E310: Warren Spector Talks About Why Epic Mickey Will Live Up to Its Name

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The cool thing about Disney Epic Mickey is that it puts you in a living breathing cartoon world and gives you the power to change the way it looks and behaves. The upcoming game merges action, role-playing and platforming elements and takes place in the Wasteland, a sort of limbo for obscure and forgotten Disney characters of the past. In going through the Disney vaults, the title’s lead developer–renowned game designer Warren Spector–found rejected character designs from movies like Peter Pan. He also got access to models for old theme park attractions, too, and these characters, locales and other bygone elements all show up in the game, making in it a smorgasbord of minutia for the diehard Disney nerd. But, the characterization of Mickey Mouse himself may be the most compelling throwback of all. Spector talked about what he deems the core elements of the ways Mickey’s personality’s been portrayed and how players will be able to bring those to bear.

The Disney mascot, according to Spector, has always had a streak of mischief to him but he’s also always a friend to everyone. Most importantly, he never gives up when met with a challenge. When controlling Mickey, you’ll be able to either crate or destroy the Wasteland landscape with paint and paint thinner–two essential artists tools–to make it through the levels. Mickey wields paint and thinner to draw or erase paths and objects to complete his tasks. Depending on how much erasing or drawing you do, characters in the Wasteland will interact with you differently. In the clip accompanying this post, Spector talks about his theories on game design and how they’ll manifest in Epic Mickey. The clip starts with him talking about how he and Richard Garriott tried to design at least two solutions to every puzzle in the old-school classic Ultima II. When someone finds a third way, Spector realized the power of allowing players to do something other than the scripted linear actions that most games locked you into. From there, Spector talks about what he means when he says, “Playstyle matters,” and I ask him just how much you’ll be able to change up the dynamics of the world  Spector offers up the opinion that playing Epic Mickey may offer up a more changeable and slightly darker experience than you might expect from a game featuring Disney’s biggest icon. Spector gave some fascinating insights during his time at E3 and this clip is just a snippet of them. Have a look: