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Psychonauts Parts Ways With Microsoft 29

Posted by simoniker
from the floating-away dept.
Thanks to IGN Xbox for its article revealing that long-awaited Xbox platform title Psychonauts has been dropped by publisher Microsoft. According to an official statement: "Microsoft Game Studios has made the decision to end its publishing agreement with DoubleFine... [It] believes in the vision of the title and would like to see the game on Xbox... [and] is supporting Tim Schafer and DoubleFine in their search for a new publisher." There are some fine-looking comics on DoubleFine's news page, but no comment as yet from the developers regarding plans for one of the most long-awaited, intriguing-to-many Xbox platform/action games.
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Psychonauts Parts Ways With Microsoft

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  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fortunato_NC (736786) <verlinh75@m[ ]com ['sn.' in gap]> on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @11:13PM (#8722089) Homepage Journal
    I think the takeaway message is, if Microsoft still supports the game's vision, then it's probably that the execution has a lot of problems. These guys should probably take a long hard look at the game before earnestly finding a new publisher and bringing the game to marker.
    • Because Microsoft never fudges the truth in press releases/news articles.
    • Re:Hmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Black Hitler (687112)
      Supposedly the graphics, story and dialogue are there but the actual gameplay isn't coming along too well. After all this time and money I imagine MS had pretty high expectations. Of course MS has been canning titles right and left over the past couple of weeks (Mythica, the Xbox sports lineup, the next Oddworld game) so there's definitely some internal politics involved as well.
  • Want my card? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superultra (670002) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @11:23PM (#8722134) Homepage
    The sports series, I understand. Oddworld made sense. Tork, of course. Ed Fries getting canned was a little mystifying, but the "high" knowledge that is company politik is not for us to speculate on.

    But this. This? This sounds like someone at Microsoft accidently hit the delete button on their Projects Pending page. This was the one artistically creative title Microsoft had going for it, and now it's gone. I think that this represents the end of all that high talk of art and creation and a gaming revolution that floated around the launch of Xbox1 from Seamus and his colleagues.

    What does Microsoft have now? Halo and Fable? Halo 2 will be Halo, but not as repetitive. Fable? Based on the hands-on previews that have been surfacing, it might be fun but really is, at heart, a traditional European adventure/RPG. Whoopie. Psychonauts was the one creative spark Microsoft seemed to have left in it, and that is now extinguished.

    Well, I'm turning in my Microsoft fanboy card. In fact, I'm selling my video gaming fanboy card on ebay at a Buy It Now price of $10.36 so can I buy Hickee [amazon.com] which, I'm told, is drawn by some of the Double Fine Team. This industry blows its official licensed and franchised chunks and it got all over my damn shirt. If games like REZ and ICO and Beyond Good and Evil and Prince of Persia don't sell, and games like Sam and Max and Psychonauts don't even see the light of day, consider me officialy disfranchised.

    Screw this joint. I'm picking up books. Or gardening. I hear gardening is fun.

    You can't hide from the Grim Reaper. Especially when he's got a gun. - Manuel Calavera, Grim Fandango
    • What does Microsoft have now?

      Dungeon Siege 2 [microsoft.com] sounds like a nice prospect. Of course, I'm a big fan of part 1 and Legends of Aranna, so I might be biased.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I haven't read "Hickee" but it appears to be edited by Graham Annable, who in addition to being a great cartoonist, was working on the animation for Sam & Max 2. What I am wondering is if Craig Thompson is involved in Double Fine--the logo certainly looks like his style.
    • Re:Want my card? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DeadScreenSky (666442)
      Just wanted to point out that the newest Prince of Persia sold really well. It just took a while to build sales momentum. Its 'sales death' has been greatly exaggerated.

      (And in my opinion, Beyond Good and Evil didn't deserve to sell all much more than it did. I want the other half, or more, of the storyline that for some reason wasn't in the game. Hell, I would just be happy if I could get a good story period, like most reviewers claimed it had.)
      • BG&E's strength wasn't in it's amazing story, but in it's original, well rounded characters. They were well acted, sincere and had depth - so you actually felt a bit of a bond with them. Plus, the Hyllian world was just dripping with charm and was a treat to explore.

