GIVEAWAY: ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ + Oswald Ears (Ten Copies, Winner’s Choice of Platform)
Whether you haven’t bought your copy of the widely anticipated ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ yet, have it but want it for another console or are looking for the perfect give for a loved one this holiday season, Stitch Kingdom is proud to join forces with Disney Interactive Studios and Junction Point Studio and award ten of our readers their very own copy of ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ on their choice of platform: Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Wii U, PlayStation PS3 or Xbox 360. As an added bonus, each copy comes with its own pair of the coveted ‘Epic Mickey 2′ exclusive branded Oswald ears.
We’ve dubbed this amazing opportunity ‘Ten to the Power of Two,’ and will be counting down the days to the holiday season by awarding one copy/ear hat per day for the next ten days beginning 12 am ET on December 4, 2012. Although your chances to win won’t be exponential, you’ll have the opportunity to grow your chances by participating each day by tweeting an entry via the form below. The more days you participate, the better your chances!
Note that the fulfillment will be processed by Disney Interactive Studios so while you will know whether you’re a winner, we cannot guarantee delivery by Christmas. Daily winners will be notified and must respond within 24 hours to receive their copy. Unclaimed prizes will be given away the following day in a method of our choosing (e.g. exclusively on Twitter). One winner per family for the duration of the giveaway. Winners who fail to acknowledge the prize within 24 hours will be eligible to win again during the giveaway period.
Disney Interactive today announced that a demo of the highly-anticipated “Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” video game is now available for download on the PlayStation®Network and Xbox LIVE® Marketplace for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft in North America. In the video game demo, players will adventure as Mickey Mouse and explore the extensive tutorial and early levels of the game including the magical laboratory of the sorcerer, Yen Sid. In addition, players will meet Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney’s first cartoon star, and experience a few of the fun co-op abilities that will be available in the full game at launch. The adventure will culminate with an exciting sizzle reel that showcases some of the exciting and action-packed elements of the game. “Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” will be available for all major console systems in North American retail stores on November 18th.
The “Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” video game returns Mickey Mouse and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to Wasteland, an alternate world filled with more than 80 years of forgotten Disney characters and theme park attractions. But for the first time, Mickey and Oswald will join forces as true partners – Mickey with the magical paint brush that allows him to wield paint and thinner, and Oswald with a powerful remote control that allows him to command electricity. This new co-op play further enhances the idea that “PlayStyle Matters” – a unique approach to gameplay pioneered by Warren Spector where players tackle challenges the way they want to in order to explore a variety of possibilities and storylines, but always with consequences for their chosen actions.
“Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” for the Wii™ system from Nintendo is being developed by Junction Point, while the Xbox 360, and the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system versions of the game are being developed by Blitz Games Studios, and Nintendo’s Wii U version is being developed by Heavy Iron. Supporting the latest technology, the game will also feature full support for the PlayStation®Move motion controller. “Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion” for the Nintendo 3DS™ hand-held system is under development by critically-acclaimed developer DreamRift, in collaboration with Junction Point. The games are rated “E” for Everyone by the ESRB.
It seems like less than a week before, I was in Disneyland checking out new areas of ‘Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two,’ but here I found myself once more in the presence of Junction Point director and driving force Warren Spector at a press-only event at New York Comic-Con. This time, however, we were also joined by Peter David, who penned the graphic novels for both games, as well as a lustrous career writing comics, particularly for Marvel.
While most of the materials presented were a rehash of what I had learned and seen the week before, there was plenty of new information strewn throughout, so here’s my addendum to the original report.
It wouldn’t really be Disney unless there were pins to collect and this time there are over 120 different pins in all. Not only can be they be collected and displayed in the pin shop located on Mean Street, but pins can also carry a buff with them as well, affecting gameplay.
Junction Point developers also found out that it is possible to collect all of the pins in one play-through, to Spector’s surprise and delight, but he was quick to note that these are also serious game testers and that the game wasn’t really designed to allow you to get everything in one run-through, so he cautioned that while the game mechanics do allow for it, the chances of any player doing so is pretty slim at best.
The good news: there is one. The bad news: it won’t be published in North America, not even digitally, unless someone at Disney Publishing Worldwide changes their minds. There was a copy present at the roundtable and I was able to skim through it and it really is a shame it won’t be available as comic writer Peter David has done a great job at adapting the story by Marv Wolfman, alongside the beautiful illustrations by Fabrizio Petrossi.
