Epic Mickey 2: Warren Spector Explains the Power of Two

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Epic Mickey 2: Warren Spector Explains the Power of Two
Epic Mickey 2: Warren Spector Explains the Power of Two

When Epic Mickey launched in 2010, PS3 owners could be forgiven for feeling a wee bit left out. The game was an ambitious, passionate love letter to decades of rich Disney history, casting a newly assertive Mickey Mouse in a bittersweet tale set against a backdrop of decaying Disney lore.

But sometimes patience pays off. Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is coming to PS3 this fall with extensive support for PlayStation Move, vastly improved HD graphics, and a host of much-requested improvements. I spoke with Creative Director Warren Spector to learn more about Epic Mickey 2, his work on the Deus Ex series, and his early thoughts on PS Vita. For more, listen to our full conversation on the latest episode of Official PlayStation Blogcast.

Disney's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two for PS3

Unsurprisingly, PlayStation Move motion controls will serve as a key focus for Epic Mickey 2, though specifics remain scarce for the moment. “When we originally conceptualized the game,” Spector explained, “we wanted to give Mickey control of the stuff he’s made of — paint and ink. And when you starting talking about that, your hands start moving around like you’re holding a paint brush…gestural control is something we had to to do. And PlayStation Move is perfect for that.” Not to worry: The game will also support the DualShock controller, if that’s your bag.

Epic Mickey 2 is set to make many key advancements over its predecessor, starting with a big overhaul of the original game’s much-maligned camera system. Spector makes no bones about the camera complaints, explaining that Epic Mickey 2 is the culmination of more than 1000 changes and tweaks, resulting in a game that will never require its players to touch the manual camera controls (unless they want to).

Disney's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two for PS3

The game also addresses another common request in the form of splitscreen cooperative multiplayer, which will enable two local players to control both Mickey Mouse and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit as they journey through an earthquake-ravaged Cartoon Wasteland. While Mickey sticks with his tried-and-true magic paintbrush and thinner, Oswald wields a remote control to zap enemies and command animatronic foes. “Things that are easy for Mickey are hard for Oswald,” Spector explained. “Working together, they can do things that neither one can do alone.” The co-op play is drop-in and drop-out, with the computer will jump in to control Oswald if a partner isn’t available.

And, in a surprising twist, Epic Mickey 2’s story will be told as a full-blown musical. “Epic Mickey 2 is the first musical comedy game in the history of videogames,” Spector gushed. “We’re honoring 80 years of Disney creativity, how could we not have songs in the game?” Spector also confirmed that the game would feature voice-over work for all its characters, addressing another major fan request from the first game.

Read on to learn more about co-op play in Epic Mickey 2, Spector’s favorite PS Vita games, and ruminations on his work with Deus Ex — including his thoughts on the Square Enix Montreal-produced Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Disney's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two for PS3Disney's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two for PS3

PlayStation.Blog: Why was co-op play an important feature for Epic Mickey 2?
Warren Spector, Creative Director, Epic Mickey 2: One of my big problems with a lot of co-op games is that they devolve into “I inflict two to four points of damage with a graphic that looks like a fireball, and you inflict two to four points of damage with a graphic that looks like a spear.” Who cares? We wanted to make sure Mickey and Oswald have completely different skill sets. Of course, they both walk and run. But Mickey has this ability to use paint and thinner to draw and erase things, where Oswald has a remote control that fires bolts of electricity. That allows Oswald to interact with and control our animatronic enemies in ways Mickey can’t.

PSB: How will Epic Mickey 2 leverage PS3’s more powerful hardware to build on its predecessor?
WS: I couldn’t be prouder of the team who worked on the first game; they pushed the limits of what that hardware could do. Our goal is to do the same with PS3. The PS3 is an incredibly powerful piece of hardware…we want to take advantage of its horsepower, so the visual effects will be over the top, the polygon counts higher, the animations smoother.

Disney's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two for PS3

PSB: What do you think of PS Vita so far?
WS: The screen is amazing, it makes me wish I hadn’t just bought a plasma TV because now I want an OLED TV at home! It looks stunning, it’s like having a PS3 I can take with me. The dual analog sticks feel perfect…it’s a pretty swell little device.