        I think it was one of the best (if a little short) games I played through last year.
  • by SuperRob (31516) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @11:33PM (#8722172) Homepage
    Microsoft has a nasty habit of offering developers everything under the sun for an exclusive title published by Redmond, then dragging out the process for so long that it no longer fits in the schedule and it gets cancelled.

    Something incredibly similar happened to Boss Game Studios and a phenomenal racing game they had scheduled for the LAUNCH of the Xbox. It was a follow-up to the critically acclaimed "World Driver Championship" on Nintendo 64, but it never got released despite being 98% finished.

    The problem is that Microsoft had Project Gotham Racing scheduled for Launch as well. Microsoft pushed back "Racer X", and pushed it back, and pushed it back ... all because they didn't want scheduling conflicts with other games like Midtown Madness and what not. Boss used the extra time to continue to tune and polish, even adding a few new features.

    Eventually, the window of opportunity for what was a unique GT racer (including things like body kits ... this was YEARS before The Fast and the Furious, and Need For Speed Underground), and Microsoft severed the publishing agreement. Despite having the game nearly complete, they couldn't get another publisher to pick it up, and the result was Boss ceasing operations.

    Unfortunately, it looks like history is going to repeat itself. For some reason, publishers won't release nearly finished games, and I can't figure out why, since it would be nearly all profit ... the development costs were already spent!

    Now I can hear some of you saying that if the game was any good, this wouldn't happen. I can tell you from first-hand experience that this is not always the case, and frequently couldn't be farther from the truth. This happens all over, and not just with the smaller development houses either. You just don't always hear about the cancellations. And when it happen inside major companies (first-parties like Nintendo, for example), sometimes those projects can be resurrected later (Majora's Mask on GameCube being a key example).
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Majora's Mask on GameCube being a key example

      Majora's Mask was released on the Nintendo 64. Isn't "Ocarina of Time: Master Quest" the game you are referring to?
      • "Majora's Mask was released on the Nintendo 64. Isn't "Ocarina of Time: Master Quest" the game you are referring to?"

        No, I'm referring to the fact that Ocarina of Time and Majora's Mask were in development at NST (Nintendo Software Technology) at the same time, but only Ocarina was released (as a bonus disc) and Majora was subsequently canned. Months later, they resurrected the project, and released the game as part of the Zelda compilation disc for GameCube.

        Note that Majora on GameCube has a sound bug t
    • Now I can hear some of you saying that if the game was any good, this wouldn't happen. I can tell you from first-hand experience that this is not always the case, and frequently couldn't be farther from the truth. This happens all over, and not just with the smaller development houses either.

      So in other words, Microsoft is just like every other game company in this regard, despite what your opening paragraph seems to imply.
  • by oskillator (670034) on Tuesday March 30, 2004 @11:48PM (#8722285)
    I was afraid I'd have to buy an X-Box to play the game developed by two of my heroes, Tim Schafer (of LucasArts) and Erik Wolpaw (of Old Man Murray). Now? Now, I have hope.

    I also have hope that Erik will be writing more updates for the DoubleFine news [doublefine.com] page.

  • Microsoft is not going to publish the game. So now, Double Fine is looking for a publisher for the X-Box game. Is there a chance, then, that the game will come out for other platforms? It looks like fun, but I don't own an Xbox. (BTW--the game hasn't been pulled from the Microsoft games site [microsoft.com] yet.)
  • These comics are about as funny as Ziggy.
  • by Doches (761288)
    First console game i've ever seen that reminded me of...

    MONKEY ISLAND!!!
    ...and it gets dumped in favor of some MS-house Myst clone. Tragic.
  • MS (and every gamedev) is now realizing that old franchises with new technology and (sometimes) gameplay, have more chances to succeed over new ones. Want to know Why? Fanbases and instant name recognition, a new franchise (most of the time) doesnt have a following base even if its a quality product (beyond good and evil) it has a good 50% chance of not being recognized due to this.

    Yeah I Know a lot of "retro" games have never pulled it off and some have even been cancelled. but MS is just checking numbe

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