Despite not being able to read the graphic novel beyond that room, we had the opportunity to quiz David on the project, who spoke on the challenges of squeezing 20 hours of gameplay into a 48 page comic. Having adapted both ‘Epic Mickey’ titles as well as movies, David said it’s the ‘same exact principle… boiling it down to the essence of what the game is going to be.’ He went on to explain: ‘what you do is you try to tell the essence of the story while ideally hitting all the major things that people are going to remember… so I have to try and pick and choose and guess which of the things that it’s not going to feel like a graphic novel adaptation if this isn’t in it.’
While the game allows the player to choose how Mickey behaves, a graphic novel doesn’t have that luxury, so David has to make that decision for the reader. ‘I tend to have Mickey going around constructing things rather than destroying them,’ he explained, ‘because number one, I tend to feel that’s more consistent to Mickey and number two, that the Disney approvals process probably feels more comfortable with Mickey being a positive force rather than going around being destructive. If the player wants to go around and erase everything, well that’s the player’s play style, but I have to work to stay very much in character with Mickey.’
That’s not to say that Mickey doesn’t ever opt to use the thinner, quite the opposite. David feels it’s a necessary plot device not only to show Mickey’s range of tools, but to use it as a character development moment as well. ‘In both graphic novels, I had him initially use the thinner and find that he did not like the destructive properties that resulted from his using the thinner so he subsequently — for the rest of the book — moves in a positive direction but at least it’s a character moment,’ he told us.
Oswald, however, is far more aggressive when it comes to how David portrays him. He explained that whereas Mickey is in the Wasteland to ‘play the hero,’ it’s Oswald’s backyard, so he’s naturally more defensive about it.
Around this time, Spector jumped in to talk about how he’s amazed that despite having to omit game references to fit the space, David is able to actually add to the story by conveying the character’s internal thoughts in a way the game can’t do.
Another interesting thing to note about the graphic novel is that while the Mad Doctor sings throughout as he does in the game, the lyrics rarely correlate between the two mediums. David told us that this was due primarily to two things: the game’s songs not yet being approved for him to reference and the changes that had to be made to the story to adapt it for the graphic novel. Therefore most of the lyrics in the graphic novel are the handiwork of David himself.
VOICING THE CHARACTERS
Since ‘Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ is fully voiced, it’s fair and easy enough to say that the characters are voiced by their officially designated actors (i.e., Mickey Mouse is voiced by Bret Iwan). However, there are many characters who will be speaking for the first time in the Disney Universe. While we know Frank Welker has assumed the identity of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and that Cary Elwes will be taking on the role of Gus Gremlin, but there are still plenty of other surprises waiting to be revealed such the voices of the other Gremlins like Prescott and Jamface and — until now — Ortensia.
Spector spoke at length regarding finding voices for the Gremlins, Gus in particular. Although he relayed being told by multiple sources that Walt Disney had gone as far as to produce a fabled scratch track for the short that never came to fruition, no such recording has been uncovered to date. Instead, Spector and his team relied on the Roald Dahl book as well as comics by Walt Kelly to get a feel for how the Gremlins were. Junction Point then went on to create backstories and develop personalities for each of them based on their research and provided their own scratch vocals to Disney Character Voices to find the talent. Gus, Spector explained, was determined to be a ‘gruff, old Colonel Blimp’ type. Elwes handily won the role and other actors were obviously awarded their parts as well, but we won’t know exactly whom until the game is released. Teasing the talent, however, Spector noted that some ‘pretty big named actors’ auditioned for roles, but stopped short of dropping their names.
As for Ortensia, she is voiced in the game (and everywhere else from this point on) by Audrey Wasilewski. Wasilewski did provide other ‘voices’ in the first game and also counts the voice of Terk in other video games amongst her numerous credits.
OTHER TIDBITS WORTH NOTING
During the roundtable, we picked up a few other interesting items of note regarding ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2′ so we offer this speed-round of things you might want to know:
- After a lot of back and forth with PDP and Disney Interactive, the final answer regarding PDP’s Epic Mickey 2 controllers is that while they are technically compatible with Wii U, they can only be used for co-op play (Oswald). So basically you can use the paintbrush, but only for Oswald. The primary player (Mickey) requires use of the GamePad.
- Spector talked about costumes but once again remained vague on their attributes, stating only that it ‘should be fairly obvious’ what a suit of armor will do for Oswald. He noted the suit of armor costume was inspired by the 1928 short, Oh What A Knight, in which Oswald does not get to don armor, so this is his reward.
