Game developer Zak McClendon, known for his role as lead designer for BioShock 2, announces that he has been hired by Double Fine Productions to work on Psychonauts 2.
Double Fine Productions is currently hard at work on Psychonauts 2, making sure the anticipated game meets its planned 2018 release window. Expectations have been high since its Game Awards 2015 reveal trailer, and Double Fine would like to deliver the best Psychonauts 2 experience possible. To help the studio meet that lofty goal, Double Fine has hired a seasoned developer who has a history working with some of the industry’s biggest franchises.
Double Fine has tapped Zak McClendon to work on Psychonauts 2 as lead designer. McClendon is perhaps best known for his work at 2K Marin as design director on games such as BioShock 2 and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. He also had a stint at Harmonix, where he helped develop Rock Band 4, which released to a decent amount of praise late last year.
Following the announcement of his hiring, McClendon received a warm reception from Psychonauts fans, prompting him to take to Twitter to thank them for their support:
Gosh, thanks so much for all the kind words everyone. I'm going to work so hard to make Psychonauts 2 amazing! Let's do it!— Zak McClendon (@ZakMcc) February 23, 2016
McClendon has proven experience in the gaming industry, and will undoubtedly be a valuable asset in the development of the crowd-funded Psychonauts 2. That being said, some may take a look at his resume and feel a bit uneasy about McClendon taking on the role as lead designer of Psychonauts 2.
After all, BioShock 2, while still earning many positive reviews, is generally considered to be a step down from BioShock. Furthermore, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified was lambasted as a disappointing diversion from the main XCOM franchise, and though there was some excitement, Rock Band 4 failed to revitalize the rhythm/music genre as Harmonix had hoped.
So, should the fans that helped Psychonauts 2 reach $1 million in funding in 24 hours be worried about McClendon being at the helm of Psychonauts 2? The answer is no. So far, the man has helped create two games that, while not as successful as their predecessors, still managed to enjoy critical success. The Bureau: XCOM Declassified may be considered a failure, but it’s worth noting that the game had an extremely troubled development cycle, so the blame for it can’t rest entirely on McClendon’s shoulders.
Overall, McClendon’s experience in the industry should make him a valued member of the Psychonauts 2 development team. Tim Schafer will still serve as the game’s director, and should make sure that fans aren’t disappointed with the final product when it releases in a couple of years. Hopefully the addition of Zak McClendon to the development team helps Schafer and the folks at Double Fine better realize their creative vision for Psychonauts 2.
Psychonauts 2 will be available at some point in 2018 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Source: Game Informer