PSB: What Vita games are you playing right now?
WS: I immediately picked up three games: Touch My Katamari, F1 2011 because I love racing games, and Rayman Origins. I hate to say it, but I can’t stop playing Rayman. It’s such a wonderful game and it looks incredible.

PSB: You were a key creator of Deus Ex, but now you work with Disney Interactive. Do you ever have a desire to return to a darker world of “sunglasses and trenchcoats”?
WS: Never say never. That’s a good question…I don’t know that I want to make a game that’s quite as serious as that anymore. I think I’m in a more lighthearted place these days, though I have plenty of ideas for epic fantasy games that I might do someday. Before I signed on with Disney, I was working on a project with film director John Woo, a modern-day ninja game with parkour movement and some intense action. I wouldn’t mind going back to that idea…but having worked at Disney for the last five years, a lot of my thoughts are about, “how would I Disney-fy that concept?”

I don’t know that I’ll go back to hardcore, serious games with guys who talk like this and carry two guns and wear sunglasses at night. I don’t know if I’ll do that again. It’s about where you are in life. At that time, I was really burned out on fantasy and sci-fi. I wanted to do a real-world role-playing game, and I was obsessed with conspiracy theories. I started working on Deus Ex in the mid-90s, when we were approaching the year 2000 when the world was supposed to end. And I thought, what if every conspiracy theory was actually true? It was just where my head was at, and now my head is in a different place. I’m a changeable guy though. Maybe next week my head will be in the a different place!

Deus Ex: Human Revolution for PS3

PSB: Did you play Deus Ex: Human Revolution? What did you think of it?
WS: I’ve been scrupulous in not publicly talking about Deus Ex: Human Revolution, actually, so I’m going to be a little circumspect. I’ll tell you more than I’ve told anybody else, though. I played it, and I finished it, and I thought it was really Deus Ex-y. They made a few design decisions that were different than I would have made, and I found that fascinating. Someone should write a master’s thesis or dissertation about that some day, about different approaches to the same source material in terms of game systems and gameplay. There’s an interesting story there, but that will be for another time.

I’ll tell you that I finished two games last year, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution was one of them, so let’s leave it at that.

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49 Comments

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  • How about throwing an HD version of the first Epic Mickey on the same Blu-Ray disc?

  • I’d be willing to write that thesis just for personal reasons. I hold the original Deus Ex and now HR in such high regard that I find myself comparing every single player FPS to them in some fashion. Also Mr. Spector is one of the few people that can ever make me want a Disney game just because their name is attached. Point him to me!!

  • I second the idea of putting an Epic Mickey One port on the Blu-Ray disc as well.

  • Yeah, I also like of putting Epic Mickey 1 on blu-ray. That’ll get me very interested in the game :)

  • This game would work well on the Vita I think. Just sayin’.

  • I forth the idea of the first game in a HD upscale on the bluray.

  • @Sid: I see what you did there…”wee bit left out”. Maybe I didn’t notice before, but your writing seems to be getting better lately. Personality & humor.

    Anyway, I have a “wee” & Epic Mickey, & I never played it even though I was excited about the concept. Sorry, Warren, but I can’t stand playing on a “wee”.

    New day. Epic Mickey 2 comes to the best gaming console. Hurray! I’ll go see if I can pre order on Amazon. Would vastly prefer a digital download.

    • Thanks! That made my day :-) Sometimes I’m so busy it’s hard to spend the time needed to make a post shine, so I’m glad you liked this.

  • I want Epic Mickey 1 on the PS3 first before I plat this one.

  • Epic Mickey was absolute garbage.

    The worst camera controls of any game this gen mixed with a brain dead colect-a-thon.

    and LOL!

    “How will Epic Mickey 2 leverage PS3’s more powerful hardware to build on its predecessor?”

    It will nothing more than standard crap multiplatform game gimped to run on the wimpy Xbox 360 graphics hardware and last gen DVD drive.

  • I just hope I can keep up with the story without playing the first one.

  • Awesome! Now I can’t wait for this game! I never really understood why the first one wasn’t on PS3, though.

    Oh, and thank you SO MUCH for making the co-op splitscreen instead of using a lame fixed camera like most co-op platformers do. I was VERY worried about the exploration being dumbed down because of a fixed camera.

