Notch Decides Not To Back Psychonauts 2

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Nocturnus:
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.

Oh wow, I forgot about the part where Notch signed a contract and Tim Schaffer jumped on board rather than running off to crowdfund some point and click adventure game.

Notch made no commitment. He expressed serious interest in privately funding Psychonauts 2. Then, after receiving an estimate of the cost, he decided he didn't want to invest $18M on the game. You say he should think before he acts, and that's what he did. Quit trying to demonize him for it.

Nocturnus:

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.

Ugh, read my post before you reply... Please... I hate it when people just half ass reading comments and replying to them, it just gets so tiresome.

And yes, Notched reached out to Tim Schafer. He wanted Psychonauts 2 and wanted to fund it for Tim Schafer, however it's kind of impossible for him to give more money than he can afford.

And a bubble of his own ego? You realize the same person you're talking about is a person who openly complemented Terraria, a direct competitor to Minecraft...

There are so many names I have for people who hate on Notch for not acting like he's the CEO of EA. Smart with common sense is not one of them.

And a bubble of his own ego? You realize the same person you're talking about is a person who openly complemented Terraria, a direct competitor to Minecraft...

Yes, he's said some things that are commendable. However, he also has a tendency to jump the shark and say things that are ... not very bright.

Remember the whole Windows 8 Comment that he made? Over them asking him to renew his certificate with Microsoft for the OS? What he didn't tell you was that he already did this for Windows 7, Vista, and XP. He also certed it for XBox Live, who's marketplace takes a 30% cut similar to Steam. Forgetting even the cert issue, why was he railing against W8? Because of the Windows Store, which.. takes a 30% cut. Similar to Steam. And similar to the service he's already using... XBoxLive Arcade.

The guy just doesn't think these things through when he gets heated and passionate. He'll make stupid statements and commitments without researching things, or assessing what he's already done that might contradict it.

And does he have an ego? Yes. Because with all that, he likes to speak as though he represents the entire Indy Gaming Community.

Does he say some good things? Yes. Does he fall flat on his face a lot? Heck yes. Does he have an ego? Better believe it. I mean, just a few days ago he was talking about how he had more money than he knew what to do with. Ugh...

Oh yeah, if not just developing on PC, I think each dev kit costs like $10k and at the end of the project you have to give it back (they don't reimburse you). And paying for support from them in case of hardware failures. And paying for the certify process for release for the consoles.

Also not just regular salaries but also paying for the voice actors too!

And maybe paying off any debt incurred from the past.

DF's webpage lists them at ~65 people. I don't know how they divvy up the project teams and all that, but it would suck if only the P2 people got the funding for the guestimated 28 people @ 5 years and left the other half to fend for themselves.

Nevermind that the various dev disciplines overlap their production periods all the time, as people transfer in and out, so you might as well fund the whole studio.

So $18 million / (65 people @ $127k cost) = ~2.17 years.

Suddenly that $18 million doesn't seem so large anymore, does it?

Even if it's quite high for a single person, they could still find a way: apparently Notch didn't have reservations when he thought it was 13 millions, perhaps the rest could be raised via crowdfunding given Schaefer already has experience with that process and there are tons of fans eagerly hoping for that game.

Well... looks like I just learned a little something about finances. Hardly was even expecting such.

It is for the best.

I would rather never have a Psychonauts 2. It makes the other one so unique and special. It was in a way one of the best worlds I got to explore and some amazing characters that I got to literally bump brains with. It would be like Grim Fandango 2.

I would love it, I would instantly buy it. But something about the 2 on the end just doesn't feel right.

Honestly speaking notch probably would not have made his money back from this game.

ThriKreen:

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.

Well gee. If only we had someone who has actually been and worked in the games industry hands on and can give us some insights with a topic in gaming discussion or something.

Where are we going to get one of those guys?

Wow, I thought 18m was a huge amount for the sequel to such a tiny cult classic, but then I went and looked up the original's budget. 13 million.

It's an interesting little game but my god it's hard to see how it was worth 13 million dollars. I'd say it was a smart decision by Notch, I really don't think the game is worth that much. I get that they have to pay employees, but when you see smaller companies making comparable games for much less, it's hard to justify.

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

Honestly, I'd assume the opposite, that Notch (as beloved as he is) would be defended for his decision, and Tim Schaffer (still beloved) would be demonised for his games.