- Spector mentioned the observatory which will allow players to explore the origins of the Wasteland universe, but hinted that its location is actually hidden somewhere on Mean Street
- There will be a collectors edition, but only overseas in Europe and Australia and the like, not in North America. Spector is obviously very fond of what Disney Interactive pulled together for it, as you can see from its listing on Amazon Germany.
- Spector was asked if there were plans to re-release ‘Castle of Illusion,’ perhaps on virtual console, which resulted in an instant ‘no comment.’ We do know however that Disney recently applied for a trademark for a video game with that title.
- Spector also offered a ‘no comment’ on the potential of a Duck Tales game. Later on I spoke with Spector on the side and he was quite clear that his heart is in developing games using classic Disney IP and that he hopes to continue doing so for what that may be worth.
- Indelible ink may keep Mickey and Oswald safe from shallow thinner, but deep thinner will make the player puddle, so swim at your own risk.
EPIC MICKEY: THE MOVIE?
Being familiar with ‘Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ and a lot of the plot devices I will spare you, I was inspired to ask Spector if he ever considered producing shorts or more based on the ‘Epic Mickey’ video games. Not only has Spector considered the possibilities, but he told me he’s actually produced animation as a proof of concept. He was quick to note, however, that he is doing this all independently on his own as a pet project and it is in no way on Disney’s radar at this time.
Earlier this week, Disney Interactive and Junction Point Studio held a special exclusive event at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA to unveil brand new areas and worlds for both ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ and ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Illusion’ as well as demo the game for the first time on the Nintendo Wii U, along with other surprises which enhance gameplay.
The new areas shown for the first time are called ‘Rainbow Falls’ (heavily influenced by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) and ‘Rainbow Caverns’ and are inspired by the extinct Disneyland attraction, ‘Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland,’ a 1960 expansion of the ‘Rainbow Caverns Mine Train’ and primarily where ‘Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’ lies today. Although the attraction is no longer inside the park, many remnants from it are still alive and well and being preserved throughout Frontierland. Like its real-world counterpart, in The Wasteland, the attraction was one of the first built and nowadays play home to the giant Projector Substation that supplies power to all of the projectors across the world.
Rainbow Caverns itself is split into two areas: the Angel side and the Demon side, which includes a maze filled with cascading fire in which players ‘must’ turn wrenches to alternate the sheets of fire to navigate the maze — of course there may be a way or two to help the navigation process, which one might find by game exploration.
Of course introducing new lands also means introducing new projection levels, the side-scrolling adventures that help players transition between worlds. Here we had an opportunity to explore levels based on ‘Building A Building’ (1933) and the ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ from Disney’s Fantasia (1940). A sharp eye also caught mention of a level based on the first Silly Symphonies short, ‘The Skeleton Dance’ (1929). You may not be able to play them all right away, however, as it turns out that how you play the game not only determines which lands and characters you’ll encounter, but how you’ll transition between them as well! As part of the game’s lore, when the earthquakes and other disasters struck The Wasteland between the two games, all of the projectors went down as well. This is when Gus (voiced by Cary Elwes) and the rest of the Gremlins built the DEC (or Dahl Engineering Corridors, named after famed children’s author and Gremlins co-creator Roald Dahl) system underground, using Disney memorabilia that had fallen from the sky. How you play a level determines whether you can jump through the projector to play the game based on the short, or whether you must go underground and face different challenges, navigating tons of Disneyana inspired directly from the Disney Archives.
On the same topic of lore, the game also introduces a mysterious new area called ‘The Observatory,’ a place where players can go to peer through a telescope and peak around the skies (from which the forgotten Disneyana falls) and perhaps unlock some of the mysteries of The Wasteland and the history of its inhabitants. At a private dinner held later that same day at Disneyland’s private club, Club 33, Spector also suggested that the game contains an area called ‘Club 13′ inspired by the famed location.
There are also plenty of new ways to enhance and alter gameplay, such as costumes. According to Spector, as players navigate the game, they can ‘find, gifted with, awarded with or purchase’ costumes which will affect how Mickey and Oswald play the game (just exactly how is being kept a secret at this time). The hat shop located on Mean Street will serve as ‘the hub’ for costuming. Meanwhile, a pin shop serves as a place to exhibit pins that have been collected throughout the game as well a photo shop where gamer can reminisce of their time in the Wasteland by viewing in-game photos taken at various photo opportunity spots throughout the worlds, just as the real parks have, to help complete quests.
