|Video Game Fandom|
|Developer:||Double Fine Productions|
|Publisher:||Majesco, Xbox Game Studios|
|Reveal date:||December 3, 2015 (Psychonauts 2)|
|Release date:||April 19, 2005 (Psychonauts)|
February 21, 2017 (Rhombus of Ruin)
August 25, 2021 (Psychonauts 2)
|Platform(s):||Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Xbox, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, Playstation 2, Playstation 4|
|External links:||Official website|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Psychonauts is a video game series by Double Fine Productions. The series follows Razputin Aquato, a psychic child with dreams of joining the titular organization, an elite group of psychic secret agents. The plot and world of Psychonauts combines elements of surrealism, spy fiction, and superhero fiction, with further inspiration taken from Tim Burton movies.
While the first game was a commercial failure at its initial launch, the series is highly praised by both critics and fans, with Psychonauts 2 in particular receiving numerous industry awards. Notable elements of praise include the writing, art, and level design, with commentators noting the unique scenarios created with the game's gimmick of having each level take place inside a different character's mental world.
Razputin Aquato runs away from his circus home to Whispering Rock, a summer camp and training facility for psychic children to make them Psychonauts. Camp counselors Sasha, Milla, and Coach Oleander find Raz and alert his parents. Raz's father Augustus arranges to pick him up in a few days. Raz is distraught, as his family does not accept psychics, despite Raz's father being psychic himself.
During his time at the camp, Raz discovers a plot: Coach Oleander, with mad scientist Doctor Loboto's assistance, is stealing the brains of the campers to put them into psychically-operated tanks, all in a bid to take over the world. Raz makes plans with fellow camper Lili Zanotto to investigate in the evening. But come nighttime, Sasha, Milla, and Lili are kidnapped by lake monster Linda of the nearby lake and taken to Doctor Loboto's hideout in a nearby abandoned asylum. With former Psychonauts leader Ford Cruller assisting him, Raz sets out to rescue his camp counselors and the other campers.
By entering the minds of Linda and the residents of the asylum, and helping them with their issues, Raz is able to recover the brains of his fellow campers, make it to the hideout, and rescue Sasha, Milla, and Lili. Oleander shows up at the hideout, and a fight ensues, ending in the asylum's destruction.
Oleander's brainless body emerges from the asylum wreckage, leading the group to let their guard down. Moments later, a psychic tank piloted by Oleander's brain appears and corners Raz from the rest of the group. Raz defeats the tank, but before he can recover Oleander's brain, Raz loses his own brain. Undeterred, Raz's disembodied brain enters the tank to confront Oleander.
Inside a combined mental world, Raz confronts both his own and Oleander's unresolved father issues, as well as the trauma that lead Oleander to become destructive. When the representations of their trauma coalesce into a monster, Augustus suddenly arrives to assist, having found Raz's and Oleander's brains in the real world. Raz and Augustus defeat the monster and return to the real world as Raz and Oleander are rebrained.
After a time skip, Oleander apologizes to the camp, and Raz graduates from Whispering Rock due to his efforts. Before Raz can leave with Augustus though, the counselors are notified that Truman Zanotto, Lili's father and the current leader of the Psychonauts, has been kidnapped. Raz is asked to come with the counselors and Lili; he accepts, and Augustus allows him to go. The group takes off in a jet, leading directly into the events of Rhombus of Ruin.
Rhombus of Ruin
While not large, the Psychonauts games have maintained a steady cult following over the years due to the game's art style, characters, writing, and sense of humor. This fandom has grown over the years as Psychonauts has been re-released on more widely available platforms such as Steam. The announcements and releases of Rhombus of Ruin and Psychonauts 2 resulted in a large influx of new fans.
Early on, much of the fandom consolidated on the now-defunct Double Fine Action Forums and Livejournal. Nowadays, most of the fandom is on Tumblr, Twitter, and various Discord servers, with scattered activity elsewhere due to the age of the fandom. Fan activities cover a wide range, including fanart, fanfiction, cosplay, and more.
