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Epic Mickey

Epic Mickey 2 Vita photo
Epic Mickey 2 Vita

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two gets Vita launch trailer


Did anyone ask for this port?
Jun 21
// Chris Carter
Epic Mickey 2 came and went, and was pretty much a step back from the original in every way. What started out as a promising homage to Walt Disney's first major creation -- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit -- ended up in disaster bot...

Warren Spector: AAA innovation will inevitably be limited

Apr 05 // Tony Ponce
"Oh, man, am I looking to work with a smaller team! I loved the Junction Point team. Position by position, that was one of the best, most talented, teams I've ever been privileged to work with. But there were just so darn many of them." Spector is ready to shift into lower gear and work on smaller projects, partly due to just how punishing big-budget development can be: "As cool as triple-A games are, the time and money that go into them now is just soul-crushing, at least for me. There are so many voices you have to listen to, so many legitimate stakeholders, it's just a lot less fun than making games should be." On the subject of modern game innovation, he praises smaller, more focused titles like Journey and The Walking Dead while expressing concern over the costs and risks associated with the biggest console titles. And when asked if the PS4's specifications would encourage a new wave of innovation, he replied, "The irony is that increased hardware horsepower often sends us back a few steps in terms of design innovation - it takes so much energy just figuring out how to achieve graphical quality players expect, make sure our characters can pathfind around increasingly complex game worlds, and so on. Just figuring out what to do with new hardware eats up design bandwidth. I'm certain we'll come up with all sorts of innovative designs, but it might take a while." Spector is interested in pursuing mobile development, but he understands that there are a number of hurdles that he'll have to overcome: the lack of proper sticks and buttons and a way to "tell an epic interactive tale (or even a small, personal one) in five-minute chunks." But not knowing immediately how to solve such problems "is exactly why I'm so psyched to try." At the moment, Spector is just enjoying some much needed downtime. He's even started a monthly column on GamesIndustry, the first installment of which ponders the lack of gaming role models who are willing to break out of the "action" framework that most mainstream games are locked into. But whatever he plans on doing down the road, he'll do so with a mind we've only scratched the surface of what gaming is capable of. Life After Disney: Warren Spector's Exit Interview [GameIndustry International]
Warren Spector photo
Junction Point co-founder doesn't regret time with Disney, interested in mobile space
No one is going to dispute that the entire Epic Mickey franchise was the Matterhorn of unrealized potential. How much of that was due to developer Junction Point Studio's lofty ambitions versus Disney's demands and constraint...

Epic Mickey 2 photo
Epic Mickey 2

Epic Mickey 2 coming to the PlayStation Vita


Because everyone wanted this
Mar 18
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The Disney Movies UK Twitter account revealed that Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two will be heading to the PlayStation Vita sometime this year. No other info was revealed, but we've reached out to Disney and will have more for...
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Another studio goes under
Following some rumors floating around yesterday, Disney has just confirmed the closure of Austin-based Junction Point Studios: "It was with much sadness that we informed our teams today of changes to our Games organization,...


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The DTOID Show: Wii U, Mini Wii, ME3 DLC & Epic Mickey


Wait, you can't romance the female Turian?
Nov 26
// Max Scoville
We're back from our Thanksgiving break, and we have video game news for you! Gearbox's Randy Pitchford explains why Borderlands 2 won't be coming to the Wii U, and Reggie from Nintendo explains to CNN why the Wii U is g...