ThriKreen:

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.

I'm gonna go ahead and believe the talentless hack who worked at Bioware and Volition (AND BEFORE ANYONE YELLS AT ME, READ HIS FORUM TITLE).

I don't blame Notch for this at all. Even if he has twenty million squirreled away, eighteen million is insanely expensive.

Luckily I'm human, so I've done the exact same thing a million times because I'm incredibly ignorant. Like, my knowledge is a drop in the ocean of information, the rest of said ocean I am ignorant of. Then, within that drop of knowledge, there's only one stable isotope of knowledge, while the rest is incorrect knowledge, undiscovered knowledge, baseless knowledge, and what I'm sure is more because my ignorance is tricky in that I don't know what I don't know because I don't know its a thing that I could know, and is entirely dependent on outside sources delivering it to me. It hasn't been a one time event, either. I have found that usually every time I learn something, I did not know it beforehand. No matter how hard I try to cover all my bases, I have been shown repeatedly, in every single bit of knowledge I've ever had, that I was missing crucial pieces that change everything, and if, when I was younger, someone had told a story about a man who was wrong, but thought he was right and tried to convince other people of it, and made decisions based on it for years, or months, or days, and then was shown some missing pieces that made him aware of his error, I'd have thought there was a hell and that was it. That's just life though, for humans, at least.
So, I'd have to be delusional or incredibly dense to expect anything else from people. I at least can be thankful when its an area I have knowledge in, so I can be of some use and share my strengths with those for whom it is a weakness, and when I make mistakes they can do the same for me. I can't imagine any human responding with judgement, criticism that isn't useful at all, unforgiving condemnation, or anything that indicates they don't understand, because they do.
Speaking of, I have some ignorance I need help with; when I don't like something, or have any negative emotions about something, it is ALWAYS lack of understanding. I set out to figure out what I don't understand and eliminate the lies that allow me to justify being a cancerous growth on said issue. Is that not always the case? Does understanding not always eliminate judgement? "THEY SHOUDLN'T HAVE" VS "I CAN SEE WHY", whether you like, dislike, agree, or disagree?
But, here I am, a human, rambling on in a thread populated by beings of pure, brilliant light, far superior to me in every way, who also make up the majority of the internet where said thread exists. I am humbled to even be allowed to post here. I do have trouble understanding that species, though, as I do not think I would ever enjoy judgement, even if I were to find perfection one day. I guess it doesn't feel disingenuous when you don't have to make mistakes to get there.
So, my feelings on the matter are as follows, as unimportant and useless as they are: I don't care, but if I did, I would be disappointed, because I know what it's like to have expectations that prove to be premature, or that took many liberties in establishing themselves where the liberties ended up not matching reality. Its always a thing to be grateful for that there is an opportunity here for people to become harder, better, faster, stronger.
On a side note, it looks like many of you could have prevented this, I trust all of you tried to contact Notch and requested to handle his business affairs back when this was first announced? If only I wasn't just as ignorant as Notch, even more so, and could not see this coming with any sort of certainty, or I'd have done it myself.

