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Notch can pony up $13 million for Psychonauts 2, he assures

Wednesday, 15th February 2012 00:26 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Mojang boss Markus “Notch” Persson didn’t hesitate when Double Fine boss Tim Schafer said he’d need a lot of money for Psychonauts 2.

The two got in touch after Persson extended an offer of funding on Twitter. Describing the conversation to Kotaku, Schafer said he floated the $13 million mark because that’s how much the first Psychonauts cost.

“As soon as I mentioned the amount of money he said, ‘Yeah, I can do that,’” Schafer recalled.

The Minecraft creator apologised for making his initial offer so publicly.

“He said he had no idea it would get picked up like this. He said, ‘Sorry for putting you on the spot, I didn’t realize it would go so big,’” Scahfer said.

“I feel like I was being proposed to on the jumbotron at the baseball game.”

Nothing has been confirmed yet, but Schafer said even if it isn’t Psychonauts 2, he’d like to work with Persson.

“He’s been pretty successful. And, when you look into it, it’s a really inspiring story. He’s just a regular guy. He didn’t do anything sleazy to get it. He just made it himself, distributed it himself, it’s a great story,” he said.

“I think we have a lot to learn from him, so I’d like to do something with him. And I’d like to make Psychonauts 2.”

A sequel was always planned, Schafer revealed.

“We had a lot of plot elements that were backstory in that game that we planned on revisiting in the future and tying it back in,” he said.

“We had a longer story arc planned for those characters. I have ideas to take them to a more international setting.”

Thanks, Shack.

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17 Comments

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  1. Phoenixblight

    Get ready to eat your pants, Pat. :P

    #1 2 years ago
  2. DSB

    I wouldn’t dream of trying to make Pat feel better, but a 15 million dollar game 7 years ago is bound to be a bit pricier today.

    Still, with 13 million dollars you really just need to call a few people who know some people and shake the trees. That’s a lot more than I thought Notch would offer.

    I’d say things are looking cloudy with a chance of pants.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. freedoms_stain

    @2, Notch said he could do $13 mil because that’s the number Schafer floated him, it’s not necessarily the max limit of his resources.

    I don’t really give a crap about the game, but if gets made out of this it’d be a fantastic story. A gaming Fairy Tale featuring two portly beardy blokes.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Patrick Garratt

    My pants are staying on. He may have the money, but that doesn’t mean it’ll happen. No pant soup for me.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Freek

    The reason Psychonaughts 2 hasn’t been funded yet is because the first one made no money.
    So if “Notch” is looking to burn away 13 million dollars, this would be a verry effecient way of doing that. My geuse is that he’s not prepared to risk wasting his money and possibly kill his buisiness over one game.

    And that 13 million is development budget for a PS2 era game, most likely not including a marketing budget.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Patrick Garratt

    That’s what my trousers are banking on, yes. I think the bottom line will be, “Am I prepared to lose $13 million?” I’m assuming the answer to that question will be negatory.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Old MacDonald

    On the other hand, a total failure is just as unlikely as a huge success. So realistically he knows he won’t lose $13 million just like that (unless the game is canned). Question is how much of it he’s willing to risk.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Patrick Garratt

    Well, let’s say it’s going to cost $30 day one. You have to pay your retailer (Steam, whatever). Steam takes 30-40% (ish; it varies depending on the client). So say they’re getting $20 back pre-tax at that point.

    To break even quickly they’d need to sell 650,000 units at full price. This is assuming costs don’t run over $13 million.

    If, for the sake of argument, the game ended up costing $20 million, they’re need to sell 1 million units at full price to break even.

    If the cost to the player was lower, say $15, I think it’s pretty easy to see why you’d have to be prepared to lose a great deal of money if you were going to front the entire project. You’re talking about millions of full-price units.

    We all know how long anything other than CoD, etc, remains full-price.

    And let’s say the retail cost is going to be higher than $30, as it could easily be when everyone involved does the maths. $40? $50? That’s triple-A, right? Triple-A is Call of Duty these days, because very high costs on games have to be smack in the middle of the mainstream market to limit risk.

    Obviously, this is just me pulling numbers out of my ass, but I guarantee there are many costs in there I haven’t considered. My pants feel safe.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Patrick Garratt

    Like, what if it only sold a few hundred thousand units in the first six months?

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Badger

    Whilst I cannot deny that logic Pat, I find it hard to think of Notch as a shrewd businessman, and I’m not sure if he will think the same way as you. I think of him more of a guy that likes to make games and play games. I know he’s not an idiot, that much is clear, but I feel that his love of games may overpower some financial worries he may have.

    If it was anyone else I’d tell you you’re right, but I dunno, I’d start pre-heating my oven ready for a good old-fashioned pant-roast.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Old MacDonald

    Pat: True enough, but I guess it all comes down to how much we, or rather they, think it’ll actually sell. It’s a tough one, because it’s obviously a game that a lot of people are very eager to try, but it does have a very ugly main character. So…

    I think it’ll sell better than the first one, at least. It’s a different market now. Between 500k and 1 million at full price is my guess, provided it’s released on multiple platforms.

    At any rate, I would not be surprised if Persson really is prepared to lose money on the project, and it’s not all or nothing.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Ireland Michael

    I think its a pretty sad state of affairs when people can’t seem to comprehend the simple possibility that someone may actually be willing to lose molah on something they’re passionate about.

    It doesn’t always have to be about money.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Patrick Garratt

    @10/11 – You’re right, I think. It does come down to how much he’s prepared to risk.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Patrick Garratt

    @12 – Of course it doesn’t. We’ll see.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. OrbitMonkey

    How can Notch have that much moolah?! I thought pc gaming was dead, cuz of teh pirates!!

    #15 2 years ago
  16. DSB

    I think you’re missing one important factor Pat: Time.

    Psychonauts may have been a toxic property in 2005, but it has had a life after that.

    It isn’t a sure thing, and it’s still risky, but it’s not hard to find publishers that are betting on “dead” IPs as their next great succes. I don’t think 2K are betting on X-Com being a great property, I don’t think that sort of thing matters to publishers, but they’re betting on people rallying around it 10 years after the series died.

    It’s the same with Psychonauts. It’s an excellent platformer, in my opinion the best one since Mario 64. You won’t just have the 5 people who bought it cheering for it, you’ll have all their friends who have heard them gush as well. Or even people on the internet who have heard them gush.

    That does make a difference. You can’t purely judge it on how much it hurt Majesco in 2005. It sold three times as much its second year.

    If anything, Steam has made it much easier to fund games this way. Retailers typically take 70%, Steam takes 30, which is far more appealing to private investors.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Virginityrocks

    @Patrick Psychonauts 1 may have failed in sales, but it now has a very dedicated following that the original didn’t have. It’s guaranteed to do at least as good as the original.

    #17 2 years ago