Review: Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

Nov 17 // Jim Sterling
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed], Wii, Wii U)Developer: Junction Point StudiosPublisher: Disney Interactive StudiosRelease: October 18, 2012MSRP: $59.99 Taking place after the events of the original Wii title, this sequel promises to be bigger and better, yet retreads old ground and does nothing to address the legitimate complaints players had last time. Even worse, those few tiny areas in which Epic Mickey 2 attempts new things only contribute to making the overall product worse.  The sequel's story sees Epic Mickey's Mad Doctor return, now claiming to be a good guy and winning favor with the Cartoon Wasteland's leader, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. In a plot that grows exponentially inane and contrived with each step forward, Mickey finds himself returning to the realm of forgotten Disney characters, teaming up with Oswald in order to resolve the vaguely defined conflict that we're supposed to care about because somebody told us it matters.  This time around, the game is fully voiced, but this is one of the aforementioned new features that help make things worse. The voice acting is universally dreadful, with exuberant squawking and simpering from heroes and villains alike. You may have been fooled by marketing into thinking that Epic Mickey 2 is a musical, but it's not. The only character to really sing is the Mad Doc, in a running joke that stops being funny after the first cutscene, especially since the voice actor's gravelly tones grate on the ears and the tunes themselves come across as awkwardly forced. Only one scene in the game feels like a real musical number, and even then, it's hardly memorable.  [embed]238026:45659[/embed] Gameplay is largely preserved from the original Wii title, and using a traditional controller feels like a notable downgrade. For non-Wii versions, you'll be using the right stick to aim a targeting reticule around the screen, making it perform like a third-person shooter despite the camera, controls, and interface framing themselves around a traditional 3D platform game. As you attempt to move and fire, the camera regularly shifts the reticule away from the target, and the way in which the screen moves independently of Mickey's firing line makes combat uncomfortable and difficult to visually process. It's something I don't think I ever quite got used to.  Once again, Mickey is armed with both paint and thinner, which he uses to remove or add pre-determined elements to the world. He can also use thinner to destroy monsters, or paint to turn them friendly. It's a system that never expands, isn't exploited in any clever way, and generally removes a sense of tactility and interaction with the world. Spraying paint at an enemy just isn't very satisfying, especially when it's such a struggle to keep the stuff on target as the opponents run wildly around and the camera does its best to disorient combatants.  Gameplay is divided into action-platformer sequences with light puzzle elements, and 2D sidescrolling levels. Players use the 2D levels, aesthetically inspired by classic Disney shorts, to travel to new areas of the Wasteland, whereupon they'll be required to engage in some fetch-questing and paint-splashing to advance to the next area. Every now and then, tasks can be solved in one of several ways, with a light "moral dilemma" element to them. Such "dilemmas" never really impact the story and seem to exist just to look interesting, rather than be interesting. Neither the 3D or 2D sections last very long, leading to Epic Mickey 2 becoming quite the disjointed affair that rushes its players from one chapter to the next in a maladroit fashion.  In fairness, some of the 2D sections can be quite enjoyable, especially when they take on the appearance of old black-and-white cartoons. As in the original game, these are the standout moments of the adventure. It's just a shame that they're so short, and almost insultingly simple. The levels are never designed with any intricacy, instead providing rudimentary left-to-right progress with a few obligatory obstacles tossed in the way. It's a shame nobody felt like putting more effort into these areas, as they're the only places where potentially compelling gameplay can be found.  Rather than evolve the gameplay in any meaningful way, Junction Point has instead settled on a tired old standby to give the illusion of evolution -- co-op. This time around, Oswald is available as a secondary character in an offline cooperative journey. Instead of paint, Oswald uses a remote control that stuns enemies or powers various machines appearing in Epic Mickey 2's trite little puzzle challenges. He can also use his ears like propeller blades, ferrying Mickey across chasms in a manner similar to Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog 2.  