Psychonauts 2 was first announced six years ago, and according to developer Double Fine Productions, it's still set to arrive later this year. The long-awaited platformer will continue the story of Raz as he begins his internship with titular spy squad. He'll need to navigate a world of espionage and intrigue if he wants to survive Psychonauts 2, but first he'll need to confront his family curse.
Razputin Aquato belongs to a long line of traveling circus performers, which explains his penchant for acrobatics. Long ago, his family was cursed by the Galochio family, who ran a rival circus. The curse manifests in several ways throughout the original Psychonauts and seemingly promises to create an interesting obstacle in the upcoming sequel.
The Aquato family was originally cursed by Zalto Galochio, who's actually Raz's grandfather. Long before the events of Psychonauts, a member of the Galochio family died during a tragic accident at one of the Aquato family's shows. Seeking revenge, the Galochios murdered the Aquato family and cursed all of their descendants to die in water.
Whenever Raz tries to enter deep water in Psychonauts, an evil hand appears and tries to drown him. Other characters can't see the hand, so it's likely a manifestation of Raz's fear rather than a physical entity. Regardless, it still presents a major obstacle. Raz is pulled underneath the water if he isn't able to escape the hand in time, appearing back on dry lands a few seconds later.
It's a clever design choice that serves a functional purpose while reinforcing several themes of the game. On a practical level, it meant that Double Fine didn't need to include a mechanic for swimming underwater. Many 3D platformers struggle to make swimming a fun experience, so the omission was likely a welcome relief. While other games would simply kill a character the moment they touched the water, Psychonauts used Raz's fear as a way to deepen the story.
Raz may try to free himself and his family from the Galochios' curse in Psychonauts 2, which creates a lot of opportunity to flesh out the world of the game. The Psychonauts universe is wonderfully weird, but outside of psychic powers, there doesn't seem to be any other sort of magic. It's entirely possible that the curse is a sham, invoked for the sole purpose of paralyzing the Aquato family with fear. While Raz might be relieved to find out that there's no sinister magic at play, it would also be devastating for him to discover that his family had been tricked.
It's also worth considering why the curse will need to be confronted. Though it was a major part of Raz's backstory in Psychonauts, it was only an inconvenience when it came to actual gameplay. Psychonauts 2 may feature some amount of underwater exploration, which will force Raz to break the curse and confront his own fears. Some sort of secret underwater base doesn't seem out of the question given the tone of the series. It's also possible that Raz's work with the Psychonauts will put him in contact with another member of the Galochio family, who might provide the key to lifting the curse.
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