Some Psychonauts fans have gone on to create original video games with fandoms of their own. Many of these games contain influences from and references to Psychonauts.
20 Double Fine Years
On December 8, 2020, Double Fine announced 20 Double Fine Years, an art book created by Indie By Design to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the company. Several months later, on March 16, 2021, Indie by Design put out a public call for submissions of fan art from different Double Fine properties to be featured in the book. 60 pieces of fan art were selected to be included; all fan artists selected for inclusion received a free copy of the Legendary Edition version of the book.
- Artists are listed in alphabetical order, exactly as they are credited in the book.
- Aleeysta Khaeyrah Affandi
- Allison "Nerdwings" McClain
- Amandine Ru
- Amni Hana Affandi
- Anastasia Vorozheykina
- Androcian Arts
- Anniken Sletten
- Antonia Taylor
- Ash Garrett
- Ben Ward
- Berg Amoth
- Bibilee | P.Biserka
- Brenna Campbell
- Cait Eder
- Cara Kornhaus
- Chloe Bettelon
- Daisy Everfree
- Danny Lestrade (@dtlestrade)
- Dirk Grundy
- Elizabeth Turnsek
- Gil Hananel
- Hanna Carter
- Jayden Nathan
- Junaid Chundrigar
- Katrina Weissig
- Kira Yarid
- Knives i.
- Laura Freeman
- M. Mathisen
- Madison Declare Glandon (PsychonautsMaddy)
- Matthew Wilson
- Memphis Baines
- Michael Firman
- Nicolas Rulkin ("CaptainQuestion")
- Onni Forsell
- Paxwell "Pax" Callow
- Riley Shurvinton
- Rouge Touati-Evans
- Rusalka Clarke and James Spafford
- Seb Sells
- Steph McStea
- Talis Boltz
- Tayl Redgrave
- Tesse Millsap
Analysis, Headcanons, and Theories
Bobby & Loboto Parent-Child Connection
A popular fan theory is that Caligosto Loboto, the secondary antagonist of the first Psychonauts game, is the father of Bobby Zilch, one of the campers at Whispering Rock. Fans point to their design and personality similarities, with both having features such as:
- red-green eyes
- blue skin
- stretched limbs
- similar headshapes
- antagonist personalities shaped by past trauma
among other features.
This fan theory has been acknowledged by staff at Double Fine, such as Tim Schafer, the writer and director of the games. However, no responses have directly confirmed or denied the theory.
In response to a thread on the Double Fine forums discussing the theory:
this a very fine thread and you are very fine people. Let me just say that.
Eventually, this theory was alluded to in Psychonauts 2. In the postgame, walking into Sasha's lab will initiate a short cutscene. Raz will find Loboto sneaking out; Loboto tells Raz that he needs to pick up his kid from camp before immediately leaving, much to Raz's confusion.
Raz: Dr. Loboto! Where do you think you're going?
Loboto: The green man told me to wait in the Brain Bumbler.
Raz: That's not the Brain Tumbler.
Loboto: Oh. I guess I'm escaping then. Bye!
Loboto: Please don't tell. You know I'm a reformed man. You were there! You saw me!
Loboto: Plus, I need to get back to camp. I left my kid there!
Raz: Wait, what?
Adam Joseph Gette Old Design
Depictions of Mental Illness
Parental/Familial Abuse in the Aquato Family
Razputin Aquato/Sasha Nein
Are You Afraid of the Lake Monster?
BabyCharamander's Psychonauts 2 Countdown
kibasniper's Psychonauts Secret Santa
True Psychic Zine
Whispering Rock Digi-Con
Crossovers and AUs
Psychonauts is one of the primary properties included in Mystery Kids, a fan-created crossover. Mystery Kids crosses over Western animated movies, cartoons, and video games, focusing on child protagonists and new weird media. Other primary properties included in Mystery Kids are Coraline, Gravity Falls, and ParaNorman.
The Game Awards 2021 Reaction
At The Game Awards 2021, Psychonauts 2 was nominated for five awards, including Game of the Year. However, it did not win in any category. This provoked a strong negative response from the fandom, as they felt that the game was unfairly snubbed. Fans expressed their reactions through fanart, memes, and more. On Twitter, fans started the hashtag #PSYCHONAUTSWASROBBED; the hashtag reached trending status after the show, with around 10,000 tweets.
The nature of reactions varied. Many expressed distaste and disappointment towards The Game Awards. In particular, a substantial amount of criticism was directed at the Guardians of the Galaxy and Deathloop, as they won Best Narrative and Best Art Direction respectively over Psychonauts 2.
You’re telling me that Psychonauts 2 was beaten by Guardians of the Galaxy-
I HAVENT HEARD A SINGLE PERSON TALK ABOUT THAT GAME-
TIM SCHAFER BROUGHT HIS FUCKIN DRIP AND DIDN'T WIN *ANYTHING* OUT OF ALL THE NOMINATIONS THERE WERE FOR PSYCHONAUTS 2 #PSYCHONAUTSWASROBBED
Psychonauts 2 didn’t get a SINGLE award, not even Best Art Direction or Best Narrative. The former was taken by Deathloop which, sorry, is completely ridiculous given how creative and colorful Psychonauts’ levels are, and the latter by a fucking MARVEL GAME.
So basically it’s time to throw away the entire games industry!
i cant stop thinking about psychonauts 2. like it gets nominated 3 times to awards it shouldve won but then gets Nothing… so so so wrong
Others expressed that they appreciated the games and the developers, regardless of awards. This would result in a second Twitter hashtag in response to the snub, #thankyoudoublefine.
#thankyoudoublefine psychonauts 2 may not have won, but it's my game of all time! the first game changed the way i think about games and art as a whole, and the second is even better and more important to me in nearly every way. thank you for this amazing game, @DoubleFine
#thankyoudoublefine for making my favorite game in 2005, and topping it in every conceivable way in 2021. the memories i've made playing and sharing these games are irreplaceable. goty of my heart baby #Psychonauts #Psychonauts2
#thankyoudoublefine Psychonauts 2 reignited my interest to work in the games industry in the future when I was ready to leave it entirely. Thank you for creating such a beautiful game with so much heart in it, and I hope the whole team is proud of what you made!
#thankyoudoublefine for making a series that has inspired me for over a decade. psychonauts 1 will always hold a special place in my heart, and psychonauts 2 is a beloved masterpiece in itself in terms of storytelling, gameplay, and so much more.
Fanart in response to the snub often depicts Raz wearing a purple tuxedo, due to Tim Schafer wearing a purple tuexdo at the in-person show.
A partially colored lineart drawing of Raz waving and smiling, wearing a purple tuxedo. The words 'thank you doublefine!' are written on top of the image. Fanart by Hallie.
Maligula Possessing Raz
Whispering Rock Campers
While small, a modding community for Psychonauts exists. Most mods are skin mods, such as increasing texture fidelity, alternate looks for characters, changing sound effects, etc. The modding community focuses on Psychonauts 2, due to Unreal Engine 4 (Psychonauts 2's engine) being more common and well understood, as opposed to the original game's custom engine.
Influnces on other works
A Hat in Time
Smile For Me
Stick it to The Man
Interactions with the psychedelics community
Psychonauts takes its name from a slang term to refer to users of psychedelic drugs or other mind-altering practices; the original concept for the game comes from a rejected sequence in the game Full Throttle in which the main character takes peyote and experiences an interactive trip. As the term is old and still in use in the psychedelics community, tag usage sees overlap in usage by both communities. Furthermore, this occasionally results in fandom members or psychedelics users accidentally posting in a community for the other, such as the subreddits /r/psychonauts (for psychedelic users) and /r/psychonautsgame (the game). No known animosity is held by either community, and responses to such posts are often jokey or tongue-in-cheek in nature.
jkohatsu: Is there any benefit from having a Psychonaut 1 save file before starting Psychonauts 2? Asking because I own Psy 1 on Steam but plan on playing Psy 2 on Gamepass.menew100: You're gonna want to drop a tab right as you start the game, you don't want that thing kicking in during the first world; that'd be a bad experience.