Co-op is not something to be ignored, and my advice to you is that, if you insist on playing this game, you do so with a human partner at your side. Relying on the CPU to control Oswald is a big mistake, as his A.I. is pathetic and regularly works to sabotage a solo player's progress. Left to his own devices, Oswald would rather run around worthlessly than actually help, choosing to attack enemies only at random and often preferring to scurry about in circles or let himself get hit. At times, he'll disappear from the game entirely, respawning on a whim. Pressing a button to call him over only seems to work half of the time.  He'll activate machinery only when he feels like it, and he has an awful time following Micky through sections that involve jumping on multiple raised platforms. One particularly nasty area requires both players to scale a wall, at the top of which Oswald is supposed to glide both heroes across to another ledge. Oswald simply refused to climb up that wall when I tried it, and disappeared into thin-air whenever Mickey reached the top. Only after multiple attempts did I manage to somehow trick Oswald into jumping up there. That is how you deal with Oswald as a solo player. You have to fool him into doing what he's meant to do. On other occasions, Oswald played an active role in getting me hurt or killed. If there are ledges that sink into deadly lakes of thinner when stood on, you can bet that Oswald will stand right on the thing and let it sink. At other times, he would jump into me and knock me into the thinner. Perhaps worst of all was a certain boss that Oswald kept saying he'd distract (constantly, because all dialog loops incessantly), so that Mickey could squirt paint at its back. This tactic soon fell apart when it became clear that "distraction" meant "follow Mickey around so the boss is always facing the player."  And for what? What is so good about co-op that it was worth rendering single-player so unbearable? Nothing. Just a few shoehorned, old-fashioned, enforced cooperative moments where both players have to pull switches, or Mickey holds something open so that Oswald can zap it. The kind of conceited co-op banality that has been injected violently into any sort of game desperate enough to want a popular feature listed on the back of the box but remains too lazy to make that feature do anything meaningful. This kind of crap should not be tolerated anymore.  As noted, the camera is about as unhelpful as Oswald is. Not only does it try and remain in a fixed perspective at all times, it's almost always set at some terrible angle that gives an unclear view of the surroundings. The interface is also dreadful, with both the action and jump commands bound to the same button. This leads to Mickey constantly jumping whenever the player wants him to grab an item or open the many doors that lead to various pointless shops or item-gathering sidequests. Mickey himself is slow, his jumps are pitiful, and his attacks have no precision -- especially notable for enemies that require use of thinner and head-stomps, something the uncoordinated, sluggish mouse isn't properly equipped for.  The Power of Two is a consistently annoying experience. From block puzzles that boast despicable floaty physics to NPC and tutorial dialog that repeats itself obnoxiously, one could be forgiven for thinking that Epic Mickey 2 was designed as a means of interactive psychological torture, built to exasperate enemies of the state into lunacy. Between its unfunny humor, unsatisfyingly brief levels, broken co-op A.I., petulant camera and grotesque voice acting, Epic Mickey 2 is the kind of game that drives sane people mad, and mad people sane.  It can at least be said that the game looks good. It still has the distinctly cute visuals that drive home the missed potential of the original idea, but the bright colors and unmistakable Disney aesthetic look a lot better on an HD console than it did on the Wii. The nostalgic 2D levels bring a measure of obscure charm to the experience, and may be worth seeing for those willing to put up with the suffering required to get there. You'd have to be an insanely loyal Mickey fan, though. Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two does nothing to improve itself over its predecessor, repeating old ideas while refusing to fix problems that are glaringly obvious to even the least tasteful of dolts. Anything added in the sequel has been done so to the its overall detriment -- the voice acting grates, the musical pretensions are vapid, and the cooperative schtick is corny, strained, and a total intrusion for solo play that slows progress, causes trouble, and does not bloody work.  At least Epic Mickey felt fresh enough that some of its faults could be overlooked by the more forgiving of players. The Power of Two has no such charm to hide behind. It's a gormless, chafing, unquestionably horrid little waste of time. Only the hardcore Disney obsessive need look into this one, and I don't advise they look too deeply.
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Fault Disney
Epic Mickey is easily among the more tragic wastes of potential we've seen in the videogame industry. It first whipped fans into a frothy lather of excitement when concept images were shown, displaying a twisted and macabre t...

