Double Fine will be able to finish it without crunch, which is nice.
Over tʜᴇ ʙʀᴇᴀᴋ, Double Fɪɴe ᴘʀᴏᴠɪᴅᴇd ᴀɴ ᴜᴘdᴀᴛe ᴏɴ tʜᴇ stᴀᴛe ᴏꜰ tʜᴇ studio's ᴄᴜʀʀᴇɴᴛ project Psychᴏɴauts 2 ɪɴ tʜᴇ ꜰᴏʀm ᴏꜰ a nɪɴe-mɪɴute video hosted ʙʏ Tim Schafer. Wᴇᴀʀɪɴg a Chrɪstmᴀs sᴡᴇᴀᴛer wɪᴛh tʜᴇ Double Fɪɴe's ᴛᴡᴏ-ʜᴇaded ʙᴀʙʏ ᴏɴ ɪᴛ, ʜᴇ festively explaɪɴs thᴀᴛ "ᴀʟʟ tʜᴇ ʟᴇᴠᴇʟs ᴀʀᴇ ɪɴ tʜᴇ ɢᴀᴍᴇ" ᴀɴd wʜᴇn tʜᴇ ᴅᴇᴠᴇʟᴏᴘers ᴄᴏᴍᴇ ʙᴀᴄᴋ ꜰʀᴏᴍ tʜᴇir ʙʀᴇᴀᴋ tʜᴇy'll ʙᴇ ꜰɪɴɪsʜɪɴg ᴀɴd polɪshɪɴg ɪᴛ. As tʜᴇ video descriptiᴏɴ sᴀʏs, "2020 wᴀs a dᴀɴg strᴀɴge tiᴍᴇ ʙᴜᴛ Psychᴏɴauts 2 ɪs ᴅᴏɪɴg ᴡᴇll ᴀɴd ᴡɪʟʟ releᴀse ɴᴇxᴛ yᴇᴀʀ."
Double Fine's working process has changed, as this update shows. The studio committed to making Psychonauts 2 without crunch, and as Schafer says, "On the first game that was one of the worst crunch modes we've ever done." The other change is that everyone's working from home, and much of the video is footage taken from their Zoom calls, which means you get to see which staff members use backgrounds. (Schafer's is the "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" scene from The Shining.)
Double Fine seems to have made the best of work-from-home, and Schafer has become something of an "internal game streamer", playing each build while other members of the team watch and comment so the whole thing can be recorded for later analysis. You can see him jumping around various parts of Psychonauts 2 as the developers decide to cut a tram from a section or fix a problem with eyeballs detaching from the heads of some skeleton people.
As well as revisiting the completed levels, they'll apparently be working on the cutscenes, end credits, front-end menu, and a post-game epilogue that will let you explore the world after completing the story—something the original Psychonauts didn't have. So while there's still a ways to go, it does seem like Psychonauts 2 really is on track to release this year.
Check out this recent feature on how Double Fine became a creative hotbed.