for this project.

no one should be mad at notch if he doesn't have the money he doesn't have the money

I'm more shocked by the $18M price tag than anything else

We see 3D indie games all the time on a budget of free

bearlotz:

Scars Unseen:

Holy well-spoken post, Batman! +5 internets to you, Scars.

If these numbers are correct, I find it completely plausible that Notch was surprised by the 18M bill for this project.

28 people is too much for a full 3D Game? Not really. Nooo way is that too little. You're also forgetting costs associated with distribution, marketing and sales, legal, the whole nine yards. What DoubleFine is doing is making sure that they have the talent to get this game done correctly so that it doesn't squander its kickstarter money as well as the name of the brand. That's not cheap.

And Notch? Notch is what we would call "lucky". He got to invest 100k of his own money into a game and watch it produce millions. Not many have that opportunity. The problem? It gets to his head. He takes the concept and full look of Infiniminer, slaps on some RPG Elements that most of the people who play the game don't care about (a lot of servers even run with it off), and now he feels can comment on anything in the gaming industry and make commitments that are far over his head.

Helloooooo ego.

DVS BSTrD:
From the guy who just said he has so much money he doesn't know what to do with it? ~_~

He could give me some of it > > I'll put it to good use.

Edit: Such is life. No big deal, I'll probably keep buying Double Fines games just because they're fun.

Zombie_Moogle:
I'm more shocked by the $18M price tag than anything else

We see 3D indie games all the time on a budget of free

The original Psychonauts cost $13 million itself. Brutal Legend cost around $20 million. That's just the way the industry runs. Not only do you have to pay the programmers and the artists, but the admin, voice actors, QA staff, marketers, composers, sound effects guys...

There is a shitload of investment needed for any 3D game with high production values. Even 2D games are expensive. braid cost Jonathan Blow around $200,000 to develop, and it's a sprite game.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
You know what? As much as I wanted the deal to go through, I can't help but laugh at the thought of indie champion Notch backing out of one $18 million dollar deal, when the 'evil' triple-A publishers go through with deals like that all the time.

I mean, $18 million isn't even a lot by current standards. That's the low end of the development budget today. And Notch should know that. If he honestly thought Double Fine would have been able to make a fully rendered 3D platformer with the same scale and scope as the original, for a couple of million dollars... how does a guy like that end up being one of the major indie players in the industry? I could have told you right from the outset that it would take more than a couple of million dollars to make a Psychonauts 2. A couple of million isn't enough for three-dimensional platformers. A couple of million is what you spend when you're making a high end 2.5D RPG like Project Eternity, or a sidescrolling 2D platformer.

Seriously, how could such a major industry player be so naive as to how much it would cost to make such a game?

And for the record... I'm kind of ok with not having a Psychonauts 2. It would have been nice, but I'm ok without it. Perhaps it's for the best. The original was such a unique game of its period, and so much time has passed since it came out, I think it would be best to leave it be. Not every good game needs a sequel. Some of the best games are the ones which stand alone, as a statement of where the industry was at the time. Hopefully, Double Fine will be able to continue working on original, creative games, as they're far too good to be shackled to one game or series.

Because... Psychonauts is an INDIE title. If indie games always costed $18mil to make, then I guarantee you wouldn't see many. Granted that it is a larger game than most indie titles, but it is an indie title none the less.

2 mil is also WAY above what's required for a sidescrolling 2D platformer... I can guarantee you that sidescrolling games do not cost that much money...

And no, $18mil is not a small amount by current standards. That amount of money is enough to create a major title. Notch is the developer of an indie game, he expected to back up an indie game, he thought that the amount of money he'd need to pay would be a little over that of what's required of an indie game.

Sorry but even if Notch is the creator of one of the largest indie titles, he doesn't have as much money as major publishers. He doesn't even have as much money coming in as he did back when Minecraft was selling at a much higher rate.

And on an off note: Just because someone has a lot of money, it doesn't mean that they're able to throw ALL OF IT at different people. The world just isn't that kind.

It would not have bothered me at all if he hadn't just gone on about how much money he has and how he doesn't know what to do with it all.

Oh well.

subtlefuge:
I hate Notch for being the kind of arrogant and pretentious douchebag to make random claims without consulting any of his business partners, doing any research, or thinking them through. The phone, email, face to face meetings: all better ways to make initial contact about a multi-million dollar deal than twitter.

So you expect a random guy somewhere in the world to get ahold of some other random guy completely unrelated to him by using methods which require a pre established relationship?

Twitter was a simple and easy method for Notch... And research? Sorry but how is he supposed to figure out the price of an unannounced game that he's not working on?

Also, I'm pretty sure they did have face to face meetings, email exchanges and phone calls... Else they wouldn't have had discussions to discuss the pricing would they?

Think before you type.

Good on notch, 18m is a bit excessive for a platformer.

A Smooth Criminal:

subtlefuge:
I hate Notch for being the kind of arrogant and pretentious douchebag to make random claims without consulting any of his business partners, doing any research, or thinking them through. The phone, email, face to face meetings: all better ways to make initial contact about a multi-million dollar deal than twitter.

So you expect a random guy somewhere in the world to get ahold of some other random guy completely unrelated to him by using methods which require a pre established relationship?

Twitter was a simple and easy method for Notch... And research? Sorry but how is he supposed to figure out the price of an unannounced game that he's not working on?

Also, I'm pretty sure they did have face to face meetings, email exchanges and phone calls... Else they wouldn't have had discussions to discuss the pricing would they?

Think before you type.

Um... how about Notch thinks before he acts. He committed to backing a game without knowing how much it would cost. He did so without consulting anyone within his company for any real numbers, or any real numbers from DoubleFine. If you read this article, then, you'll find that he made an assumption based on his rather trivial investment in Minecraft (100k dollars), and then applied that to another game project. He then -reached out- to Tim Schaffer and said that he would help make Psychonauts 2 happen. Tim wasn't begging him for money. Notch reached OUT to him! If I remember right, Tim got an email from Notch that said "Let's make Psychonauts 2 Happen", or something along those lines.

Then he has the gall to say, "Oh, well 18 million is a lot of money! Silly me! How could they spend such an amount? I made millions off of Minecraft after investing 100k!"

The guy lives in a bubble of his own ego. He needs a reality check, because when he speaks, he often comes across as disconnected.

erttheking:
Why is it I'm getting to feeling that everyone is going to hate Notch now?

I won't say I hate Notch, not for this really, but I will say this:

I fucking called it!!

A year ago, when Notch made a big show of telling Tim Schaffer, "Psychonauts 2, let's make it happen.", I was as excited as just about everyone else. I'm a big fan of the first game, so the prospect of another delighted me.

However, I know Notch. Or rather, I know how he acts. As such, given his tendency to talk big but inevitably flake on his responsibilities, I knew...just KNEW...he'd back out of the deal. I seriously hoped this time would be different, but seeing as it's not, I'm not surprised.

But hey, he got what he wanted. Practically a year of love, praise, and admiration from the 'net community for "standing up" to the big-bad-triple-A studios and promising to fund a sequel to a series that was considered a financial failure.

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