Who’s Excited For Epic Mickey?

By Ishaan . October 11, 2009 . 4:42pm

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Rumours of a Disney project headed by Warren Spector, starring Mickey Mouse first arose way back in March of last year in the pages of Electronic Gaming Monthly. EGM’s rumour section claimed that Spector’s Disney-owned Junction Point Studios were working on “A platformer looking to compete with a certain pesky plumber. And who’s big enough to take on Nintendo’s star? Only the mouse himself!”

 

While it didn’t attract more than the usual attention at the time, this single vague rumour went on to kickstart a chain of events that were nearly as interesting as the premise of what eventually turned out to be the Junction Point project itself.

 

Gamasutra was the first site to make any actual headway in peeling away the layers that surrounded this mysterious game. Toward the end of the year, being privy to a gallery of leaked concept art, Gamasutra confirmed that such a project was, at the very least, in pre-production at Junction Point. It was codenamed “Epic Mickey” and — judging by the concepts they had seen — it involved a surreal, steampunk-esque reinterpretation of the Disney universe.

 

Some of these concepts eventually made their way onto the Internet. Pictures are far more effective than words in this case, so here’s a small gallery to give you an idea of what Junction Point were aiming for with the environments:

 

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http://storage.siliconera.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/mickey_01.jpg

Then, earlier this year, Epic Mickey was all but confirmed to be in development for the Wii and even more concepts were discovered online via artist resumés, depicting some pretty haunting and bizarre makeovers for the Disney cast you watched growing up.

 

The premise was revealed to be a forgotten world where old Disney characters are sent once popularity stops being kind to them. These characters are plotting to overthrow Mickey Mouse and the newer Disney cast, and it’s up to you — as Mickey — to prevent them from doing so.

 

Weeks of heated speculation and debate followed. It was suggested that the game was on the Wii because it involved some sort of control over a brush, similar to Okami. Finally, Game Informer got the first official scoop on the Epic Mickey project and teased a few details about it, with Disney’s official unveiling of the game set to take place on October 28.

 

In line with the leaks earlier, it was confirmed that the game would involve a radical Disney universe makeover and that Mickey would be the brush-wielding protagonist in an Okami-like experience taken a step further. Warren Spector himself finally had a chance to comment on the game’s development, although no major details were given away.

 

Shortly thereafter, yet another leak resulted in even more information being released to the Internet via Eurogamer. This time, the info that got out was actually quite meaty. The forgotten world was run by Oswald the Rabbit — Walt Disney’s very first creation. Jealous of Mickey’s success, Oswald had unleashed the Phantom Blot, who was spreading a “sticky black ink” throughout the Disney universe, which was fading its colour.

 

Eurogamer reported:

Mickey has to draw and scribble his way through levels, mending broken bridges by applying the right colour paint or peering through walls after applying thinner. He can even clear rubble from his path by erasing parts of the world.

 

Our source told us Epic Mickey is a game about thinking and artwork – laterally considering your environment in order to overcome puzzles.

 

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Eurogamer’s source went on to tell them that the reason Mickey’s face hadn’t been revealed yet was because he was receiving his first major makeover in a while and would be “far more retro” than we’d seen him in years. It’s an interesting comment because the last time we saw a retro-esque Mickey in videogame form was in Kingdom Hearts 2 — presumably, Eurogamer’s contact was aware of this. This was further supported by a comment from Warren Spector earlier in the week that stated they were taking the mouse back to his roots.

 

Spector, the creative mind behind Deus Ex, is somewhat of a Disney expert — well-versed in Disney’s fictional lore as well as the company’s creative history and impact on culture. Judging from Game Informer’s steady stream of features on this project, you’d have a tough time arguing for someone else to have creative control of Epic Mickey.

 

No doubt Disney are frustrated with all the leaks surrounding what sounds like their biggest videogame project in years (or were these “leaks” intentional?). Still, despite the numerous outings of artwork and design details, we still haven’t seen the one thing that actually matters: an ingame screenshot or video. To date, no one knows what Epic Mickey looks like, and to just what extent Junction Point have managed to translate the bizarre-o concept art style into ingame assets.

 

Come October 28, we’ll probably, finally catch our first real glimpse of the game. While I doubt the end product will be as unique as the concepts, personally, I do feel a mild tinge of excitement. We’re talking territory Kingdom Hearts never dared to venture into.