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Disney reveals new levels for upcoming Epic Mickey titles


Rainbow exploration for consoles, and hot mermaid action for 3DS
Oct 16
// Jason Cabral
Good Sir Warren (and the fine folks at Disney Interactive) have unveiled a few new levels for both Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, and Castle of Illusion's successor, Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion. As ex...
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Warren Spector and I are totally best friends now


You guys wish you could be me
Oct 14
// Tony Ponce
I failed to mention that, immediately following the Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion preview event last month, Warren Spector led all the journalists on a tour through Magic Kingdom. We went on the Magic Carpet, Haunted...
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Chill with Ariel in the final Power of Illusion world


Under da sea
Oct 12
// Chris Carter
So far, we've seen quite a bit of Power of Illusion's varying Disney-themed worlds. We were privy to some hot Peter Pan screenshot action compliments of Jordan, and got a look at the castle from Chad's preview. The...

Preview: Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is pure magic

Sep 24 // Tony Ponce
Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion (3DS)Developer: DreamRift, Junction PointPublisher: Disney InteractiveRelease: November 18, 2012 The story behind Power of Illusion's existence is just as incredible as the game itself. Sitting in that meeting room with all the other press members, I tuned in as Warren Spector recounted how DreamRift became involved with the Epic Mickey universe. In case it isn't public knowledge by now, the original Epic Mickey is officially the best-selling, single-platform software title in Disney's history, ensuring that the sequel would be getting the full five-star treatment. Junction Point has been working hard to get Epic Mickey 2 running as many platforms as possible -- Wii, Wii U, PS3, 360, PC, and Mac -- but Warren insisted that the 3DS should receive something a little extra special instead of a straight port. With resources spread thin, it was time to shop for outside help. Without knowing what they were applying for, several studios familiar with handheld development pitched potential concepts. DreamRift's pitch was for a game in which you drew objects on the touchscreen in order to spawn them up top. The idea meshed so well with Epic Mickey's paint-and-thinner mechanic that Warren immediately brought the fledgling company on board. Epic Mickey was about honoring the forgotten characters and films of Disney animation lore. On the flip side, Power of Illusion is about honoring forgotten elements of Disney videogame history! It was only fitting that Power of Illusion would be based one such game from Mickey's past -- Castle of Illusion. As much as I love Castle, I wondered why it was specifically chosen to be Power's base versus another title from the Illusion series or even from the Magical Quest series on Super Nintendo. Peter Ong's response is perhaps the greatest thing ever: The simple answer is a very selfish reason. Although I deeply respect and like a lot of the 16- and 8-bit platformers that came out on the Genesis and SNES from Disney, Castle of Illusion in particular is one that I hold a biased and intimate connection with, in that it was a game that, when I was a kid, I bought. And I didn't get to buy that many games, being a kid with no income, so I was fortunate enough to buy one of the greatest games of all time and play it for half a year or more... before I REALLY became obsessed with it! That's how long it took me before I could beat it in a day, guaranteed. And for about a year after that, I would beat the game every single day! I spent a lot of my childhood playing that game! That there, my friends, is some straight-up Jiminy Cricket, "Wish Upon a Star" shit! As the story goes, the evil witch Mizrabel and her Castle of Illusion have faded from people's memory, thus both have wound up in the Wasteland. She hatches a plan to capture beloved Disney toons who still exist in the real world in order to drain them of "Heart Power," the key to escaping the Wasteland. She alters parts of her castle to resemble these toons' home worlds, so unlike in the first Epic Mickey, you'll be exploring environments based on popular movies and meeting extremely familiar characters. On an interesting note, Mizrabel on the Genesis looked similar to the Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Early in Power, she demonstrates the ability to assume the guise of any Disney villain, though her favorite form is that of Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, which explains her current appearance. As Chad explained in his preview, the connection to Castle is quite strong. Mickey's gait is similar, he performs the same butt stomp attack (with the same Genesis sound effect, no less!), and he encounters the same low-level mushroom critters. Best of all, the music in the opening area is an orchestral arrangement of Castle's forest theme! When I heard it, I let out such a mirthful laugh that one of the demonstrators walked on over to ask what was so funny! Of course, elements from the first Epic Mickey have been incorporated, such as the spin attack, the ability to defeat enemies with paint or thinner, and E-tickets to use as currency. If you notice a shadow or a glowing object on the touchscreen, you can tap it to create or erase it on the main screen. Using the stylus, you trace the object as best as you can, and the higher your rating, the more effective the object will be and the more your special meter will fill up. These drawing / erasing segments are my only area of concern so far. Often there will be many interactive objects you'll have to manipulate, such as blocks that must be removed from the paths of a sequence of Mickey-launching cannons. While you doodle, the main action is paused, interrupting the game flow. Plus, it pretty much necessitates having the stylus ready at all times. But I didn't let that sour my experience, especially not my enjoyment of the beautiful environments with layers upon layers of parallax planes. The game is so rich and beautiful because Disney gave DreamRift access to the original movie art files! I'm talking source materials with the original animators' notes still on them! The team could pretty much use almost anything from the Disney Vault. Speaking of the Disney Vault... it exists! Can you believe it? I assumed it was nothing more than a marketing myth, but no! It's a massive archive that preserves anything deemed of significance, even artists' pencil and eraser shavings! Just thought you'd like to know! Anyway, the most prominent feature of Power -- the one that Warren has always wanted to include in his games but was always forced to cut -- is the Fortress, where rescued toons set up camp, hang out, and offer you quests and other goodies. Throughout your adventure, you'll encounter characters like Goofy, Wendy Darling, Beast, Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, and yes, Scrooge McDuck. In the Fortress, you can upgrade their rooms to better match an iconic scene from their original films or shows, and as you rescue them, you'll earn "Heart Power" that Oswald can use to unlock new levels. One other gift that rescued toons offer is their service as support characters. You can equip them as "sketches" on a pre-level loadout, then you can spawn them at any time by tracing their outline on the touchscreen. For example, when you summon Scrooge, he'll perform the pogo bounce from DuckTales on the NES! That one earned another joyous chuckle from me! Until now, we've only been exposed to the Peter Pan world, which encompasses the London skies, Neverland, Captain Hook's Jolly Roger, and so on. For this preview, the West Wing of the castle was accessible, granting entry into the Aladdin world. You can run through the streets of Agrabah, explore the Cave of Wonders, and even meet Mr. Diamond-in-the-Rough himself. Another cool thing I failed to mention is that these illusory worlds are in a constant state of flux. In other words, you can be strolling through the Agrabah market only to discover a dimensional fissure where pieces of the castle's interior peek through. One minute you are hopping across quicksand, the next minute you are standing upon solid marble tiling. It's a very nice touch. Before production began, Warren and Peter compiled a massive list of Disney elements they wanted to incorporate in the game. After Disney crossed out a few suggestions, there was still enough leftover to fill roughly 20 individual titles! The issue then became "How will we narrow our scope to meet a realistic target?" instead of "How will we make the most of our limited allowances?" That's not a bad "problem" to have at all, plus it leaves room for a sequel! Mickey-Oswald co-op à la World of Illusion, anyone? Aside from my concerns regarding the drawing mechanic, Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion is shaping up to be a dream game in more ways than one. I say "shaping up," but development is basically done. We're just sitting on our hands until November 18 by this point. I was hoping this event would temporarily sate my hunger. I was so wrong.
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Epic Mickey 2 on consoles can go jump into a river
I had a bit of trouble containing my excitement when Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion was first revealed. Not only did we learn that it is a hand-drawn 2D platformer by DreamRift, the same team behind Monster Tale and He...

