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17 random facts about Psychonauts

Few games are as polarizing as Psychonauts. Love it or hate it, nobody who has played Tim Schafer’s game has been left untouched by the experience. With its cast of pre-teen psychics wandering through people’s minds, Psychonauts tells a zany and captivating story. To add a little bit more confusion to an already crazy game, here are some random facts about Psychonauts.

Psychonauts is the story of a psychedelic trip

Tim Schafer thought of the concept of Psychonauts while developing Full Throttle. He wanted to create a sequence where the main character, Ben, would undergo a psychedelic experience. That idea was not family-friendly enough for the game, so it did not end up making it into the final version of Full Throttle.

Schafer kept this idea of a psychedelic trip, and decided to create an entire game around it. Psychonauts wound up being the first game of Schafer’s studio, Double Fine Productions.

Raz almost was an ostrich

Originally, the main character of Psychonauts was supposed to be an ostrich. One stick would control movement, and the other stick would peck. As you may have noticed, that idea didn’t stick around.

A hat changed the main character

Since the ostrich didn’t make the cut, Psychonauts needed a new main character. D’artagnan, also known as Dart, was the original protagonist planned for the game. However, due to the team struggling to animate his hat, Dart was replaced by Raz. When Coach Oleander probes Raz’s mind, he tells the hero that his name starts with a “D.” This is a direct reference to Dart, who could have been the main protagonist of the game.

How Raz became Razputin

Raz takes his name from a LucasArts animator, Razmig “Raz” Mavlian. Tim Schafer liked that name and wanted to give it to the main character of his new game. When Raz Mavlian joined Double Fine Productions, there was confusion between the name of the main character and the animator. To tell them apart, the hero of Psychonauts was given the name “Razputin.”

A game born in a former clog shop

The first office of Double Fine Productions in San Francisco, where Schafer and his team created the first demo of Psychonauts, was a former clog shop.

Pre-teens psychics with MySpace accounts

Several Psychonauts characters used to have MySpace accounts. Their profiles are largely similar to the ones on Campster, but they also feature their horoscope signs. Raz is a Capricorn, Benny Fideleo is a Virgo, and Mikhail Bulgakov is a Taurus. There are no Leo or Aquarius campers at the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp. Quentin Hedgemouse, the 10-year-old psychic camper, lists his age as 40 on his MySpace profile. An old soul?

A creative brain in a jar

Helmut Fullbear is a synesthete. His senses overlap, so he can see colors when he hears music, or hear a word and instantly see a shape. Or at least he used to, as his brain now resides in a jar.

Psychonauts Brain in a Jar
Image by Double Fine.

Vernon’s never-ending stories

Vernon loves to tell longwinded stories whenever he meets anyone. Unsurprisingly, his favorite movie is The Never Ending Story. The first story told by Vernon to Raz in Basic Braining, called “The longest walk of all time,” is composed of pre-recorded lines played in random order.

Several characters are missing fingers

Most characters in Psychonauts only have 4 fingers. Raz is one of the few with five fingers on each hand.

A beloved mother

The inspiration behind the Den Mother is Psychonauts art director Scott Campbell’s real life mother.

Brains everywhere

There is a lake near the Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp called Lake Oblongata. It takes its name from the Medulla Oblongata, which is the lower part of the brain stem.

A Psychonauts level inside your own mind

Tim Schafer considered adding a level in Psychonauts where the player would take a personality test, and the game would generate an entire level out of it.

Ford Cruller has a unique fashion sense

Ford Cruller is the only character to wear different outfits throughout the game. He also has a bacon tattoo on his arm.

Psychonauts Ford Cruller
Image by Double Fine.

White Chicks make an appearance in Psychonauts

During the fight against Jasper, critical words appear whenever an ink attack touches the ground. These words are real reviews of the 2004 movie White Chicks.

Nightmares jump from one mind to another

The Nightmares appear in two levels: Milla’s Dance Party and The Milkman Conspiracy. The nightmares in Milla’s Dance Party speak with the tormented voices of her dead children, and were supposed to escape the level to torment other minds. This idea didn’t make it to the final version of the game, but Nightmares still appear in Boyd’s mind.

Kochamara escaped from a Japanese series

Kochamara, the final boss of Lungfishopolis and alter ego of Coach Oleander, is a parody of the Japanese series Ultraman. The Tri-Beam attack of Tien Shinhan in Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z directly inspired Kochamara’s attack Deadly Triangle Beam.

A calcium-rich conspiracy

Boyd Cooper, the conspiracy theorist, was inspired in part by a man who swept up the alley by the Double Fine Productions building. The Milkman Conspiracy, the level which takes place inside Boyd Cooper’s mind, was inspired by a random sentence said during a Double Fine team meal. Someone said “I am the milkman, my milk is delicious” and the team decided to create a conspiracy-based level around this weird sentence.

Psychonauts 2 launches on August 25. It will be available on PC, PS4 and PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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Ophélie Castelot

I was born with a gamepad and played my first MMORPG at 8. I'm scared to death by Resident Evil's dogs. FPS enthusiast, I like to pewpew people. I love both video games and writing, so naturally, I'm a gaming writer. Want to pitch an idea or debate the latest game you played? Let's talk!
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