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Here's An In-Depth Look At Disney's Epic Mickey

Curious what Warren Spector's been up to lately? Here you go.

In addition to an unveiling currently going on in London (1UP has a live blog), Disney Interactive has finally sent out a bunch of new images and information detailing its big under-wraps Wii project from Warren Spector, Epic Mickey. I never would have envisioned Spector to go from System Shock and Deus Ex to Mickey Mouse, but hey, the guy's got the pedigree. 
 
Here's what you came for: the screenshots. 

 
Disney also put out some basic gameplay info and quotes from Spector. (Note: Entirely from the company's mouth.) 
 

Disney Interactive Studios today announced the development of Disney Epic Mickey, an adventure-platforming game with light role-playing elements for the Wii home video game console.  The game stars Mickey Mouse who has been re-imagined for videogames by luminary game designer Warren Spector and his Junction Point game development studio. In Disney Epic Mickey, Spector, a life-long Disney fan, taps into Mickey Mouse's rich history along with the characters and worlds brought to life by Walt Disney to create an edgy and unexpected cartoon adventure.

"Mickey is an adventurous and rambunctious mouse," said Warren Spector, creative director and vice president, Junction Point. "I want to bring his personality to the forefront, place him in a daunting world and connect his spirited character with video game players worldwide. Ultimately, each player decides for him- or herself what makes Mickey cool."

In the game's fiction, a sorcerer named Yen Sid creates a beautiful, whimsically-twisted world where Disney's forgotten and retired creations thrive. Originally, the powerful sorcerer from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" in Walt Disney's 1940 film "Fantasia" was nicknamed "Yen Sid" by Disney animators, although never named as such on screen. In Spector's game, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit - Walt Disney's first cartoon star created in 1927 - becomes the earliest inhabitant of Yen Sid's Cartoon Wasteland after Mickey Mouse is created. Oswald makes the Cartoon Wasteland comfortable for other retired characters as they join him in this magical land.  Years pass, and as Oswald dwells in the Cartoon Wasteland, he becomes resentful watching Mickey's popularity swell. When Mickey curiously stumbles upon Yen Sid's map, he makes an innocent yet terrible mistake and inadvertently devastates Oswald's comfortable world. Eventually, Mickey's mistake pulls him deep into the mysterious Cartoon Wasteland to face the destruction he unknowingly created.

Players use the Wii Remote to wield magical paint and thinner to re-shape the world around them. Paint's creativity and thinner's damaging effect give the player robust tools and empowers them to make choices about how they move through the world. Each player's decisions to use paint, thinner or both dynamically changes the world with consequences that affect the environment, interactions with other characters, and even Mickey's appearance and abilities.

"The core of this game is the idea of choice and consequence, and how that defines both the character and the player," says Spector. "By putting the mischievous Mickey in an unfamiliar place and asking him to make choices - to help other cartoon characters or choose his own path - the game forces players to deal with the consequences of their actions. Ultimately, players must ask themselves, ‘What kind of hero am I?' Each player will come up with a different answer."

Blurring reality and fantasy, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit's role is as significant in the game as it was in real life. The Walt Disney-created Oswald appeared in 26 silent cartoons between 1927 and 1928 for Charles Mintz, who contracted with Universal for distribution. At this time, Oswald was primed to be Walt's first big animated star. When faced with daunting production costs, Walt asked for more money to ensure the quality of the Oswald cartoons. When a deal could not be reached, Walt lost the rights to Oswald and with the rabbit went much of Walt's staff. Among those who remained with Walt was animator, cartoonist and long-time friend Ub Iwerks, and together they created a new character named Mickey Mouse.

The initial concept behind Disney Epic Mickey originated within the Disney Interactive Studios' Think Tank. The Think Tank conceptualized Mickey as a cartoon character thrown into turmoil. Spector expanded and refined Disney Epic Mickey's concept and built the game for a broad audience fully utilizing the Wii and Wii Remote for accessibility and engaging gameplay.     


There's also a ton of new concept art for you. Here are some environments. 

 

 
And... character designs! Zombie Donald Duck is pretty neat.
 