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Disney Epic Mickey 2 heading to the Wii U


Sep 13
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two is officially heading to the Wii U. You are totally shocked by this news, I'm sure. The Wii U version will include GamePad specific features, such as a real-time map of the game world di...
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Warren Spector denies Glenn Beck rabbit ears at event


Sep 05
// Allistair Pinsof
Glenn Beck is a political talk show host who is hard to love for many. Some might say, he is a loud-mouthed liar who loves to exaggerate and sensationalize for attention. You may be able to understand then why game designer W...
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PAX: Warren Spector compares Epic Mickey to Deus Ex


Sep 02
// Chad Concelmo
Okay? That was my first reaction when Warren Spector compared his upcoming Epic Mickey 2 to his legendary masterpiece Deus Ex in a PAX sit down I had with him earlier today. Actually, it was more of a huh? But then the outspo...
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PAX: New screens from Epic Mickey 2 show off new area


Sep 02
// Chad Concelmo
While here at PAX, I had a chance to sit down with a new section of upcoming platformer Epic Mickey 2. These just released screens show off the new section of the game that I got to play. Based on Frontier Land in Disneyland,...

E3: Hands-on with Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion

Jun 08 // Chad Concelmo
Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion was inspired by the classic Mickey platformer Castle of Illusion for the Genesis. This inspiration shows from the minute you start the game. The graphics -- while obviously improved for the slick 3DS -- look very similar. Even the animation and controls are very reminiscent of the original classic ... but I am getting ahead of myself. Not much is known about the story in Power of Illusion, but, as in Castle, Mickey is tasked with journeying through multiple Disney-themed worlds to put an end to the evil witch Mizrabel (who looks eerily similar to Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty). Along the way -- and this is the best part -- he will run into and rescue many Disney characters from different movies and TV shows. Seeing these awesome characters in the game was both surprising and exciting. As a huge Disney fan, I squealed with happiness when I found Scrooge McDuck and smiled when I talked to Rapunzel. The whole gang is included, and the game's creative director, Peter Ong, promises there are many, many appearances in the final game. To control, players use the slide pad or D-pad to move Mickey around the screen. Jumping is done with one button, and, like, Castle, a stomp is performed by hitting the jump button once again. You can also shoot paint and paint thinner projectiles by pushing the attack button. These controls, while very similar to Castle of Illusion, are only the very tip of the amazing iceberg. Like its console Epic Mickey counterparts, in Power of Illusion, Mickey can use paint or thinner to draw objects or take them away. This is done using the touch screen of the 3DS. When an object can be interacted with, it will appear glowing in the map on the bottom screen. By tapping this, a "paint" screen will be shown. In this screen, players will have to "paint," or outline, the object to make it appear, or erase it with the thinner to make it disappear. While only a few levels were shown in the demo, this technique was used to fantastic effect. Sometimes it was simple, just having to erase a vine blocking your path or painting a block to stand on. Other times things were more complicated. In one section, a series of cannons was on the screen that Mickey could launch himself with. Some cannons needed to be painted and some needed to be erased in order to form the perfect path to move on to a high platform. Since the action pauses when painting, some of the cannons had to be painted while in mid-flight. It made the sequence not just about strategy, but timing as well. To add more detail to a constantly deepening game, the painting mechanic is graded on how good of a job you do with painting the items. The better you do, the better rewards you get. For example, if you paint a stone column perfectly, fewer enemies will attack in the next section. If you do a bad job, more enemies may be waiting for you further on in the level. In addition, special painted objects can be found, unlocked, and carried with you throughout the game. As in Metroid, these acquired powers can be used at any time and help you access hidden areas and defeat enemies. In the demo, you could carry two special objects. One was a "Thwomp"-like enemy that would crush anything underneath it (even Mickey!). By drawing it anywhere on the screen, the monster will slam down and destroy anything underneath it. This is very helpful in defeating enemies that may be a little out of reach or guarding a tough platforming section. And, again, if you paint it perfectly, the enemy is more powerful and slams to the ground more times. The other item was a chest that would release helpful items such as money, more paint, or helpful hearts. The graphics and animation in the game are truly wonderful. DreamRift's other games -- Henry Hatsworth and Monster Tale -- have very similar, 16-bit retro graphics, but Power of Illusion seems to look even better! It's hard to tell in the screenshots, but parallax scrolling is in full effect, with backgrounds and gorgeous out-of-focus foregrounds looking incredible. And seeing this all in 3D makes everything look even more colorful and stunning. If this was the entire game, it would be great. But there is so much more! After rescuing the numerous Disney characters, they will return to your castle and find shelter in one of many rooms. These rooms can be upgraded to look more and more like scenes from the characters' respective universes. For example, I upgraded Scrooge McDuck's room and it was a perfect recreation of his office from DuckTales (complete with giant vault door!). And these upgrades aren't just aesthetic. After fully upgrading, characters will help out Mickey on his quest! Some may open a shop to sell helpful items, others may offer new powers, and others will assign side missions that can be completed for even more fun rewards! There is so much to do in Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion and so much to gush over. It truly is a beautiful game with fun gameplay, clever mechanics, and many surprising Disney appearances. I can't wait for Power of Illusion. As a fan of both retro 2D platformers and Disney, this game is a dream come true.
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I haven't made a final decision as to what my favorite game at E3 2012 is yet, but Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion for the 3DS is right up there. When DreamRift's game was announced a couple of months ago, I was shocked. Inste...