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  • http://www.nisamerica.com NickyD

    First, I think you may have meant “Deus Ex” instead of “Deuce Ex” … but I’ve been wrong before!

    Second, this sounds like a really interesting game. I’m very anxious to see what becomes of it. I was grinning when I read Eurogamer’s reveal on it since it’s shocking Disney is letting their old properties be used as “villains.” It’s awesome.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      Typo? What typo? You must be seeings things!

      (thanks)

      • http://www.nisamerica.com NickyD

        Oh, sorry! My mistake. Need to get my glasses checked.

        (no problem; sorry for being so blunt aboot it, eh)

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          Aboot? I didn’t know you were Canadian…

          • http://denpanosekai.blogspot.com denpanosekai

            There are more Canadian siliconera readers than you think.

    • QBasic

      Roflmao. Deuce ex. So much potential for so many dirty jokes in that “typo.” :P

      • http://www.nisamerica.com NickyD

        Hah! Probably why it caught my attention. “Dirty minds think alike?” I don’t think that’s quite how the saying goes… but…

  • pedrron

    I’m hyped for more details and especially for actual in game footage. If done right this will go down as a great game. Maybe this will go down as this console generation’s Castle of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse/Mickey Mania. Time to hook up my Sega Genesis!

    • thaKingRocka

      i could never get enough of castle of illusion. i’ve been waiting for another quality mickey game ever since. i liked the snes game, magical quest or something, but castle of illusion remains the favorite. i am all for this here epic mickey.

  • Ereek

    I love the look of this. I never really liked Mickey much, I was always a Donald fan, but for something this different I’ll at least have to put it on my “to-watch” list. It’s like putting Mickey into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. I love it.

    • JeremyR

      I’ve always preferred his uncle Scrooge. Donald always seemed to be kind of a wimp (a hard to understand one at that), whereas Scrooge was a man (er, duck) of action and an adventurer. Really like a hero of one of those old serials or pulps, a regular Duck Savage.

      • Ereek

        I love Scrooge, too! I never really liked Goofy, but loved Pluto.

        Scrooge needs an Uncharted-Tomb Raider-style game.

      • TurkeyPotPie

        I like Scrooge as well, but Donald (at least the Donald of the old Barks comics pre-Scrooge) was no wimp. I never followed the cartoon Donald much though, perhaps he was more of a wimp there.

        I’m cautiously looking forward to this game. Mickey morphed into this really bland, wholesome character once he became the face of Disney. I’d like to see a return to his character from the early cartoons, or the Gottfredson comic strip version of Mickey from the ’30s. Now that was an adventurer!

  • QBasic

    God I hope they don’t end up crowbarring Organization XIII into this, since they’re technically Disney property…

    But that said. The premise itself is very interesting! The console choice…questionable.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      You wait and watch. It’ll turn out to be Oswald’s nobody, Xoswald.

      • QBasic

        Or better yet, a messed up version of Perri….Rixerp!

        Nyooooo!

  • Kris

    I’m thoroughly psyched, it looks like it’ll be a bit creepy for the Disney Channel’s target audience though. I can’t wait to see it in motion. Weird title though…

    • Asura

      I think the audience is people who enjoyed Disney films/cartoons as children and now grew up.

      • Kris

        That’s what I’d figured, but I’m interested to see how Disney’s marketing machine conveys that.

  • Saturnus

    yesyesyesyesYESYES! This game looks ridiculously cool

    I wish it was PS3 though lol, no worries I guess…

  • ndjn3979

    Who IS excited about this game? I’m curious.

    • QBasic

      Hard to get really EXCITED, per say…about something we only know like…2% of.

  • bigmac996

    I’m seriously stoked for this game. I’m an animation student and this is like a dream come true! I love the whole dark steampunk look, and how oswald the lucky rabbit is mickey’s nemesis! SO CLEVER!

  • malek86

    Being italian, this is quite an interesting game for me. Disney characters are popular here – it’s one of the few countries where the weekly issue is still very successful (though granted, it’s losing pace a bit nowadays). Things are also a bit different. Many characters have been created here, and consequently only really used here. Also, in the italian stories, the Phantom Blot is definitely not “forgotten”, having often featured in many stories, both recent and old. then again, a lot of old characters are often used here.

    Of course, the continuity is different, and the game is supposedly american-made, so I won’t expect to see any of the italian characters here.

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