Psychonauts

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Psychonauts
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Developer(s) Double Fine Productions
Publisher(s) Majesco
Release date(s) April 19, 2005
Genre Adventure
Mode(s) Single player
Rating(s) ESRB: Teen (T)
Platform(s) Xbox, PlayStation 2, PC

Psychonauts is a platform game developed by Double Fine Productions and released on April 19, 2005 for the Microsoft Xbox, the Sony PlayStation 2, and the PC. It was the first game from Double Fine, a company founded in July 2000 by Tim Schafer, well known for his previous work on graphical adventure games at LucasArts.

In Psychonauts, the player controls Raz (short for Razputin), a mysterious new arrival at a cadet training camp for Psychonauts - elite special agents who are deployed to gather information by using psychic powers to enter people's minds. After arriving, Raz discovers that someone is abducting cadets from the camp with the purpose of stealing their brains. He must discover who is behind this sinister plot and stand against this evil.

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A Psychonauts screenshot featuring Raz.

Psychonauts combines traditional console platformer elements with the kind of strong storytelling, humour and dialogue found in adventure games. The game features ten levels, each of which let the player enter a different person's mind. Each of these levels therefore has its own unique visual design and set of challenges, related to the demons, nightmares and secret memories of the mind that Raz is exploring. Three other levels are set within the real world, making a total of thirteen levels. As the player progresses through the game, Raz acquires new psychic powers, including telekinesis, invisibility (perhaps a reference to the Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four), pyrokinesis, clairvoyance, and confusion. These are directly involved in the puzzle-solving aspects of the game, which tailor to the player's own playing strengths.

Tim Schafer's team was partly comprised of several people he worked with on Grim Fandango at LucasArts. Amongst the art design crew was background artist Peter Chan and cartoonist Scott Campbell. Voice actor Richard Steven Horvitz, best known for his portrayal of Zim in the animated television series Invader Zim, provides the voice of the game's protagonist; Raz.

Originally, Psychonauts was to be published by Microsoft for release exclusively on their Xbox console, but in March 2004, Microsoft pulled out of this deal. It emerged in August 2004 that Double Fine had negotiated a new publishing deal with Majesco to release the game on the PC as well as the Xbox. Tim Schafer was quoted as saying "Together we are going to make what could conservatively be called the greatest game of all time ever, and I think that's awesome." In October 2004, it was revealed that Psychonauts would be released on yet another platform, the PlayStation 2, ported by Budcat Creations. The final US release date for the game, on Xbox and PC, was April 19, 2005. The PS2 version is set to ship in the US on June 21, 2005.

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