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E3: Nintendo confirms more third-party 3DS titles


Jun 05
// Alasdair Duncan
While there was no new info about the titles, Nintendo did confirm four forthcoming 3DS titles at E3: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate Scribblenauts Unlimited Disney's Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion Kingdom Hear...
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E3: Disney's Epic Mickey 2 releasing November 18, 2012


Jun 05
// Jason Cabral
[Update: Check out the behind the scenes trailer!] Just in time for Thanksgiving, and the inevitable Black Friday rush, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two will be hitting stores on November 18, 2012. The game will aga...
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The DTOID Show: Borderlands, Aliens, and SPACE BATTLES!


Apr 04
// Tara Long
Not all at the same time, of course. That would be a little too badass, even for you. It doesn't mean there's not plenty to be excited about, though! Today's Destructoid Show covers a lot of topics, including discussion...
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You aren't ready: Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion screens


Apr 04
// Jordan Devore
No offense to the console-bound Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, but looking over these screenshots, I'm much more eager to play Disney Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion. Visually speaking, this 3DS platformer is everythi...

Sing it! Gaming's greatest musicals

Apr 02 // Allistair Pinsof
[embed]224916:43234:0[/embed] Marl Kingdom Series The first thing that comes to my mind when I think "musical" and "videogame" is Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure. Perhaps it's because it has the word "musical" right in its title? This effeminate, brief RPG didn't make publisher Atlus much money when it was released on the PlayStation in '98, but it has built up a loyal cult following over the years. Even when the game was re-released a decade later for DS, there was still little else to compare this strange musical JRPG to. The game performed much better overseas, where there was a market more receptive to the game's blend of strategy, RPG, and twee musical numbers. In fact, developer Nippon Ichi turned it into a series with two Japan-only sequels: Little Princess: The Puppet Princess of Marl Kingdom 2 and Tenshi no Present: A Marl Kingdom Story. In these games, key plot elements and dialog are sung to a backing track. Rhapsody even let players select the language of the lyrics and the ability to mute it altogether. The game's goofy story, young female cast, and tactical elements didn't exactly set the world on fire, but they marked the first time a game boldly declared itself a musical and lived up to the title. [embed]224916:43235:0[/embed] PaRappa the Rapper SeriesHow could you forget the first time you heard "Kick, punch, it's all in the mind!" at Chop Chop Master Onion's dojo? Masaya Matsuura's peculiar music series helped Sony stand out in the early days of the PlayStation. While the three games (PaRappa 1 & 2, UmJammer Lammy) have stage performances that contextualize the singing, most of the musical numbers are absurd and make no sense at all, no matter how you approach them. From a heavy metal airplane pilot to a Rasta frog, the PaRappa series brought numerous outlandish characters and scenarios to life with songs that were so good they made it worth playing each game twice, if not many more times. Considering how much of these games are based around song, this series may be the closest games have ever come to having a full-on musical and not a genre game with musical scenes spliced in every couple of hours. On the other hand, each of these games only lasts a couple of hours. [embed]224916:43236:0[/embed] The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogie's Revenge - Boss Fights You know, there is only one way to make a decade-late, Devil May Cry-inspired Capcom sequel to The Nightmare Before Christmas any stranger: have the boss fights center around song-and-dance routines (controlled through a rhythm mini-game). It's a weird combination, but it's one that has stuck with some people throughout the years, including our own Jim Sterling. [embed]224916:43238:0[/embed] The Curse of Monkey Island - Singing Pirates The Monkey Island series has a lot of great moments, but one of my favorites is the singing pirates scene in The Curse of Monkey Island. Between Guybrush's disgruntled quips (that you choose!) and the pirates' derpy dance animations, it always puts a smile on my face. Not sure if I'd want a full game of this kind of thing, but it's fun while it lasts. [embed]224916:43239:0[/embed] Conker's Bad Fur Day - The Great Mighty Poo The Great Mighty Poo is the only thing I can remember about Conker's Bad Fur Day for good reason: it's one of the most disgusting, bizarre WTF moments ever put into a game. If you didn't have it spoiled for you, it was a real shocker. With lyrics allegedly co-written by Weird Al Yankovic (under the alias Ed Horowitz) and a catchy operatic melody, this tune went a long way in giving Conker its South Park-lite identity that made so many love or hate it. [embed]224916:43240:0[/embed] Patapon & LocoRoco Series Both Patapon and LocoRoco were early reasons to buy a PSP. They also were both musicals in a bizarre sort of way. They each feature strange, lovable characters who sing their way to victory, collecting items and defeating enemies along the way. Sure, they sing in gibberish, but singing to music still counts as a musical, no? To be honest, it's such an abstract take on the format that I didn't even consider listing these games until Jonathan Holmes made the suggestion. [embed]224916:43241:0[/embed] Kingdom Hearts 2 - "Under the Sea" Sequence Okay, this really feels like cheating, but I'm going to throw it in anyway. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Are there any obvious picks I forgot to list? Are you as indifferent to musicals as I am? Does Disney Epic Mickey 2's being a musical make you excited or worried?
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You can't get more flamboyant than a musical, so it should be no surprise that the predominantly masculine worlds of videogames don't often let their characters burst into song. After all, gunning down terrorists in the Mi...