Another new addition is the use of inkwells, which can almost be thought of using paint and thinner on oneself, although the effects are temporary and — in the case of the latter — not quite as detrimental. Once the player jumps into an inkwell, they receive one of two effects based on the inkwell type: invisible ink and indelible ink. The exceptional play on words allow Mickey and Oswald to either become invisible (allowing them to sneak past enemies) or invulnerable (allowing them to walk through thinner for example). Rather than being time limited in their use, the limitations are actually based on physics: as the characters jump, run or walk, the ink will visually drip off of them at a rate according to their movement. Movement speed is variable depending on the pressure applied to the analog controls, so it’s possible to sneak around almost indefinitely just by moving at a snail’s pace. By either painting in or thinning out objects around the inkwells, players are also able to convert them between invisible and indelible modes.
Below is a video of the full presentation from the event, featuring not only Warren Spector, but also Peter Ong from DreamRift who talks about ‘Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Illusion’ for Nintendo 3DS as well as shares some of the newly released screens from the game featuring the Maleficent dragon from Sleeping Beauty and the world based on The Little Mermaid.
If that’s not enough, a soundtrack for ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of 2′ will also be available via digital download and Amazon on-demand disc beginning November 13, 2012. The soundtrack features 23 tracks composed by Jim Dooley as well as a bonus track from teen DJ/producer Cole Plante. The tracklist is as follows (WARNING: Track list may contain spoilers):
1. Yen Sid’s Lab
2. Opening – Mad Doctor
3. Mean Street
4. Building a Building
6. Meet Daisy
7. Disney Gulch
8. Music Land
9. I’m Falling Apart – Mad Doctor and Jamface
10. Skeleton Dance
11. Blot Dragon
12. Prescott and the Pumps
14. Intro to Blot Alley
15. The Mad Doctor Isn’t Mad – Mad Doctor and Oswald
17. Prescott’s Machine
18. The Fall of Prescott – Mad Doctor, Prescott, Big Bad Pete and Daisy
19. Ventureland Combat
20. Autotopia Exploration
21. The Mad Doctor’s Plan – Mad Doctor
22. The Mad Doctor’s Attic
23. That’s What Heroes Do – Mad Doctor, Oswald and Mickey
24. A Hero’s Second Chance – Cole Plante (Bonus Track)
Below you’ll also find some gameplay footage as well as concept art and our gallery of newly released nextgen screens from the game (new images added to the beginning of the gallery):
Also, be sure to watch this space! Coming soon will be a brand new hands-on review which includes using the Nintendo Wii U GamePad and the special ‘Epic Mickey 2′ controllers for the Nintendo Wii and Wii U from PDP along with a special interview with the game’s music composer, Jim Dooley, and live updates from New York Comic-con.
Disney Interactive today announced that the highly-anticipated ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ video game will be available for Nintendo’s Wii U™ system this holiday season. Wii U players will experience their adventure through Wasteland, an alternate world filled with more than 80 years of forgotten Disney characters and theme park attractions, in HD graphics and enjoy enhanced game features.
‘It’s exciting to bring Nintendo fans “Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” on Nintendo’s revolutionary new game system,’ said Bill Roper, vice president and general manager of production, Disney Interactive. ‘The technological advances of the Wii U system have allowed us to enhance player direction and provide our fans with an immersive as well as unique gaming experience.’
Using the Wii U™ GamePad, players will see a fully detailed, real-time map of Wasteland with waypoints and markers to help guide them through the game and complete the different quests and side-quests. Players will also be able to use the GamePad to access sketches and activate the sketches to use in-game for a more immersive experience.
Below is a gallery of stills from the Wii U platform provided to us by Disney Interactive:
‘Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ for the Wii™ system from Nintendo is being developed by Junction Point, the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, and the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system is being developed by Blitz Games Studios and Nintendo’s Wii U version is being developed by Heavy Iron. Supporting the latest technology, the game will also feature full support for the PlayStation®Move motion controller. ‘Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion’ for the Nintendo 3DS™ hand-held system is under development by critically-acclaimed developer DreamRift, in collaboration with Junction Point. The games are rated ‘E’ for Everyone by the ESRB. “Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” for the Wii U system is currently unrated by the ESRB.
