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 history of video games."
While what we saw of the game was limited, we were assured that Epic Mickey 2 is a true musical, with much of its story told through song. Spector, a big fan of music himself, joked that he wants the "Gleeks to turn out" for this game.
We were shown the game's opening sequence, which almost immediately becomes a musical act. The Mad Doctor, the last game's antagonist, bursts from the ground in a craft and pleas with main character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, asking him to forgive and join forces. This is all done through singing and lyrics that were a perfect fit for Disney's style.
Through song he makes it clear that Oswald must once again become a hero, though the choice should be made quickly:
Danger is closing in, so much we must avoid / If we don't band together Wasteland will be destroyed
Brian Freyermuth, Senior Game and Story Designer at Junction Point, tells Destructoid that there was initially some skepticism on how well they could pull off a game filled with musical numbers. He says that even with that initial doubt, everyone on the team was immediately on board with the idea, and from hearing the first recorded tune they were all fully committed to the cause. Now he and the team are excited for fans to experience these musical numbers.
It seems that the Mad Doctor does the bulk of the singing in Epic Mickey 2. Freyermuth said that most of the music comes from this character as he introduces music to Wasteland, and every bit of what he says in the game ends up being song. Most of the game's characters are confused by his singing at the game's beginning, but as things progress, more and more join in, and more types of music are gradually introduced.
Freyermuth revealed that Jim Dooley, the composer of the first game, worked with lyricist Mike Himmelstein to transform the story and dialogue into full musical numbers. For this creation process, after feedback was given from Disney and Warren Spector on scratch tracks, the songs would be recorded with the voice actors for each of the characters.
While they were only able to show one number at the reveal event, it sounds like Junction Point has a musical treat lined up for fans. Freyermuth says that he feels their work rivals any of Disney's older musicals in quality. He told us that while it's too early to talk about any of the other singing characters, there are about 8 major pieces to look forward to, and teased that one of the operatic pieces in the middle of the game is one of his favorites.
Look for more on Epic Mickey 2 and its music later this year.