Psychonauts 2 is the game that nearly never was, but that will now, thanks to the modern wonders of crowdfunding, eventually, hopefully be. And that still-distant day has drawn just a tiny bit nearer with the unveiling of Psychonauts 2's "First Playable" milestone level.
In a new blog post revealing the stage, Tim Schafer has explained a little about what "First Playable" actually means. Despite its name, it's not exactly the first playable level from the final game; rather, it's the first time that all of Double Fine's workflows and pipelines have come together, forming the team's "first big attempt to create a fully arted up, fully playable chunk of gameplay with all the systems, art, gameplay, and tech working in the same place".
Schafer stresses that this isn't a level of final, shippable quality, but rather "a fully playable area that has all the things a level of the game should have: elements like player movement, combat, quests, experience, UI all working together with scratch dialogue and audio, some rough visual effects, textures, lighting, even a cut-scene". From this point on, the quarry-themed stage can be iterated and refined into its ultimate form.
Last time we saw something approaching a working Psychonauts 2 level was back in February, when Double Fine demoed an early art test version of the same quarry-themed level that has reemerged today. This new version, of course, is much evolved, with actual gameplay included this time around. Its arrival means that the game has moved just that little bit closer to achieving its projected 2018 release.
Elsewhere in the latest Psychonauts 2 update, the team builds a goat.