At the 2012 E3, Disney Interactive Studios took the opportunity to share new levels and information on its upcoming multi-platform release, ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2.’ In addition to sharing new levels which include a side-scrolling transition level that pays homage to Disney’s 1937 Silly Symphonies short, The Old Mill, a boss level featuring a blotworx patterned after the Elliott (of Pete’s Dragon) float from the Main Street Electrical Parade was shown, as well as featured in the new trailer below.
In addition, Disney Interactive has provided us with this new behind-the-scenes featurette, titled ‘A Brief History of Oswald’ which features Junction Point VP and Creative Director Warren Spector along with Disney’s chief archivist, Becky Cline, who provide a brief history of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, from his inception to his acquisition by The Walt Disney Company, sharing many of the Disney Archives’ prized Oswald-related artifacts along the way.
‘Disney Epic Mickey 2′ will be released on all major platforms on November 18, 2012, the 84th birthday of Mickey (and Minnie) Mouse.
Disney Interactive Studios has released this first-look featurette with Junction Point’s Warren Spector, Paul Weaver (Studio Director) and Chase Jones (Design Director) as they talk about their new title, ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ which features the ability to play as both Mickey and Oswald with ‘couch co-op.’
The team talks about conceiving the sequel to the Nintendo Wii game as well as bringing it to all platforms this time around. All in all, there isn’t too much that’s new here, but it does provide the opportunity to hear a bit of Oswald’s speaking part in the game’s opening cinematic in which he screams ‘earthquake!’ In the game, Oswald is voiced by legend of the genre, Frank Welker.
The multi-platform ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ will be released this fall and is currently available for pre-order.
Disney Interactive Media Group today announced the development of “Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion,” the first Nintendo 3DS™ title in the “Disney Epic Mickey” franchise. The title features an interactive combination of painting, dual screen integration and 3D transformation capabilities designed to give players the unique ability to create objects and even characters they can place in the world of Wasteland.
In “Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion,” Reality is What You Paint of It. The game offers a special drawing and painting function that allows players to create rough versions of objects that magically transform into classic Disney-style 2D illustrations. Utilizing the game’s unparalleled dual screen integration, players then move their creations to the top screen where they are further transformed into full-color, fully-rendered 3D visuals.
Paying tribute to the classic Sega Genesis title “Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse,” “Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion” focuses on the fabled Castle of Illusion, which has fallen into Wasteland, an alternate world filled with 80 years of forgotten Disney characters and theme park attractions – and now forgotten video games. The evil witch Mizrabel, villainess from the classic “Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse,” finds herself an unwilling inhabitant of Wasteland, and unleashes a plot to escape using the Castle of Illusion to imprison and drain the cartoon essence from currently famous Toons. Players will take on the role of Mickey Mouse as he utilizes his magical brush to wield paint and thinner to confront Mizrabel and save the Toons.
“The original ‘Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse’ changed the face of video gaming by allowing players to play as Mickey Mouse in a side-scrolling adventure full of dynamic environments,” said Warren Spector, vice president and creative director, Junction Point. “We’re honored to be able to pay tribute to this classic video game by creating a title that truly takes advantage of the unique capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS, putting the magic of Disney and the historic Castle of Illusion in the palm of your hands.”
“Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion” is being created by critically acclaimed DS developer DreamRift, in collaboration with Disney Interactive’s Junction Point. The game is slated for a fall 2012 release on the Nintendo 3DS. For more information, go to www.disney.com/disneyepicmickey, or check out this month’s issue of Nintendo Power magazine which features an exclusive cover story on the upcoming game.
UPDATE: Disney Interactive Studios has provided us with some screen shots as well as some amazing concept art from the game as seen in our galleries below:
‘We’re here to talk about “Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two,” clearly the best kept secret in video gaming,’ jokes Warren Spector, Creative Director and Vice President of Disney Interactive’s Junction Point Studio in Austin, TX at an after-hours media event held earlier this week at the Bob Bullock Museum of Texas History.
Before he takes the stage, however, he is introduced by Brenda Gunn, Associate Director at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas. Gunn speaks on Austin’s role in shaping the video game industry beginning in the 1970s and commends Spector who — along with Richard Garriott, George Sanger, and Bill Bottorff — inspired the University to create and maintain its massive collection of thousands of video games, consoles and development materials including concept art, design documents, game proposals and internal correspondence.
When it’s his turn to address the small crowd, Spector offers a refresher course on the first ‘Disney Epic Mickey’ via a trailer and stats. ‘Disney Epic Mickey was — and remains — the best selling single platform game in Disney Interactive’s history,’ he notes,’ So obviously we appealed to players.’
