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.
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.
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.
The game features 30 songs from Disney and Pixar animated classics, allowing up to eight players to compete in karaoke in family mode. The game also features performance tips from Anika Noni Rose from The Princess and the Frog.
For more information, see the original announcement here. There are also additional screenshots from the game, such as the one featured here, on Amazon.com.
Nothing brings together families like the magic and music of Disney’s films, and today Disney Interactive Studios announced a new interactive way for families to come together and enjoy their favorite songs from their favorites films. Disney Sing It: Family Hits is a karaoke game featuring the most beloved songs and videos from 20 all-time favorite Disney films, alongside vocal tips from the Princess and the Frog’s Anika Noni Rose. Disney Sing It: Family Hits will be available for the PlayStation®3 system and the Wii™ console in summer 2010.
Tapping into both the past and the present, Disney Sing It: Family Hits features favorite songs from all-time classic Disney films, including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book, as well as contemporary favorites from films like Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story and Cars, The Lion King, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, The Princess and The Frog, and more. Further immersing players in the moment, the easy to follow karaoke gameplay is accompanied by full screen HD videos featuring montages, as well as original footage from each of the Disney movies.
“The Disney Sing It franchise has produced a passionate fan base, and they’ve expressed a big demand for songs from Disney’s timeless movies,” said Craig Relyea, senior vice president of global marketing, Disney Interactive Studios. “Now, music fans of all ages will be able to enjoy Disney Sing It: Family Hits, both as an engaging karaoke performance game as well as perfect entertainment for family fun.”
In Disney Sing It: Family Hits, players will use the pitch bar to assist in hitting the right notes and can sing solo, partner up for a duet, compete head-to-head, or pass the microphone around to up to 8 players in the Family Mode. To relive key moments, the Sing It Encore Mode enables players to play back their performances and add fun effects to customize their tunes.
To assist players in improving their performances and unlocking awards and Disney themes, the Tony award winning singer/actress Anika Noni Rose, who also voiced Princess Tiana in The Princess and the Frog, provides vocal exercises and techniques. Anika takes players through a series of basic voice instructions, game tutorials and singing games that are designed to help all players become better singers and performers. Lessons include proper microphone technique, how to hit high and low, long and short, and fast and slow notes, among other tips, providing a valuable learning tool for players of all ages.
Disney Sing It: Family Hits from Disney Interactive Studios is Rated E for everyone by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).
Disney Interactive Studios today announced that Toy Story 3: The Video Game for the PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system, releasing on June 15, 2010, will exclusively feature content and gameplay available only on the PlayStation 3 system (PS3™). Emperor Zurg, one of the most beloved villains of the Disney•Pixar “Toy Story” franchise, will be a playable character exclusively on the PS3™ system. In addition, Toy Story 3: The Video Game will be one of the first games to market featuring the PlayStation®Move’s motion controller compatible gameplay.
As the sworn enemy of the Galactic Alliance, Emperor Zurg enters the video game’s Toy Box mode complete with his sphere-shooting cannon and speed on wheels to unleash mayhem on Woody’s Western Town.
“What we love about the evil Emperor is that he may be only six-inches tall, but he never comes to grips with his ‘toyhood’ – Zurg is forever out to conquer the universe,” said John Blackburn, vice president and general manager of Avalanche Software, the developer of the game. “We worked closely with Pixar to ensure the game’s animated toys behave true to their physical counterparts. Zurg is mischievous and fast, and with his arm cannon, he’s great at blasting things—he’ll earn you a lot of gold. But don’t ask him to climb any ledges – we’ve respected the fact that he’s got wheels, not legs.”
The game’s developer, Avalanche Software in Salt Lake City, UT and Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) have also worked together to build PlayStation®Move compatible gameplay into the game. Following the game’s launch, PS3™ players will be able to download mini-games that will be playable with the PlayStation Move when the new motion controller is available to consumers this fall.
“Disney is bringing PlayStation fans a unique and compelling experience through Toy Story 3: The Video Game’s exclusive PS3™ content and PlayStation Move mini-games. PS3™ is the only platform where players can become the beloved Zurg and hop in his specialized car, or take aim in the shooting gallery with PlayStation Move and experience an unmatched level of precision and realism,” said Rob Dyer, senior vice president of publisher relations, SCEA.
Toy Story 3: The Video Game is now available for pre-order through Amazon.com
What happens when a half a dozen cars taking part in an illegal street race find themselves rolling through an exploding power plant at full speed? Such is the common-place, ordinary, humdrum scenario explored in the following new video featuring gameplay footage from Split/Second from Disney Interactive Studios and Block Rock Studio.
Available to own on Xbox, PS3 and Windows platforms on May 18, Split/Second is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com.
Pittsburgh Steelers stars Ike Taylor (left) and Santonio Holmes (right) play a game of “Madden NFL ’10″ March 23, 2010 at the PlayStation Pavilion at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The new PlayStation Pavilion features PlayStation 3 systems, including a SingStar stage and a collection of the latest video game releases. (Photo by Todd Anderson/Disney)
The PlayStation 3 edition of Toy Story 3 from Disney Interactive Studios will be among the first titles to support the PlayStation Move motion controller in addition to the DUALSHOCK3 and SIXAXIS controllers according to a list posted by Sony. The controller, along with Microsoft’s Natal for XBox has been causing waves of whispers around the net recently, offering hope for non-Nintendo enthusiasts that the upcoming Junction Point title Epic Mickey may eventually find its way on other gaming systems besides the Wii.