Wednesday, June 16, 2010
A long time ago, the sorcerer Yen Sid created a Disney theme park themed pen-and-paper world called the Cartoon Wasteland for his forgotten and rejected creations, held in an intricate model on a table, and accessible through a mirror. Mickey, who steps through a mirror from his home and finds himself inside Yen Sid's study, sees the model, and waits until Yen Sid is gone before going back to take another look at it. Fiddling with it, Mickey accidentally spills paint and paint thinner onto the model. Hearing Yen Sid approaching, Mickey quickly cleans up and flees back to his home. However, the spill of paint and paint thinner create a being called the Phantom Blot, who attempts to take control of the Wasteland from its first resident and Mickey's older half-brother - Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Oswald and the other residents of the Cartoon Wasteland fight against the Phantom Blot, but he eventually overwhelms them and twists their world into a dark and sinister version of itself, forcing Oswald into hiding.
Years later, Mickey has forgotten his past transgression until the mirror in his home comes to life and pulls him into the Cartoon Wasteland. Oswald, his will lost and twisted by his jealousy of Mickey's rise to fame, has formulated a plan to destroy Mickey. The Mad Doctor works closely with the Blot, creating robotic "Beetleworx", which are strange creatures that consist of combinations of various Disney cartoon characters. He also creates animatronic "buddies" for Oswald, looking like decrepit robotic versions of Mickey's friends, as Oswald wants Mickey's life and popularity for himself. Armed with a magical paintbrush that he managed to pull into the world with him, Mickey must stop the Phantom Blot, gain Oswald's trust and save the Cartoon Wasteland.
The game is primarily a platform game with some RPG elements and allows players to use their own solutions for getting through the levels. Epic Mickey features a morality system similar to games like inFamous and Spider-Man: Web of Shadows and the paths are "the Hero, or the Scrapper". The player's actions can either have Mickey hailed as a Hero, or feared as a Scrapper, changing his appearance and opening up different alliances, side-quests and power-ups depending on the path taken. It is even possible to avoid a boss battle if specific actions are taken. Mickey uses a magic paintbrush that can be used on enemies and painted parts of the environment. He can either use paint to paint areas into the level, such as a bridge, or use paint thinner to destroy obstacles and enemies. Both have limited reserves and share a meter, letting players decide whether to use more of something to be safe, or save some and take a riskier approach. However, the meter recharges slowly over time and powerups that instantly restore portions of the meter can be found. Mickey is also able to create objects from sketches, which have various effects. Two confirmed sketches, the clock and the television, slow down time and distract enemies, respectively.
There are many varieties of enemies in the Cartoon Wasteland, such as Blotlings, the Phantom Blot's henchmen, who come in various forms. The weakest form of Blotling, the Spatters, can be dealt with in many ways from destroying them to making them friendly. There are also the Mad Doctor's Beetleworx, robots that are immune to paint and thinner and must be dealt with in other ways, and Oswald's children, the bunny kids, who are not normally hostile and adore their "Uncle Mickey", but impede his progress by doing things such as clinging onto him, which slows him down.
To travel between sections of the Cartoon Wasteland, Mickey must traverse 2D side-scrolling levels based on his classic cartoon shorts, such as Clock Cleaners.
The game was originally in development for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Development on the Wii started in 2008, when the idea of addressing a Wii port of the game was raised; Specter replied that a straight Wii port would not be viable, remarking that many of the "design ideas just won't work on the Wii, we need to give the Wii its dues". Graham Hopper of Disney Interactive then suggested dropping the development of the aforementioned platforms completely, and instead releasing it solely on the Wii.
Concept art for the game by Fred Gambino and Gary Glover depicts a "surrealistically bizarre" look at Disney characters and locations in a steampunk environment. Featured in the concept art are post-apocalyptic renditions of Goofy, Disneyland's It's a Small World, the Haunted Mansion, Epcot's Spaceship Earth, Disney's Hollywood Studios' "Earful Tower", The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Cinderella Castle.
Compared to the Kingdom Hearts series, a similar video game franchise created by Japanese video game company Square Enix, which combined modern-day Disney characters with their own Final Fantasy characters, Epic Mickey emphasizes retro-vintage and long-lost Disney characters that were created much earlier, and draws more plot elements from the classic movie Fantasia, rather than Final Fantasy; in Kingdom Hearts II, a location in the game was based on the 1920s Steamboat Willie cartoon, but other than that, the rest of the game took its cast from more recently-created characters.
Mickey will be receiving a character redesign in this game, which will attempt to give him a "retro" look, and the game uses an animation engine to replicate the stretchy athleticism of the classic cartoons.
Warren Spector has stated that Epic Mickey was planned as a trilogy.
AOL reporter Dave Thier compared Mickey's change in this game to the drastic change in Conker's Bad Fur Day, saying "Mickey isn't the first cartoon character to get a nasty makeover by way of Nintendo. In 1999, the furry, loveable squirrel Conker got his own title on the Nintendo 64 and ended up an angry drunk who spent the game working off a hangover and stealing cash."