Epic Mickey 2: Press Day Coverage
Prepare for an epic return.
I slink along the winding lanes of London and slip into the uber-chic Hospital Club. I barely have to time to admire the décor before I’m greeted and whisked away to the second floor, where are small group of journalists are waiting patiently in front of closed doors. As if on cue, the doors swing open and we step into the screening room for a presentation on Disney’s latest adventure, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two.
I’m no stranger to Disney games, having recently bashed my way through Disney Universe on my Xbox 360. But Epic Mickey 2 holds something different for gamers, and anyone lucky enough to play the original game will understand the very unique feel that this game has.
First up on stage is Andrea Tartaglia, Vice President, Franchise Marketing of Disney Europe who talks us through some of the 80+ history of Disney and it’s many characters. The company’s iconic character is of course Mickey Mouse, who enjoys attention from both youngsters and adults alike.
Tartaglia then introduced Warren Spector, Vice President and Founder, Junction Point, to the stage. Spector’s contributions to the gaming world have been many over the years, so it was going to be interesting to see what this genius was going to unveil to us. After a brief greeting, he outlined the success of the original Epic Mickey videogame, which debuted exclusively on the Wii console. The game set a record for being the best selling Disney platform game to date, with over 90% of people polled over the US, UK, Germany and France regions stating that they would love to play through a sequel. So Epic Mickey 2 in many ways was a no-brainer decision for the company; the challenge was of course how they were going to make this an even better game to enjoy.
Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two focuses on two main characters; Mickey Mouse and his new partner in crime, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, seen in the original Epic Mickey. While I won’t go into the story details in this article, Oswald and Mickey have to join forces once again to defeat an approaching threat. While Mickey retains the power of the magic paintbrush from the first game, Oswald wields a remote control which allows him to harness the power of electricity and pull off some pretty cool tricks in the game. This unlikely partnership is most of what makes Epic Mickey 2 actually tick. From the snippets of gameplay video we were shown there doesn’t seem to be any limit to what the duo can pull off in the game.
While the original Epic Mickey was only available on the Wii, Spector revealed that Epic Mickey 2 would be available on the Wii, Xbox 360, and the PS3. He also announced that at a later stage there would be a 3DS game available, which would be based in the same world as Epic Mickey 2, as well as plans to potentially bring a PC and Mac version to light. Apart from the multi-platform availability, Epic Mickey 2 aims to bring some considerable improvements to the game based on feedback gathered from the first game. The first point that Spector made was about the camera in Epic Mickey, and how they had a dedicated team working on the camera for Epic Mickey 2. He said that the camera controls and angles have been improved so much, that you will almost never have to touch the manual camera controls. The other dramatic change in Epic Mickey 2 is that all characters will now have spoken dialogue, which really breathes new life into the game. The game will feature the real Disney voice talent, so that any Disney character you encounter in the game will sound just like they’re supposed to. The other bonus is that the game will have localized content in some regions (including Arabic), so that the text and dialogue will both be translated. The game will also be the first to showcase songs in some of the cutscenes (which you can skip through), because it’s nearly impossible to name a Disney film that doesn’t have a song in it.
Apart from obvious graphical improvements, Epic Mickey 2 will present players with different choices to make in the game, with the results of those choices carrying through to the rest of the game. This is something Spector felt had to be present in Epic Mickey 2, so that players weren’t just running around trying to solve puzzles or defeat enemies – they had to have a reason for doing every single thing. The game also introduces some gorgeous new levels including the Wizard’s workshop from Fantasia, which acts as a sort of tutorial level in the game. New enemies and characters have also been added to the mix, so there’s a suitable level of challenge in Epic Mickey 2. Probably the biggest bonus in this game is the inclusion of 2-player local co-op gameplay. What makes this so great is there are different scenarios that come about when you have two players playing together as apposed to one player and an AI character (not to mention how competitive it can get with a second player).
Spector wrapped up his presentation with a brief background on Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Originally dreamt up by Walt Disney back in 1927, Oswald made a brief television debut before Disney lost the rights to the character and no further Oswald clips were made. The company did manage to win the rights to the Oswald character back in 2008, for production on the Epic Mickey videogame. Spector then surprised us by screening one of Oswald’s ‘lost’ cartoons – a quaint masterpiece I might add. While we weren’t allowed to film it, the silent cartoon did send a few audible giggles through the room.
With the presentation wrapped up, we headed out for our interviews and gameplay time with Epic Mickey 2. A quick 3-level demo was setup across Wii, Xbox 360, and PS3 stations, with the Xbox and PS3 units really doing wonders for the game in terms of graphics and presentation.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for our hands-on preview of Epic Mickey 2, as well as our interview with the man himself, Warren Spector.
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