Pen Ward Easter Egg
Psychonauts Russian Fandub
Psychonauts 2 Russian Localization
Caligosto Loboto/Morceau Oleander
Chloe Barge/Bobby Zilch
Franke Athens/Kitty Bubai
Helmut Fullbear/Bob Zanotto
J.T. Hoofburger/Chops Sweetwind
Mikhail Bulgov/Maloof Canola
Razputin Aquato/Lili Zanotto
Sasha Nein/Milla Vodello
- censorydepravation - Sasha Nein
- giveemtheolrazdazzle - Razputin Aquato
- ask-lobotoly - Caligosto Loboto and Morceau Oleander
- ask-the-psi-cadets - Interns ensemble
- Myself as Milla Vodello from Psychonauts by redglare
- From two feet away! by RacerEff
- Raz & Lili cosplay by otakusenshiange
- I'll be gentle by itssockscosplay
- Raz cosplay - Psychonauts by kh2kid
- Crystal and Clem cosplay by tabris00
- you'll figure it out someday by 2hoothoots
- psychonauts 2 is sooo good by nuttyn00n
Meta & Further Reading
Communities & Blogs
- /r/PsychonautsGame on Reddit
- psychofiction community on Livejournal
- Psychonauts community on Amino
- Psychonauts community on Fanfiction.net
- Double Fine Action Chat on Discord - official Double Fine Discord server
- Psychonauts community on Steam
Archives & Fannish Links
Tags & Hubs
- Psychonauts (Video Games) tag on Archive of Our Own
- Psychonauts page on Cosplay.com
- psychonauts tag on DeviantArt
- Psychonauts tag on Fanfiction.net
- Psychonauts 2 page on Gamebanana
- Psychonauts page on Nexus Mods
- Psychonauts series on Speedrun.com
- psychonauts tag on Tumblr
- psychonauts 2 tag on Tumblr
- psychonauts hashtag on Twitter
- Psychonauts article on TV Tropes
- Psychonauts In The Rhombus of Ruin article on TV Tropes
- Psychonauts 2 article on TV Tropes
- Psychonauts article on Wikipedia
- Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin article on Wikipedia
- Psychonauts 2 article on Wikipedia
- ^ https://twitter.com/DoubleFine/status/1336403372593868804
- ^ https://twitter.com/IndieByDesign/status/1375504022661120002
- ^ Harman, S., & Robertson, J. (2021). 20 Double Fine Years. Indie By Design.
- ^ https://fire-is-pretty.tumblr.com/post/619683002170114048/analyzing-the-dr-loboto-being-bobby-zilchs-father
- ^ https://youtu.be/NPKJq0EkgiM?t=491
- ^ https://twitter.com/Tzunami_Sapp/status/1469228337209954306
- ^ https://twitter.com/DocTheChaosKing/status/1469159519871774729
- ^ https://twitter.com/kamuidr0me/status/1469158820135915522
- ^ https://antisocial-author.tumblr.com/post/670162479499919361/psychonauts-2-didnt-get-a-single-award-not-even
- ^ https://jesskasb.tumblr.com/post/670150900966391808/i-cant-stop-thinking-about-psychonauts-2-like-it
- ^ https://twitter.com/hccupit/status/1469215635926396931
- ^ https://twitter.com/crownorclover/status/1469176190460067841
- ^ https://twitter.com/scribblemakes/status/1469163284695642113
- ^ https://twitter.com/KibaSniper/status/1469183999511711749
- ^ https://www.dictionary.com/e/slang/psychonaut/
- ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20080207162630/http://videogames.yahoo.com/news-1137436
- ^ https://old.reddit.com/r/psychonauts/comments/siy7gw/is_there_any_benefit_from_having_a_psychonaut_1/