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.
It was the most coveted promotional item at 2012′s E3 and San Diego Comic-Con; it’s one of the most highly anticipated video games of the year — and now they can both be yours to treasure and best of all, you’ll save money doing it!
GameStop is now accepting pre-orders for ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two’ for Wii, Wii U, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and is not only offering a discount of $5 when the game is purchased in advance, but is exclusively offering the ‘Epic Mickey 2′ Oswald Ears. A new take on the classic Mickey Mouse Ears found at Disney theme parks, the ‘Epic Mickey 2′ Oswald ears bear a different badge than the ears sold in the parks (if you can even manage to find them), so this is the perfect opportunity to start (or grow) your collection.
For more information and to pre-order ‘Disney Epic Mickey 2′ to stake your claim for you very own set of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit ears, visit GameStop.
Just as they did for the original ‘Epic Mickey’ title, PDP will be releasing a new paintbrush controller in honor of ‘Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two.’ Exclusive to the Nintendo Wii and Wii U, the PDP paintbrush is an upgrade from the original model, introducing an interactive element which causes the tip to glow blue or green depending on Mickey’s actions inside the game.
The paintbrush wont be the only offering, however. As ‘Epic Mickey 2′ incorporates couch co-op play featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, PDP is also introducing a clicker controller patterned after Oswald’s remote control from the game.
Both controllers plug into the Wiimote via the nunchuk port and will be available to own on November 18, 2012. Both controllers are currently available for pre-order.
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
Get ready for classic arcade video game action with a whole new modern look and feel as Activision Publishing Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard Inc., (Nasdaq: ATVI) and Disney Interactive (NYSE:DIS) today announced a collaboration to produce and distribute a Wreck-It Ralph video game. As a story extension to the highly anticipated upcoming blockbuster film of the same name from Walt Disney Animation Studios, the Wreck-It Ralph video game is set to inspire a whole new generation of young gamers as a classic, arcade-style side scroller featuring Ralph – the misunderstood villain of his own arcade game who sets out to prove he can be a hero too. Debuting this fall tied to the movie release, Wreck-It Ralph will bring all the fun from the big screen right into the living room for the Wii system from Nintendo, and the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo DS hand-held systems.
“Wreck-It Ralph, as a brand entity, is perfectly suited for video game stardom,” said David Oxford, Executive Vice President, Activision Publishing. “With the fantastic characters and creative atmosphere envisioned by Walt Disney Animation Studios, we know fans are going to love seeing their newfound favorite characters embark on an all-new side scrolling adventure.”
The game picks up where the movie leaves off as Ralph partners with Fix-It Felix and sets out to save their friends and home from a huge Cy-Bug invasion. Pounding through all-new levels in the Wreck-It Ralph universe, like Sugar Rush, Hero’s Duty, and Fix-It Felix, Jr., players will have to use Ralph’s destructive strength to beat by the Cy-Bugs, while switching back to Felix to repair the damage. With story campaign and two-player co-op on the Wii platform, players can switch between Ralph and Felix to solve action-packed puzzles and collect “Hero Medals.”
Today we get our sixth and final look at the lands to explore in Disney Interactive’s ‘Disney Universe’ before it hits shelves on October 25 (available for pre-order for Xbox, PS3, Wii and PC), just in time for Halloween. The world of Aladdin joins previously viewed worlds Monsters, Inc., Wall-E, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion King and Pirates of the Caribbean as the six worlds that will ship with the game, with more becoming available via Downloadable Content (DLC) for the Microsoft Xbox and PlayStation 3 editions.
The gameplay trailer released today shows us some action in Agrabah as well as some of the newly available costumes such as Aladdin, Jasmine and Jafar, with screenshots also previewing Abu.
Below are our our character and screenshot galleries for the game. Although we have not yet received the Aladdin costumes from Disney Interactive yet, we will add them as soon as they become available to us.
Lastly, courtesy of Walt Disney Studios France, we have these short teasers for ‘Disney Universe’ featuring the worlds and costumes of Pirates of the Caribbean, Aladdin and Wall-E.
In honor of International Talk Like A Pirates Day, we have a new video look at the ‘Pirates World’ portion of the upcoming Disney Interactive Studios title, ‘Disney Universe’ which will be available to own October 25 (and now available for pre-order from Amazon.com).
Although we had previously gotten a look at the Captain Jack Sparrow costume from the game’s box art, we also now get a look at the Angelica costume via the newly released screenshots from the playing level, with
hopefully more costumes to be released to us later today. We’ve now added costumes for Jack, Angelica, Mr. Gibbs, Blackbeard and Barbossa!
The Pirates of the Caribbean world joins The Lion King, Alice in Wonderland, WALL-E and Monsters, Inc. as one of six worlds that will come with the game initially, with more promised in the way of Downloadable Content on the PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox platforms in the future.
Included below is our character and screenshot galleries for the game which includes several new screen captures from the ‘Pirates World’ featuring Jack Sparrow and Angelica costumes. We expect to add more costumes inspired by the world of Pirates of the Caribbean later today to the costume gallery, so please check back later.
The video goes into the world of Wall-E, one of six that will ship with the game, with more to become available via downloadable content on the Xbox and PlayStation 3 platforms. We also get to see one of the players dressed in the Wall-E costume along with a sighting of Buy-N-Large in gameplay.
Although we could expect more screenshots and character designs in honor of San Diego Comic-Con, the next official video release date is August 18, presumably in honor of Disney D23 Expo.
We also have new screen shots from the game which feature Donald Duck, Wall-E and MO costumes in the Wall-E world.
And new costumes from Wall-E including WALL-E, EVE, MO, BURN-E and Cockroach
Disney Interactive Studios has released two new trailers today in support of its summer releases, ‘Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension’ and ‘Cars 2.’
Based on the Disney Channel Original Movie of the same title, the PlayStation®3 system and Wii system versions of ‘Phineas and Ferb’ will allow fans to play as up to 10 characters. Players will have the option to work together in two-player cooperative modes while navigating through an old time 1928-style cartoon world, a lawn gnome land and a gelatin world. In a mission to save the world, players will journey through 25 exciting levels while overcoming obstacles. They also can upgrade cool new gadgets including the Carbonator, which fires carbonated orange soda that can melt enemies and Ninja Gloves, which allows players to stick to walls. Along the way, fans will collect cool items and unlock additional playable characters, including a new OWCA special agent created specifically for the video game. The PlayStation® 3 system version will also be the first time a Phineas and Ferb video game features PlayStation®Move motion controller compatible gameplay.
In the DS version of ‘Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension,’ fans will play as Phineas, Ferb or Agent P. Players will jump, dodge, race and battle through five outrageous worlds featuring more than 30 levels. Players will work to earn gadget upgrades including a baseball launcher and Agent P’s favorite gadget – the grapple gun, while solving environmental puzzles in an effort to save Alternate Danville.
Disney Interactive has also announced that show creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff ‘Swampy’ Marsh will be at E3 on June 8 to meet with fans. Fans are encouraged to follow @DisneyE3 on Twitter.
‘Phineas and Ferb: Across the Second Dimension’ will be available to own for the Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS on August 2 and is currently available for pre-order from Amazon.com.
Not to be outdone, another game trailer for ‘Cars 2′ titled ‘Elite Agents’ was released today. ‘Cars 2′ will be available to own on June 21 for all major gaming consoles and is currently available for pre-order from Amazon.com.