What we heard: People just love rumors about Double Fine's next game. Speculation and rumors about Brütal Legend have been kicking around the Internet for months. And with that game just announced last week, rumors have already started building about the developer's next game, supposedly a sequel to its last game.
The "projects" page on Double Fine Productions' Web site was recently updated with a teaser banner bearing the likeness of Psychonauts star Raz, with the words "Coming Soon" pasted across it. Speculation on blog sites ran the gamut from a full-fledged sequel to a Wii port of the original.
Double Fine founder Tim Schafer has made no secret of his desire to make another Psychonauts, but a new Psychonauts project doesn't make sense right now. Double Fine no doubt has its hands full making Brütal Legend. Even if it didn't, there's still the issue of what publisher would be willing to pick up the franchise.
The original received a warm critical reception, but nothing close to what one would expect given the game's increasingly hallowed reputation, and it sold poorly. The game's original publisher, Majesco, has retreated into the handheld and casual publishing business, so it would seem an unlikely candidate. Meanwhile, other publishers are likely to look at the original game's sales and have difficulty justifying a port or a sequel right now, no matter how many forumgoers profess their undying love for Psychonauts.
For Schafer to ever get another Psychonauts made, he will need more leverage with publishers. The best way to get that leverage is to make a game that sells boatloads and avoids creating a stigma that Double Fine makes critically lauded commercial flops. Given its over-the-top violence, easily grasped story (rock n' roll roadie takes hell by storm), and celebrity tie-in (Jack Black plays the roadie), Brütal Legend seems like an ideal candidate for Double Fine's first big hit.
But until the company has such a game under its belt and can point to sales figures that will convince publishing executives the studio's games are a good investment, don't expect much news on the Psychonauts front.
The official story: "I wish! No, we are just putting up a new page for the old (Excellent) game. Sheesh. How many games do these people think we can do at once?"--Tim Schafer.
Bogus or not bogus?: Sadly, bogus.