Last month, game industry documentary makers 2 Player Productions debuted a massive 32-part YouTube game dev doc series Double Fine PsychOdyssey, chronicling the development of Psychonauts 2 from its earliest glimmers of pre-production in 2015 to its final release in 2021.
I assumed it was mostly for fans but after watching all 32 episodes (on 2x speed, skipping some parts) I've changed my mind and now I think it's essential viewing for all game designers / devs. It shows the everyday work of medium-scale commercial game dev in unprecedented detail: the creative high of successful collaboration as well as the ugly prototypes, grueling bug fixes, and painful miscommunication. There's also a thrill of access, where the camera captures vulnerable moments it wasn't quite supposed to see. The most epic public post-mortem ever.
As a public service, I've written a short text summary and some notes for each episode. This recap post / viewing guide covers only the first half of the series (episodes 01-17) and I'll try to write-up the second half later.
SPOILER WARNING: obviously, these recaps spoil what happens in each episode.