  • Disney is an evil empire.

  • Wow.. I wonder how sony pulled this one off. i heard epic mickey franchise was exclusive .. Sounds like some one worked some magic/

    9. its ok to complain but come on,But at what point does it become see and not say.? I could see if it was cod or something like that.. But epic mickey has sold millions of copes andalso kids todayneed to be playing this and having a good time than to be play cod ..Kids today deserve to play “kids games”… As long time gamer what should it matter if the camera is bad.. it made for kids to have fun , they should be playing gmes like this instead of Cod.

    Let kids be kids.. If you see the concept you should know it for kids or mickey fans, if that you then keep wailing away??

    Mcbuttz78
    vp psn legioniaree group

  • REALLY..WANT…THIS….ON…..VITA.

  • A “WEE” bit left out?! :D
    Just give us the first game on the bluray and all will be forgiven.
    I have a Wii but I refused to buy this game on it. I never play my Wii so I usually wait and see if a PS3 version will show up.

  • Oh yeah! And make a Vita version!!

  • If they really want to take advantage of the PS3’s advanced hardware, it would be incredibly ideal for them to indeed put an HD remake of the first title onto the Blu-ray for the sequel as I’m sure there will be extra space there. I’d even buy it separately if I had to, as Epic Mickey is one of those really cool concepts that just came too late in the game for me, as I had already abandoned my “other console” for the most part in return for the glorious third PlayStation.

    Also, I do not understand, how did Warren only manage to play-through two full games last year?

  • I can’t wait to see gameplay! Mickey in HD and on the PS3, love the sound of that!

  • Yet another promising Move-enabled game. Great news!

  • As others have said, including the original in HD would make this a must buy.

  • I want the first game as well. And will part 2, have 3D?

  • I almost bought a Wii to play the first one. Almost. SO stoked to see this.

  • PSB: What Vita games are you playing right now?
    WS: I immediately picked up three games: Touch My Katamari, F1 2011 because I love racing games, and Rayman Origins. I hate to say it, but I can’t stop playing Rayman. It’s such a wonderful game and it looks incredible.
    rayman is a real must have for every Vita owner
    for 40$ you get at least 100 h gameplay,many unlockables and many different challenges. Can’t stop playing it

  • Is there any chance we get the 1st game ported to the PS3? I never played the 1st one since I only support 1 system!

  • If you really want to find an audience for this game on PS3, it’s almost a given that the first game needs to come to us as well. Show us a little love first.

  • this looks goood ..
    i also would love to play this on my vita.

  • that sounds interesting, i would have bought the 1st one if it would have been available for ps3 when it launched on wii.

    What i would really love tho, is a much much darker mickey game that would be awesome.

  • awesome I was hoping that it would support the PlayStation move i really liked the controls on the original wii game

  • Hopefully a PS Vita game comes out shortly after Epic Mickey 2!

  • I’d also like to see Epic Mickey come to PS3 in HD form and with fixed cameras but I thought I heard somewhere that Nintendo has an exclusivity deal for the first, meaning it can’t release on any other console. I could be wrong about that and you never know. Things like that have been said before like the case of the GTA DLC but we all see how that went.

    Glad to see that Epic Mickey 2 will utilize the Move, and hopefully in a big way. Any chance Co-Op play will be online too? Would be cool to play with friends via PSN.

  • Question:
    “Epic Mickey 2: Power of Illusion” was just confirmed for 3DS, Will there be a epic Mickey for the Vita as well, whether it’s this version or like a different one like the 3DS? If not that would hurt.

  • Please, do what everyone is asking for: an HD remake of the first game, fixing the camera problems. I don’t care if you put it in the Blu-Ray along with the new game, on a standalone disc or as a download at the PS Store. Just do it, anyway you like it.

  • I agreed with @1, I would like to see a HD port of the first Epic Mickey (with Move support and trophies) for the PS3 included. Also this is a cool interview.

  • @30: Well Disney publish Epic Mickey on Wii, but after the Move came out a lot of the Wii games exclusive ended up on PS3. We already seen House of the Dead: Overkill, Dead Space Extraction, Goldeneye ( as Goldeneye Reloaded), No More Heroes all former Wii exclusives got HD port for PS3 with Move support, and now Resident Evil Chronicles is getting an HD release. So yeah it’s possible we could see Epic Mickey on PS3.