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YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. ...

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Epic Mickey 2 lead platform is Wii, 3DS version confirmed


Mar 25
// Tony Ponce
GamesRadar has uploaded a nearly five-minute walkthrough of the upcoming Epic Mickey 2, demonstrating the 360 build and the new drop-in, drop-out co-op. GR has confirmed suspicions that the Wii version is the lead platform. ...
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Epic Mickey 2 is 'the first musical comedy game'


Mar 23
// Dale North
At Epic Mickey 2's announcement press conference in Austin last week, Junction Point's Senior Creative Director, Warren Spector, surprised attending press members by calling the game "the first musical comedy game in the hist...
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Epic Mickey 2: The three biggest issues addressed


Mar 23
// Dale North
At Epic Mickey 2's announcement press conference last week, Junction Point's Warren Spector talked about how the three biggest issues in Epic Mickey have been addressed for the upcoming sequel, which takes the Mouse and his p...

Preview: Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

Mar 23 // Allistair Pinsof
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii)Developer: Junction PointPublisher: Disney Interactive StudiosRelease: Fall 2012 The announcement of the first Epic Mickey left me scratching my head. “The co-creator of System Shock is making a Mickey Mouse game revolving around moral choices and platforming?” I said. Then I said it again and tried slapping myself awake. Despite all odds, this pairing worked in terms of aesthetics and storytelling. Spector’s love letter to Disney’s origins was a dark, ambitious vision that stood out despite attached labels like “Wii game” and “kid-friendly.” Spector proved himself, once again, to be a master in world building and orchestrating a journey that becomes personal through decision-making and character investment. On the other hand, Spector and his then-freshly-faced studio managed to partially fail at problems that 3D platformers overcame a decade before Disney Epic Mickey’s release. Our own Jonathan Holmes said it best in his review: It's ironic that the game's writing does such a great job of showing off its characters from multiple angles, while the in-game camera has the horrid tendency to auto-adjust to the most unhelpful positions. A New Coat of Paint When you mention Epic Mickey’s sore points, Spector doesn’t talk around those issues. He talks directly about them. Or, more specifically, how they are being addressed in The Power of Two. The biggest improvement in the sequel is the camera. In the original, players struggled to find a proper angle after fiddling with the controls. In Epic Mickey 2, players won’t even have to manually adjust the camera if they wish to follow only the main path. Junction Point wants players to always have a perfect view of the world and action without laying a finger on the camera buttons. With a dedicated team making 1,000+ changes to the camera, the results need to be seen in action to be appreciated. Most players will still adjust the camera in order to explore and discover hidden items, but it never is a necessity. Outside the larger hub areas, I didn’t feel a need to use the D-pad camera controls. The demo lacked any intensive platforming or combat segments, so it’s hard to say that the new system will work flawlessly under pressure. At the very least, Junction Point is taking this concern seriously. A new camera is nice, but you know what’s better? Color. HD color! I liked Epic Mickey’s art direction in concept more than execution. The scale of Epic Mickey was impressive for a Wii title, but the game had a murky, dull look to it that soured the immersion. The sequel, in contrast, is a cheerful, primary-colored world that is a joy to explore. The 2D sections return with more depth in the background, and the 3D sections are populated with the nostalgic architecture found in old Disney films. The lighting effects and new models are a step up from the original, but Epic Mickey 2 doesn’t look up to par with modern current-gen offerings. Its origins as a Wii title are pretty transparent. However, other modern platformers don’t have worlds as lively, detailed, and inviting as this. Let’s just hope the nasty lag in the demo is a temporary bump in the road and not a long-term challenge. Partners in Crime How do you make a game better? More stuff, of course! More challenge! More places! More players? Why not? Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, ruler of the Wasteland, was a big part of Epic Mickey, and he plays an even larger role in the sequel. Oswald will accompany you throughout your adventure and use his electric remote to paralyze enemies and operate machinery. The character is controlled by an advanced A.I. system that works without player direction. However, at any time, a second player can take the computer’s role and control Oswald. Along with doing some basic moves, Oswald can also help Mickey with co-op specific abilities, such as a vertical toss that helps Mickey reach high places and a Banjo-Kazooie-esque propeller spin to glide across a gap. It’s nice to have some help in combat, but I don’t see why Oswald needs to be gimped. Though the rabbit can paralyze enemies, it’s up to Mickey to defeat or save them with his own devices. No matter how you play, it will be Mickey’s decisions that make up the adventure; Oswald is just