He continues on to explain that their objective with the first game was to create a game ‘that had the same broad appeal as a Pixar film or a classic film from Disney.’ Not intended to reach any specific demographic, he says, but to reach every one. Recapping the results of survey Disney administered to ‘Epic Mickey’ players, Spector says, ‘We really did make a game that appealed to everyone. Over half of our audience around the world was made up of adults. So I think on that score I’d have to say the game was pretty successful.’ So successful in fact, that according to the survey, Spector reports that over 90% of participants in every territory worldwide were interested in a sequel.
But tooting the company’s horn only goes so far as Spector owns up to what he felt could have potentially been handled better in the first game. He explains, ‘The first time out, creating a studio, creating a team, creating a tech base, creating a world, figuring out who these characters are, creating new game play patterns and new game systems, you never get everything right.’ He announces three things he seeked out to change in the sequel: camera, voice and persistence.
It’s of little surprise that the issue of the camera comes up as it is easily the feature from the first title that receives the most complaints. Seemingly defiant to the cause, Spector has famously defended the camera’s team and continues to do so, although he admits changes were needed. ‘The reality is we made a game that allowed players to determine whether the game felt like a platform game or an action-adventure game and those two genres require very different game camera systems… I think the team did an amazing job on the first game but we knew we could do better,’ he says. He then goes on to explain that in anticipation of the sequel, he dedicated the team from the beginning to work on improving the system. As a result, more than 1,000 specific changes were made to the automatic game camera system with the objective of the player never needing to touch the manual camera controls if sticking to the main story path.
When it comes characters speaking, Spector explains the reasoning behind choosing what they call ‘bark text’ in the original ‘Disney Epic Mickey.’ ‘We did that for two reasons,’ he says, ‘both of them really dumb and both of them my decisions.’ He explains that although the team was inspired by Disney for the original game, they also found inspiration in old Nintendo games and Japanese RPGs. His idea is then solidified when he decides that since Oswald was a silent film star and couldn’t talk, then nobody could: ‘I thought that was funny, that’s how dumb this is.’
To make up for it, Junction Point brought in comics writer Marv Wolfman (who already has a storied history with both Disney and Marvel in particular). Wolfman helped craft the game’s story and wrote the dialogue for all of the characters who are voiced by their respective Disney voice talent. Returning as the (actual) voice of Oswald is Frank Welker. We later have the opportunity to hear Oswald’s voice very briefly, which to me sounds a bit like a slightly higher pitched version of another of Welker’s famous characters, Fred Jones of ‘Scooby Doo’ (though I reserve the right to regret that description later on). Oswald’s significant other, Ortensia, ‘is a character from start to finish that you interact with a lot,’ though who providers her voice is currently a secret. Gremlins also take a more prominent role in the sequel and are fully voiced, but Spector tells us only that they are voiced by some ‘interesting names.’ It would later be confided in me that one of the mysterious voices is that of actor Cary Elwes (famously of The Princess Bride and recently featured in The Adventures of Tintin).
If speaking weren’t enough, Spector also pronounces ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ as being the first musical comedy video game. He says, ‘much of the story is told through song, so I want all the Gleeks to turn out in force for it.’ While Jim Dooley returned to compose the music for the game (whose tone changes based on the mood of the game), the songs’ lyrics are penned by Mike Himselstein (who we’re told performs double duty as the voice of Yen Sid). How many songs are in the game is a secret (we will later hear one as part of the opening cinematic), but I was told ‘at least five,’ that you will have to play the game through different ways to hear them all and we can expect 1 or two additional songs to debut at E3.
The third obstacle Spector looked to tackle was persistence: ‘If your choices actually aren’t permanent — if they don’t matter — if when you leave a map, the changes you made revert when you come back, play style doesn’t matter as much as it should… every thing you do in “Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” is forever until you decide to undo it… if you erase something, it stays erased. If someone doesn’t like you, they stay not liking you until you change your mind.’
While the game will include familiar places and settings such as Mean Streets, it offers ‘many all new places’ to visit as well as new takes on familiar ones. Whereas in the first game, Yen Sid’s workshop was only seen in the cinematic, it now serves as the training ground for Mickey to explore. OsTown becomes significantly more involved although Spector notes it has since been changed by ‘seemingly natural events’ since Mickey has seen it last. Spector also shows us a still from ‘let’s just say a version of Frontierland,’ noting it was ‘something we wanted to do in the first game… Frontierland has changed more than any other part of the Disney Parks, so there’s plenty of forgotten, rejected stuff to have fun with there.’
