Psychonauts publishing deal goes sour

Microsoft ends its agreement to distribute Double Fine's Xbox platformer.

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Microsoft lightened its publishing load today when it released the following statement: “Microsoft Game Studios has made the decision to end its publishing agreement with [developer] Double Fine for the upcoming Xbox game Psychonauts."

Microsoft gave no rationale for its decision but did say it still "believes in the vision of the title and would like to see the game on Xbox." Microsoft also added that it was "supporting" Double Fine's search for a new publisher but did not go into details.

The news came as a shock to those following Psychonauts, which looked like it had the makings of a cult hit (and has no relation to the Mo' Wax remix album of the same name). Unveiled at E3 2002, the platformer follows a young psi-spy wannabe who earns merit badges for invading people's minds. The game's 3D visuals are as twisted as the subject, feeling like Jak & Daxter crossed with The Nightmare Before Christmas. The nonclairvoyant can read GameSpot's preview for more information on the game.

Psychonauts was designed by LucasArts alumnus and Double Fine chief Tim Schafer, creator of highly acclaimed adventure games such as Grim Fandango and Full Throttle. Unfortunately, attempts to contact Schafer had met with no results as of press time.

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