 
Am I a big jerk for wishing this wasn't just a Wii game? The artwork and designs going into this are pretty impressive--too bad we won't be able to play through them in high-def. What's your interest level for this one? Brad Shoemaker on Google+
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Posted by Brad

In addition to an unveiling currently going on in London (1UP has a live blog), Disney Interactive has finally sent out a bunch of new images and information detailing its big under-wraps Wii project from Warren Spector, Epic Mickey. I never would have envisioned Spector to go from System Shock and Deus Ex to Mickey Mouse, but hey, the guy's got the pedigree. 
 
Here's what you came for: the screenshots. 

 
Disney also put out some basic gameplay info and quotes from Spector. (Note: Entirely from the company's mouth.) 
 

Disney Interactive Studios today announced the development of Disney Epic Mickey, an adventure-platforming game with light role-playing elements for the Wii home video game console.  The game stars Mickey Mouse who has been re-imagined for videogames by luminary game designer Warren Spector and his Junction Point game development studio. In Disney Epic Mickey, Spector, a life-long Disney fan, taps into Mickey Mouse's rich history along with the characters and worlds brought to life by Walt Disney to create an edgy and unexpected cartoon adventure.

"Mickey is an adventurous and rambunctious mouse," said Warren Spector, creative director and vice president, Junction Point. "I want to bring his personality to the forefront, place him in a daunting world and connect his spirited character with video game players worldwide. Ultimately, each player decides for him- or herself what makes Mickey cool."

In the game's fiction, a sorcerer named Yen Sid creates a beautiful, whimsically-twisted world where Disney's forgotten and retired creations thrive. Originally, the powerful sorcerer from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" in Walt Disney's 1940 film "Fantasia" was nicknamed "Yen Sid" by Disney animators, although never named as such on screen. In Spector's game, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit - Walt Disney's first cartoon star created in 1927 - becomes the earliest inhabitant of Yen Sid's Cartoon Wasteland after Mickey Mouse is created. Oswald makes the Cartoon Wasteland comfortable for other retired characters as they join him in this magical land.  Years pass, and as Oswald dwells in the Cartoon Wasteland, he becomes resentful watching Mickey's popularity swell. When Mickey curiously stumbles upon Yen Sid's map, he makes an innocent yet terrible mistake and inadvertently devastates Oswald's comfortable world. Eventually, Mickey's mistake pulls him deep into the mysterious Cartoon Wasteland to face the destruction he unknowingly created.

Players use the Wii Remote to wield magical paint and thinner to re-shape the world around them. Paint's creativity and thinner's damaging effect give the player robust tools and empowers them to make choices about how they move through the world. Each player's decisions to use paint, thinner or both dynamically changes the world with consequences that affect the environment, interactions with other characters, and even Mickey's appearance and abilities.

"The core of this game is the idea of choice and consequence, and how that defines both the character and the player," says Spector. "By putting the mischievous Mickey in an unfamiliar place and asking him to make choices - to help other cartoon characters or choose his own path - the game forces players to deal with the consequences of their actions. Ultimately, players must ask themselves, ‘What kind of hero am I?' Each player will come up with a different answer."

Blurring reality and fantasy, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit's role is as significant in the game as it was in real life. The Walt Disney-created Oswald appeared in 26 silent cartoons between 1927 and 1928 for Charles Mintz, who contracted with Universal for distribution. At this time, Oswald was primed to be Walt's first big animated star. When faced with daunting production costs, Walt asked for more money to ensure the quality of the Oswald cartoons. When a deal could not be reached, Walt lost the rights to Oswald and with the rabbit went much of Walt's staff. Among those who remained with Walt was animator, cartoonist and long-time friend Ub Iwerks, and together they created a new character named Mickey Mouse.

The initial concept behind Disney Epic Mickey originated within the Disney Interactive Studios' Think Tank. The Think Tank conceptualized Mickey as a cartoon character thrown into turmoil. Spector expanded and refined Disney Epic Mickey's concept and built the game for a broad audience fully utilizing the Wii and Wii Remote for accessibility and engaging gameplay.     


There's also a ton of new concept art for you. Here are some environments. 

 

 
And... character designs! Zombie Donald Duck is pretty neat.
 


 
Am I a big jerk for wishing this wasn't just a Wii game? The artwork and designs going into this are pretty impressive--too bad we won't be able to play through them in high-def. What's your interest level for this one?
Staff
Posted by Novyx

I'm hopeful. Maybe they can make a sequel for natal/wand if it does well.