A new army has risen in the Wastelands too, a curious hybrid of Blotlings and Beetleworx known as Blotworx. How exactly this new species came about is all part of the mystery surrounding the sequel’s story.
Spector then treats us to the opening cinematic for the game which clocks in at around 4 1/2 minutes and helps to explain what’s been occurring between the two titles as well as introduces us to our first song and sets the initial mood for the game.
‘If “Disney Epic Mickey” was the story of Mickey as a hero, reminding people that he is a video game star,’ Spector says, ‘”Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” is as much about Oswald and — now that we’ve reminded the world who he is — making him a big star.’
He then introduces Becky Cline, Director of the Walt Disney Archives, to dole out some history on Oswald, how he came to be, how Walt Disney lost control and how Robert Iger bartered for Oswald by offering up sportscaster Al Michaels. She talks about some of the Oswald items she has brought from the archives to share, some of which just recently discovered and never displayed publicly, but her biggest treat by far is being convinced by Spector to screen a copy of ‘Hungry Hoboes’ for the audience of media and Junction Point developers. The 1928 short was thought to be lost for good but was just recently discovered at the Huntley Film Archive of Herefordshire, UK. The only known print of the short went up for auction last December and sold to an anonymous buyer for $31,250 and is now in the hands of The Walt Disney Company.
It’s an incredible thrill to see the short by Walt Disney that only a handful outside of Disney have seen in more than eight decades. It’s an absolutely funny (and sadistic) film loaded with one sight gag after another — let’s just say I learned a whole new way to collect eggs from a chicken.
I will later have the opportunity to speak with Cline after the event and ask about plans to release it, but the film has yet to be fully soundtracked and restored, so it may be some time before that will happen. Cline will also explain how most of the films that are recovered tend to be from overseas because they generally didn’t require the films to be returned to the distributor. Also of interest is that while the title card of the film does actually read ‘Hungry Hobos,’ the official title and copyright is for ‘Hungry Hoboes,’ with the Disney Archives at a loss for why the discrepancy.
Spector then re-addresses the group to discuss the ‘couch co-op’ play aspect of the game. ‘The two characters have distinct and unique, complementary abilities,’ he says. Mickey has the ability to use his sketches, paint and thinner, while Oswald has a remote control that allows him to zap enemies and repair and even reprogram electronics and animatronics throughout the Wasteland. Oswald also has ‘helicopter ears,’ which while don’t really afford him the ability to fly, they allow him to glide slowly back to earth, allowing Mickey to hop on for a ride as needed (or for fun). Speaking of sketches, Spector doesn’t mention it, but Mickey has a new one in ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2,’ the fairy sketch, which allows Mickey to make objects light enough to levitate and move through space. Oswald himself has another unspoken talent, the ability to detach his leg and use it as a boomerang to battle enemies.
The split-screen, ‘couch co-op’ play is drop-in, drop-out and is supplemented by AI. Oswald is with Mickey every step of the way, whether there is a second player or not. If co-op play isn’t taking place, Oswald will assist brother Mickey the best he can.
Note no mention of rumored ‘Power of Illusion’ Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Android or Apple iOS devices is made during the presentation.
I now have the opportunity to actually play a demo of the game on all three consoles. Areas to explore include the training level in Yen Sid’s workshop and Mickey’s ‘house,’ OsTown and the 2D transition levels known as the Dahl Engineering Corridors (DECs), so named for noted children’s author Roald Dahl who created the Gremlins and worked with Walt Disney on related projects.
The first thing I notice is how remarkably similar the game play is between the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii. There are some differences of course, the most notable one being the lower resolution on the Wii, which is almost sad after experiencing it on the NextGen consoles. While PlayStation Move support is expected (but not available for the demo), the Wii does have another major advantage in the controls, those being the Wii Remote and Nunchuk controllers. In fact there is at least one sequence in which Oswald re-programs a device by slowly turning the Wii Remote. On that note, the Junction Point team also brought along working prototypes of an Oswald Remote Control Nunchuck which complements the ‘Epic Mickey’ paintbrush one. Surprisingly, I find the controls on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 to be really simple to use and get accustomed to, although I do not like how the crosshairs automatically snap back to the center of the screen when you let go of the analog control, making aiming particularly challenging at times.
