Disney Interactive has released a new featurette for its upcoming ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two,’ titled ‘The Power of Character.’ In the video, the creative team at Junction Point talk about the importance of choosing elements and the attributes of the characters that appear within the game. In addition to talking about Mickey and Oswald’s special abilities, Warren Spector discusses the influence that Oswald’s galpal, Ortensia, will yield in the game (including some great looks of her in action — no samples of her speaking yet, unfortunately) and the internal struggles of the Mad Doctor who marks his return in the game’s sequel.
Disney also provided us with new screen shots and even some concept art which take a look at Disney Gulch, a new land that debuts in ‘Epic Mickey 2′ and is reminiscent of Frontierland. The concept art also demonstrate the wealth of Disney references that inhabit the game, such as Jiminy Cricket’s disturbing appearance at the Disney Gulch train station.
Disney Gulch concept art:
‘Disney Epic Mickey 2′ Screenshots (newest at beginning of gallery)
‘Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ is scheduled for release on Mickey’s birthday, November 18, 2012 and is currently available for pre-order for Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3. Windows and Mac platforms will also be available
Disney Interactive Studios has released the opening cinematic for the multi-console ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2′ video game which will be released on Mickey Mouse’s birthday, November 18, 2012.
The segment, which features one of the songs from the game (which doubles as a musical), sets the mood for the game in which after leaving the world of the Wasteland, Mickey is called back because of trouble brewing at the onset of a horrible earthquake.
The cinematic is being released in honor of San Diego Comic-Con which will feature a panel on Sunday with the creative forces behind the game such as Warren Spector and writer Marv Wolfman along with graphic novel illustrator Peter David and Disney Archives director Becky Cline.
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.
Disney Interactive Media Group (DIMG) invites Disney fans and families to step into its pavilion at the D23 Expo—The Ultimate Disney Fan Event—for hands-on fun with the latest interactive entertainment products for video game consoles, mobile devices and online, based on beloved Disney stories and characters. Every day of the D23 Expo, taking place August 19-21, 2011 at the Anaheim Convention Center, will be packed with hours of game play, special guests, interactive art contests, giveaways and more!
Guests of the D23 Expo will be able to suit up, power up and team up as they enter Disney Universe, a multiplayer action-adventure video game set in a mix-up of Disney and Disney/Pixar inspired worlds that will be released this fall.
The Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension video game, inspired by the Disney Channel Original Movie, will be available for hands-on gameplay. Fans will be able to play as their favorite Phineas and Ferb characters as they journey through new dimensions to battle the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz.
Guests can also immerse themselves in the recently released and critically acclaimed Cars 2: The Video Game. Inspired by the Disney/Pixar animated film, the game allows players to dive into the Cars 2 universe alongside some of their favorite Cars personalities in exotic locations spanning the globe.
The award-winning video game Disney Epic Mickey will be featured in the DIMG pavilion and the game’s creator, legendary game designer Warren Spector, will be on hand. Mr. Spector will be making special appearances at the booth on August 19 and 20 to meet guests and sign autographs.
Online gamers can play Disney’s latest social games, including this summer’s smash hit Gardens of Time and the popular online virtual world for kids Club Penguin. Guests who want Disney games on the go, can try out the latest mobile games, such as Cars 2 and Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty, available for iPhone, iPad and Android.
For aspiring young Disney artists and animators, Disney.com’s Create will offer its newest collection of online creativity tools for making digital paintings, comic books, animated pets, photo mashups, music slideshows and animations. During the D23 Expo, the new Disney Epic Mickey Digital Painter will be featured in the booth and guests will be invited to participate in daily art contests judged by Warren Spector for the chance to win exclusive D23 DIMG prize packages.
UPDATE: 7/25/11 – For those who are curious, we are told that Disneyland Adventures for the Microsoft Xbox Kinect will be represented, but Microsoft has its own booth, which is why it wasn’t mentioned in the press release from Disney Interactive.
If you don’t, however, or if you know someone who doesn’t have it but should, today would be a good day to consider it as Amazon.com is listing it as a gold box deal, offering it for just $29.99 for today only, which represents a savings of 40% off the full retail cost of the game.
It took a few more months than we initially anticipated when we first talked about it back in August, but the original game score to Epic Mickey by Emmy Award-winning composer Jim Dooley hit the virtual shelves of iTunes yesterday. Twenty tracks in all are included in the soundtrack which can be purchased online now for $9.99 for the complete album or $.99 per individual track.
The album is also available for download from Amazon.com for $7.99.
‘Jim Dooley’s music perfectly captures the environment and feel of Disney Epic Mickey, raising players to great heights of emotion. His music perfectly completes the world of Wasteland,’ said Warren Spector, general manager and creative director, Disney Interactive Studios’ Junction Point. ‘It is with great pride and pleasure that we make this incredible soundtrack available to video game and music fans alike.’
The track listing is as follows:
1. Main Titles (2:26)
2. How Mickey Ended Up in Wasteland (5:35)
3. Dark Beauty Castle (4:30)
4. The Gremlin Village (features ‘it’s a small world’) (5:24)
5. Oswald’s History (0:43)
6. Tomorrow City (5:38)
7. Mickey Meets Horace Horsecollar (0:41)
8. Mickey Meets Clarabelle Cow (0:42)
9. Mickey Meets Daisy Duck (0:45)
10. The Pirates of Wasteland (6:57)
11. Transition Games II (6:31)
12. Mickeyjunk Mountain (feat. “Mickey Mouse Club March”) (6:24)
13. Arrival At Lonesome Manor (0:37)
14. Lonesome Manor (4:00)
15. Mickey Defeats the Mad Doctor (0:40)
16. The Blot Escapes (3:00)
17. The Blot Grabs Mickey (1:14)
18. The Epic Finale (4:11)
19. Mickey’s Theme (1:47)
20. Oswald’s Theme (2:36)