Posted by i83N
Posted by Almeida69

I guess its okay...Not that big on the whole wii thing too considering i dont have one.

Posted by OmegaPirate
@Brad said:  
 
Looking pretty bad-ass! (coming from some-one who really isn't a Disney person)  
 
And no- i wouldn't say you were a jerk for wishing this was coming to a HD platform, as someone who doesn't own a wii (yet) i feel kinda bummed i shan't be playing this any time soon
Posted by m1k3

wasn't what i was expecting... not at all darker just more cute and happy looking characters that are designed to look "darker". i was expecting torn up disney settings with sharp edges. something like the concept art had.

Posted by MetalGearSunny

This is not the bastard child of Tim Burton and Disney. 
 
This is just...meh.

Posted by FlamingHobo

Not really that impressed.

Posted by spiceninja

Actually, that Donald isn't a zombie. Oswald the rabbit is jealous of Mickey and tried to mimic Mickeys friends. That Donald is actually a robot.

Posted by BABS

Cute!

Posted by Willy105

Everything behind this game has the potential for GOTY.
 
But will it deliver?

Posted by NubMonk

I had really high hopes for this game but now its just kind of a "meh". Its not even the fact that its a Wii title that turned me off, but more about how the early concept art just looked so fucked up and cool, and now the in game screens just look totally unappealing.

Edited by stinky

i'm interested in this, though i too wish it was for the higher end consoles. 
using older designs for mickey, fantastic. 
   
Yen Sid is Disney spelled backwards for those who passed it over.

Posted by Kiemoe

okay, so paint is good and thinner is evil? I guess it works, but I don't like the idea of a moral choice Mickey. They've still got a lot of time to change my mind though.

Posted by McPaper

Eh I would have liked it if Warren worked on something more Deus Ex like.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Warren, we don't have to decide what makes Mickey cool, for we already know: it's Epic Mickey.

Posted by Milkman

The art design is pretty cool but the graphics just look bad. I'm going to have to agree that this would be much cooler on an HD console. There is really no need for this to be on the Wii except to add some needless waggle. The full vision would be much more easily realized on the 360 or PS3. And I know Nintendo fanboys are going to give me shit  but sorry, it's true.

Posted by WhatTheDang

Looks like Disney's just willing to capitalize on the success of Kingdom Hearts. I don't have a lot of faith in it as it seems to just be a continuation of the sad trend of taking likable characters and settings and making them darker and more mature (and in turn, unlikable) in a ham-fisted attempt to garner a wider audience. I can definitely see an "American McGee's Alice" problem here, as most of the focus seems to be on setting and character design, with gameplay as an afterthought.  Bottom line: I think it's gonna suck.

Posted by TheMustacheHero

Looks...bland.

Posted by Turbo_Toaster

I didn't realize this was just for the Wii. The stuff we saw a while back had me pretty intrigued but the execution isn't  really doing it for me. It might be fun, the concept seems promising. I guess I'd rather see it on the PS3 or something with crazy lighting effects and more polished visuals. The 3D models in these screens seem fairly dated, to me anyway.

Posted by CarpetRemnant

I think it looks like a last generation game, the concept and art style don't thrill me either.

Posted by Teptom

Ack, I'm not feeling it for this right now. I need to see it in action.

Posted by FelixLighter

The concept art had me interested, but the actual execution, based on those screenshots, has me completely underwhelmed.

Posted by CitizenJP

Sure doesnt look as epic as the concept art thats for sure.

Posted by MikeFightNight

I think I need more than some screens and info to get my hyped about this game.  As of right now I have zero interest. 
Posted by LaszloKovacs

Disney, I was with you for that initial concept art, but I think you just lost me.

Posted by buzz_killington

Looks really interesting... I really get an American McGee's Alice vibe from it.

Posted by Afroman269

Everytime I hear the name of this game this comes to mind......
 

Posted by Griddler

I totally wish it was on PS3.

Posted by beanZfury

The in-game art seems to stray too far from the steampunk vibe of the original concept art. The art style looks more along the lines of "Who Framed Roger Rabbit". Also, I'm tired of accepting graphics as so-so, or "good for the Wii". This should be on 360 and PS3 as well. Everytime I turn my Wii on (which isn't often), I get a little sad at the jagged aedges and blazing 480p. Spector has much time to change my mind and tighten this game up though; so I guess we will have to see how it turns out

Posted by TheHBK

Hey Brad, can you give us the details on what giving a girl an Epic Mickey entails?

