Psychonauts originally started life as a peyote trip scene in Full Throttle

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The idea for Psychonauts originally began life in developer Tim Schaefer’s previous project, Full Throttle, during his time at LucasArts.

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As detailed in Retro Gamer issue 228, Psychonauts developer and head of Double Fine Tim Schaefer originally had the idea for the 3D platformer while working on his biker adventure game. According to Schaefer: “I studied dreams in college, and thinking about how people represent emotional states in abstract imagery and metaphors, especially in their sleep, was always interesting to me.”

Fast forward to when Schaefer was working on 1995’s LucasArts title, the studio chief says: “At full throttle, I wanted to do this interactive peyote trip where Ben would take peyote across the desert and then turn his brain around. Will turn around.” As fans of the game will already know, the idea didn’t really make its way into the final game, as Schaefer explains: “[It] Didn’t really seem to fit within full throttle.”


However, this was not the end of Schaefer’s concept, as he also tried to use the idea of ​​exploring one’s subconscious in an unreleased LucasArts spy game, where the developer sought to gain information through the idea and philosophy of meditation. played along.

According to Schaefer: “I was pitching it to people and afterward someone was like, ‘Hey, what about that game where you get into other people’s minds? No, you go to your mind. But wait a second… it’s better!’ So, I’ve started contemplating that over the years.”

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This 2005 psychedelic platformer became Psychonauts as we know it now, and more than a decade later, Psychonauts 2 – which was released in August 2021. “It all came from brainstorming on the great psychic powers that people fantasize about, and how you can puzzle,” Schaefer revealed in the interview.

You can read the full story of how Psychonauts and its sequel Psychonauts 2 got started Retro Gamer issue 228 – which you can pick up here,

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