along for the ride. Hopefully, he won’t get in our way while we make the tough calls as Mickey. A Musical JourneyAs if the original didn’t have enough genres attached to it (RPG, platformer, action-adventure), Epic Mickey adds one more: musical.Throughout the game, players will be serenaded by songs from a notable cast singing tunes by returning series composer Jim Dooley and songwriter Mike Himelstein (Shrek, Dorothy of Oz). The developer and publisher claim that Epic Mickey 2 is the first videogame musical, but it’s a tough call to make until we see the context and frequency of these songs. There wasn’t any singing to be found in the demo. However, the opening cinematic finds The Mad Doctor returning to sing a song (“Help Me Help You,” he repeats). It’s no instant classic, but it’s not grating, either. Spector has professed his love of musicals before, so I expect these scenes will be made with a lot of heart and musical history in mind. What's more exciting to me is that the game will have a full voice cast. No longer will characters’ words be paired with N64-era sound loops. Now, each character -- even those who never had a voice in Disney’s history -- will speak their dialog. The full voice cast hasn’t been announced at this time, but we do know that Frank Welker (Transformers) will be playing the role of Oswald. Along with the jump to HD, voice acting can go a long way in making the world of Epic Mickey more contemporary and inviting. Hitting the Right Notes The demo I played was a brief taste of what’s to come. As a result, it’s hard to get a good impression of just how far these improvements will go in making a superior sequel. The demo consisted of three segments: a tutorial, a 2D side-scrolling stage, and an open area filled with characters with conflicting requests for the player. The tutorial stage left the strongest impression, showing off the revamped art direction (in HD) and camera. The camera turned smoothly by itself (think Uncharted) while I climbed up into the stars, as the game recreated a memorable scene from Fantasia. This soon led into a brick cellar area where lovingly animated personified mops flung water from high above (à la The Sorcerer's Apprentice). It was a beautiful moment that spoke to me more than any of the Steamboat Willie sections of the previous game. Then again, I fell asleep to Fantasia every night as a kid! Speaking of the 2D Steamboat Willie sections, Epic Mickey 2’s side-scrolling section in the demo was a step forward in both visuals and design. The following open-world segment, however, was a bit less impressive. The combat of the first, love it or hate it, didn’t seem to have undergone any significant changes. Within a small hub in Frontierland, Mickey and Oswald could take on a few different objectives. I found the camera problematic in this area, when played in split-screen co-op. With half a screen, it was hard to get a good view of the action. It may be unfair to expect the camera to work as well in co-op as it does in single-player, but ... it sure would be nice, wouldn't it? Junction Point may have jumped the gun in showing off Epic Mickey 2 a little bit early, but it still has a lot of promise in being a brighter, bolder, and bigger sequel. Between its beautiful HD colors and lively setting, The Power of Two presents a joyful world that I can’t wait to jump into and explore. Here’s hoping Epic Mickey 2 has us singing its praises when it arrives this fall.
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From the unexpected original to the inevitable sequel, Mickey Mouse and veteran game designer Warren Spector are on a strange ride together. With characters breaking into song for musical segments, full voice acting, split...

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Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two confirmed for 360/PS3/Wii


Mar 21
// Jordan Devore
Talk of a sequel to Epic Mickey has been going around for what feels like quite a while -- I was almost starting to get worried. This week, the game was shown off to media. We'll have a full preview for Disney Epic Mickey 2: ...
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Looks like Epic Mickey 2 may be in development


Aug 27
// Jonathan Holmes
According to an anonymous Dtoid reader, Epic Mickey 2 is currently being gauged by Disney via online marketing. There are a lot of specifics here, which is always nice. That doesn't mean that the game is definitely going to h...
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Amazon goes gaming in today's Gold Box


Jan 18
// Conrad Zimmerman
Amazon has cooled their heels with the promotions now that the big holiday shopping season is over. I still check daily for deals but there's never anything I would waste your time with. Until this morning, that is, when I'm ...
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Epic Mickey soundtrack coming December 21st


Dec 15
// Dale North
The Disney Epic Mickey soundtrack by Emmy winning composer Jim Dooley will be available on iTunes and other digital music services starting on December 21. Released by Walt Disney Records, this digital score will feature 20 t...
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Spector pleased with negative reviews


Dec 10
// Jim Sterling
Despite claiming earlier this week that reviews "didn't understand" Disney Epic Mickey, designer Warren Spector also stated that he's happy with the varying reviews for his game. According to Spector, he'd rather have sp...

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