Posted by Madyew

The Wii exclusivity is disappointing for me, but if it's good enough I will still at least give it a playthrough.

Posted by SuperfluousMoniker

I hate to be a graphics whore, but this looks like shit. The Wii can do good graphics; Mario Galaxy, Punch Out, hell Wind Waker makes this look bad.

Posted by Ghostiet

Kinda disappointed with how it looks - I just hope there's more to it. 

Also, Mickey on 2 shots looks fucking scary.

Edited by WinterSnowblind

I absolutely love the concept behind this..  but the actual screenshots don't exactly fill me with hope. 

I think Spector really underestimated how many "GTA fans" would have actually bought an open world Disney/Mickey game.  It could have still been a 3D platform/adventure game sort of affair, but the concept art implied vast Disney-esque landscapes to explore, the screens just make it look like a generic platformer.  I don't want to sound anti-Wii, but again, I think this could have been so much better realised on the other platforms.
 
I'll definitely still give it a chance, but it really wasn't what I was expecting.

Posted by lolwot

er
i can hardly decipher what's going on in these screens to be honest. no, i don't think brad is a jerk for wanting any game for 360/ps3 instead of, or in addition to wii. personally, I don't think wii has any real benefits for gameplay. Ever since I got the system at launch, I've felt the motion sensing technology is subpar, really inaccurate. I thought maybe the controller would compensate for the heavy price, but not really. and then there's the obvious graphical disadvantages.

Posted by MichaelBach

 "a sorcerer named Yen Sid"
 
"Yen Sid" is Disney spelled backwards..

Edited by Al3xand3r
@MichaelBach said:

"a sorcerer named Yen Sid"

"Yen Sid" is Disney spelled backwards..

Yen Sid is from Fantasia so it's not like Spector is sneaking this in under Disney's nose (though that would be cool) :-P
Posted by Brackynews

I am... disturbed.  All the American McGee comments seem to have been raised already. It sure don't look like Kingdom Hearts.  I want to convince myself that it's got a Psychonauts vibe, but that isn't how I think of Spector.
 
Ah good, now we can add Donald Duck to the Zombie Cyborg page.  Terrifying.  O_o

Posted by Zachariahus

 Feeling a little underwhelmed at the moment, and I was majorly looking forward to this...  but the screens just don't have that epic feel that needs to be there. I want scale like the first batch of concept art. meh. I too wish this were on a more capable machine.

Posted by Claude

Yes you're a big jerk Brad, but aren't we all.

Posted by Sunjammer

Meh, still holding out for World of Duckburg. Which is still the best MMO ever not made. Scrooge is the ultimate questgiver, and Gyro the ultimate gadget vendor. Donald is the ultimate neighbor.
 
Hire me Disney, i'll make it happen!

Posted by DukeTogo

Sadly, the awesomeness of that concept art made the game fail from that point on, since it would never live up to it.

Posted by truebornracer

I was more excited about this when I didn't know what it was.

Posted by jakob187

Emo Mickey?  What?

Posted by MichaelBach
@Al3xand3r said:
" @MichaelBach said:

"a sorcerer named Yen Sid"

"Yen Sid" is Disney spelled backwards..

Yen Sid is from Fantasia so it's not like Spector is sneaking this in under Disney's nose (though that would be cool) :-P "
Ahhhh :)
Posted by JackSukeru

Gonna have to say what has already been said: 
Underwhelming 
The Wii can do better than this.
360/PS3 could've done even better. 
 
Still a little interested though, waiting eagerly to see it in motion.

Posted by Crono

Epic Mickey does not remind me of a game, but an epic move I learned from the Giant Bombcast.  It's how to let her know that you know.

Edited by Mister_Snig

I gotta say, this really isn't what I hoped it would be. The initial concept art looked amazing, like some weird combination of steampunk, American McGee's Alice, and Disney. Now that it's a bit more light hearted, it just looks like Tim Burton took a shit all over what this game was supposed to be.

Posted by theredace

Ouch, those screenshots literally look like a 10 year old PC game.  Nothing about this seems dark to me.  I was expecting a completely redesigned character style in the vein of American McGee's Alice.  Speaking of 10 year old PC games.

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