The DEC transition level proves to be fun and entertaining enough and is full of Disneyana and tributes to Disney films and characters, featuring everything from a giant Chip head to the judge from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride to a Dumbo comic book to Goofy pogs that were part of a one-time publicity event, but reside in the Disney Archives as a result. Here is also a not-so-hidden basketball hoop which is one of the elements that exists in every game by Warren Spector (in ‘Epic Mickey,’ it was in a hidden room).
The co-op play is pretty fun and direct although it appears that Oswald sometimes has an artificial mind of his own within the mode. It may simply be a matter of the game still being developed, but it can usually be easily remedied by dropping out and back in after he sets himself straight. When not in co-op mode, Oswald is on his own and usually does a pretty good job at supporting Mickey, although he sometimes seems a bit bored through the process and will either entertain himself by removing his foot and studying it. On occasion, he will do something that doesn’t quite make sense, although it turns out that he seems to be aware of elements of the game that haven’t quite made it into the demo too.
The automatic camera control seems way more refined for me when I play on the Xbox 360, so much so that it’s almost obvious to me how much better it is, but as time goes on, I start falling out of love with it, often finding myself having to switch to manual operations, either because the automatic system didn’t keep up with me, or I’ve managed to require some odd perspective to complete a task. Often times I also end up with the screen being obfuscated by large polygons I can only presume to be my head. That aside, I find the d-pad manual controls easy to use on the NextGen devices and have little problem managing the camera as I need to do to unlock a Hidden Mickey constellation in the training level.
One other discouraging element, ironically enough, is the voice. The demo environment is so noisy that it was impossible to hear most of the gameplay so I find myself wishing subtitles were at least an option. It is still in development, however, so hopefully they will be added in the future, not just for noisy environments, but for playing with the sound muted in quiet environments and, of course, out of courtesy for the deaf.
Below are some photos from the event as well the box art and some screenshots from the NextGen and Wii consoles provided to us by Disney Interactive as well as some raw gameplay footage and the game’s announcement trailer.
Lastly, in celebration of the announcement, I would like to offer the opportunity for one Stitch Kingdom reader to receive this limited edition ‘Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ t-shirt. Featuring Mickey and Oswald against the Texas star, this shirt was produced for the Junction Point development team as well as event invitees. It is sold orange aside from the design and features the ‘Epic Mickey 2′ logo in white on the back. Please note you must be 18+ and a US resident to win.
Destructoid has reported that one of its readers had been offered an online survey which discusses a sequel for Epic Mickey, tentatively titled Epic Mickey 2. Amongst potential box artwork, possible subtitles such as Epic Mickey 2: Return of the Mad Doctor, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, Epic Mickey 2: Mystery on Mean Street were offered up. The gist of the game appears to be co-op play between Mickey Mouse and half-brother Oswald, presumably picking up where the first game ended.
One key difference is that this game is being promoted for multi-platform, including Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, which did not have their Kinect and Move systems (respectively) available when the original Wii-exclusive title was being developed, which created quite a stir amongst the gaming community. That said, Junction Point, the developer of the original title, never ruled out bringing the game to those platforms and lead developer Warren Spector had said from the beginning that he had more material to bring to the table, hinting at, but never explicitly suggesting a sequel.
The game’s description, as provided in the online survey, is as follows:
‘Disney Epic Mickey 2 is the latest game in the critically acclaimed Disney Epic Mickey videogame series. In this all-new action-platforming game available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii, Mickey embarks on an epic journey and is pulled back into a world filled with Disney’s forgotten characters. Players can choose to play single-player as Mickey or for the first time players can also choose 2-player split screen mode. In the 2 player mode one person can play as Mickey wielding magic paint and paint thinner to dynamically change the world and the second player can play as Oswald the Lucky Rabbit – Walt Disney’s first cartoon star – with the power to fly like a helicopter and use electricity to fight or friend enemies and solve challenges. Team-up and choose your path to save this forgotten world because the choices you make will alter the story and change the end of the game!’
Possible box art (lacking a subtitle) included:
Added to the confusion, the series of books based on Epic Mickey, including The Art of Epic Mickey (now slated for an October release), the graphic novel and junior novel, had been initially postponed until summer of 2011, several months after release of the original game, fueling speculation that their release would come alongside an announcement of a sequel.
With the news now in the open, perhaps in just an attempt to foil squatters, Disney has gone ahead and registered domain names which include DISNEYEPICMICKEY2.COM, DISNEYEPICMICKEY2.ORG and DISNEYEPICMICKEY2.NET.