Double Fine Productions has sparked discussion with the Invincibility Mode for Psychonauts 2, and how using it still counts as beating the game.
As previously reported, Psychonauts 2 focuses on Razputin “Raz” Aquato, a newly promoted Psychonaut- psychic spies who can dive into the minds of other people to help uncover lost and repressed memories, or deal with past traumas. All to prevent a far worse threat from using everyone’s minds for their own nefarious ends.
A 30 minute presentation from May 20th (Accessibility Awareness Day) highlighted the game’s accessibility features. This includes subtitles at different sizes, increased font legibility, localized navigation sign UI (changing signs to the language of the in-game text), reducing camera shaking, color blindness compensation, and camera assist. None of the accessibility options will prevent achievements from triggering.
There are also options to change to the control scheme to streamline platforming. For example, rather than activate the Levitate ability with another button input, it can activate jumping again after a double-jump (or rather, Use “Triple Jump to Glide”).
There is also a mental health advisory; such as depictions of addiction, PTSD, panic attacks, anxiety, delusions, and images upsetting those with dental phobia. The note includes a hyperlink to resources for those seeking help.
Other assist features include turning off fall damage, and “Narrative Combat” so Raz will deal more damage to his foes. One particular assist feature is Invincibility mode; preventing almost all other forms of damage beyond fall damage. The mode is also intended for those who have come across a difficulty spike.
Double Fine Productions caused more discussion of this feature recently. After Xbox tweeted “Beating the game on the lowest difficulty is still beating the game,” Double Fine quote retweeted “If you beat Psychonauts 2 with the invincibility toggle on, you still beat P2.”
While some debated over the statement (did it really count as beating the game, was the option insulting to those who have need help gaming due to motor function issues), Double Fine doubled-down; seemingly mocking a perceived elitist attitude from some gamers.
“‘uh, excuse me I beat Sword Guy Serious Time on a no hit hard mode and if didn’t do that I don’t respect you. and like, can you even comment on things if you’re not diamond six rank in shooty mcBlam? I don’t think so’
cool bud. you’re soooo cool! [Upside-down face emoji”
Double Fine followed this up, stating that everyone should be able to enjoy games, on whatever terms a player wants.
“All people should be able to enjoy games. All ages, all possible needs. It’s an ongoing and important process for our industry and a challenge we need to met.
End of the day? We want you to have fun, to laugh, to experience a story that affects you. On whatever terms you want.”
Reactions overall were mixed; many praising the accessibility options, while others felt removing all challenge defeated the point of a video game. This also lead to discussion of video game difficulty overall, and whether every game should have difficulty options so more people could complete the game.
What do you think? Is invincibility a step too far for accessibility? Should developers provide more difficulty options? Sound off in the comments below!
Psychonauts 2 launches August 25th, for Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The game will also be available at launch on Xbox Game Pass.
Image: Psychonauts 2 official website