BoxKnocker:
Luckily I'm human, so I've done the exact same thing a million times because I'm incredibly ignorant. Like, my knowledge is a drop in the ocean of information, the rest of said ocean I am ignorant of. Then, within that drop of knowledge, there's only one stable isotope of knowledge, while the rest is incorrect knowledge, undiscovered knowledge, baseless knowledge, and what I'm sure is more because my ignorance is tricky in that I don't know what I don't know because I don't know its a thing that I could know, and is entirely dependent on outside sources delivering it to me. It hasn't been a one time event, either. I have found that usually every time I learn something, I did not know it beforehand. No matter how hard I try to cover all my bases, I have been shown repeatedly, in every single bit of knowledge I've ever had, that I was missing crucial pieces that change everything, and if, when I was younger, someone had told a story about a man who was wrong, but thought he was right and tried to convince other people of it, and made decisions based on it for years, or months, or days, and then was shown some missing pieces that made him aware of his error, I'd have thought there was a hell and that was it. That's just life though, for humans, at least.
So, I'd have to be delusional or incredibly dense to expect anything else from people. I at least can be thankful when its an area I have knowledge in, so I can be of some use and share my strengths with those for whom it is a weakness, and when I make mistakes they can do the same for me. I can't imagine any human responding with judgement, criticism that isn't useful at all, unforgiving condemnation, or anything that indicates they don't understand, because they do.
Speaking of, I have some ignorance I need help with; when I don't like something, or have any negative emotions about something, it is ALWAYS lack of understanding. I set out to figure out what I don't understand and eliminate the lies that allow me to justify being a cancerous growth on said issue. Is that not always the case? Does understanding not always eliminate judgement? "THEY SHOUDLN'T HAVE" VS "I CAN SEE WHY", whether you like, dislike, agree, or disagree?
But, here I am, a human, rambling on in a thread populated by beings of pure, brilliant light, far superior to me in every way, who also make up the majority of the internet where said thread exists. I am humbled to even be allowed to post here. I do have trouble understanding that species, though, as I do not think I would ever enjoy judgement, even if I were to find perfection one day. I guess it doesn't feel disingenuous when you don't have to make mistakes to get there.
So, my feelings on the matter are as follows, as unimportant and useless as they are: I don't care, but if I did, I would be disappointed, because I know what it's like to have expectations that prove to be premature, or that took many liberties in establishing themselves where the liberties ended up not matching reality. Its always a thing to be grateful for that there is an opportunity here for people to become harder, better, faster, stronger.
On a side note, it looks like many of you could have prevented this, I trust all of you tried to contact Notch and requested to handle his business affairs back when this was first announced? If only I wasn't just as ignorant as Notch, even more so, and could not see this coming with any sort of certainty, or I'd have done it myself.

Skipping to the only part that matters... uhh... not everyone has the patience to look up these kind of figures and consult Notch about them. That's sort of his and his financial advisors' responsibilities, not ours.

And as for Notch backing out of the deal... he has all the reason to do so. $18 M? For someone that's just getting into having all of that money, that's kind of a huge blow. I can understand why, when he's faced with an actual price tag, he's reluctant to go through with it.

We might not be getting Double Fine 2, but at least Notch isn't doing anything that would threaten Mojang.

At the time, I also understood that Schaffer meant 2-3 million. I also thought that was a ridiculously tiny amount for a game of that size. I think Schaffer should have given a more accurate figure from the beginning.

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

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.

The original Psychonauts cost $13 million back when 3D game engines weren't free & digital distribution had yet to gain widespread use, eliminating the cost of shipping discs. I absolutely love Psychonauts, but I've seen better looking games nowadays that were dev'd in a dorm room & distributed on mediafire

Also, & I might be over-estimating the brand here, but I feel like Psychonauts 2 would essentially advertise itself

He made $100 million last year and he backs out over $18 million. This doesn't piss me off because he has more money than he knows what to do with; after all I am a capitalist (sort of). What gets me is how he expected it to not cost around $18 million when that is on the low end of the spectrum in terms of large studio development. It just shows a serious lack of foresight and knowledge of how the industry works past the indie level.

A Smooth Criminal:

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

Because... Psychonauts is an INDIE title.(...)

Is it? Nowadays every game that isn't released by major publisher(EA, Acti etc.) is considered a "indie" title, but i remember that first Psychonauts was just a normal game made by not-so-big studio, when it came out.

Scars Unseen:

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?

image

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.

Thanks for that, that was pretty insightful actually.

I had a thought that 18 mil was grossly over budget for what essentially is an 'indie' platformer. If I'm honest with myself, Psychonauts wasn't really more fun to play than some of the other platformers I've played of late and they clocked in at a fraction of that cost.

I'd be cautious with 18 million as well, so I don't blame him given Psychonauts' track record. That's a lot of fucking money, and 5 million more than Schafer originally cited. That said...he himself is at a bit of a loss as to what to do with his fortune, so I'd have thought this was something worthwhile anyway.

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

I mean, $18 million isn't even a lot by current standards.

Serious question, can I ask what the standard amount for a game is these days? I was under the impression that all bare the highest end videogames cost way less than that.

Considering we're seeing games like Strike Suit Zero, which looks pretty impressive, on a budget of just 100,000 dollars, why is a game like Psychonauts 2 needing 18million?

I knew he'd never go through with it.
Notch has to be one of the biggest internet trolls around.

Could anyone please tell Notch he can use email for negotiating his business affairs? This could save him some embarrassment in situations like this one.

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