  • I hope there is an option to turn off Move since I don’t intend to use it. But reading from this interview, is there a possibility to see this on Vita as well? Would love to take this game on the road and still able to come back home and continue where I left off.

  • I want Epic Mickey (one) on my PS3 too…come on Sony, make this happen! You did it with EA’s Medal of Honor. You did it with EA’s release of Dead Space 2, and you did it with Assassin’s Creed Revelations.

    MAKE IT SO!

  • :D yay waldo he so awesome ^^

  • o.o messed up xD oswald hehe

  • I really enjoyed the first one on the Wii. only game I had brushed the dust off my Wii for. Looking forward this next installment. Also, it is more than likely they will add the first game somehow whether through PSN or with the game itself. Kinda silly to have the first on the Wii and the second one on the PS3.

  • I would also really like to see an HD version of the first game come to PS3 with Move support. is it tied up in an exclusivity agreement with Nintendo, or …?

    While there are some Wii ports that were just plain awful looking, Dead Space Extraction was really great. I’d love to see Epic Mickey, Okami, and Zak & Wiki finally come to PS3 looking and playing as good as Dead Space Extraction does.

  • Awesome can’t wait for this game.

  • Definitely want an HD/Move enabled version of the original Epic Mickey to accompany this game.

    And the thing that has me most excited for this game is the fact that every character will have voice acting. It really bugged me that there was so much text in the first game–it really broke up the experience. Anyway, looking forward to see how this game turns out!

    (And please add a HD version of the first game!!!)

  • I wonder if Sony’ll make an Epic Mickey 2/Move Bundle for PS3 this holiday season. Having played Epic Mickey on Wii and loving it, I would like to play the sequel with another motion controller. But I’m totally upgrading to the PS3 version, because – frankly – my Wii is collecting dust. I’ll dust it off to play Xenoblade and Last Story, but they’re exclusive. Since Mickey’s coming to PS3, a system I DO still play constantly, that’s where I’ll play the sequel.

    Although I’m certain it’ll control fine with the Dual Shock. Bet it controls like Super Mario Sunshine on Gamecube.

  • Oh, and also, if you’re passing on anything to Junction Point Playstation Blog, tell them this? Please – PLEASE – include all the bonus materials on the disc this time! The limited edition of Epic Mickey was fantastic on Wii, but really, they should’ve included the remastered Mickey and Oswald cartoons on the disc (there’s a theater in-game for christ sakes. It’s right there on Mean Street!). Not to mention the wonderful, well-produced behind-the-scenes dev diaries starring Warren Spector. Those DEFINITELY should’ve been on the disc. But nooooo. Maybe it’s because the Wii uses standard DVDs, and there wasn’t enough room left, but needing two discs for bonus content that should just be packed onto one? Inefficient. If God of War could do it on PS2, than you should be able to do it for Epic Mickey’s bonus materials, Junction Point.

  • nice

  • I 19th, (I think?) the suggestion of an HD remake of Epic Mickey 1.

  • Killzone 3 uses the Sixaxis with the sniper rifle while scoped. You guys talked about how the Vita’s motion controls can be used to fine tune dual analog aiming in games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss. Killzone 3 was a PS3 title that used similar functionality using the Sixaxis. Although I wish it also did so for all the weapons in the game. Seems it’s only the sniper rifle that got the motion treatment, and only while zoomed in.

  • Personally, I loved the first game that was unfortunately only on Wii but camera issues aside, they made good use of the Wii’s limited ability. The intro, and cut scenes were brilliant. I love Mickey’s newer retro look but boy was he jaggie!! Mr Spector says the goal is to fully utilise the PS3’s horsepower, well I hope Blitz studios who are doing the ps3 and xbox 360 make good on that statement. I hope it won’t be a 360 port because if so, the 360 will look better. Multi platform games seem to go in favour of the 360 but developers can do wonders with the hidden power of ps3 when there is commitment. Please Mr Spector, deliver on the statement, even if it means pushing back the ps3 release a month or two.

  • The Wii exclusive had tins of aliasing and jaggies, I want to see the back of that. Rahman origins is pixel perfect, That’s the benchmark to aim for.

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