In a fantastic, revealing interview with Game Informer, Warren Spector has spoken about how he came to be making a Mickey Mouse game - Epic Mickey - for Disney.
Spector revealed that Disney executives told him, "We want someone to reinvigorate this character, reinvent this character," after Spector had initially refused the idea. "You've done an incredibly good job of making Mickey lame and irrelevant to anybody over the age of eight over the last thirty years. I don't do games for kids," he'd said.
But the idea that he could make a character he loved relevant again was enough to win Spector round. "You know, this is probably impossible, we're probably going fail. I'm in," he said.
Spector, a keen student of animation history, felt that Mickey's character had progressively been neutered from his early days, and become dull. "He was so successful and so popular that taking any risks with him risked the entire future of the company. Who'd be crazy enough to do that? Wait, other than me... He's kind of been laying fallow, which is a great opportunity for us."
Spector's vision for the mouse is to "go back to those late 20s, early 30s cartoons where he was mischievous. Mischievous is the nice way to put it. He was a badly behaved mouse. He was a troublemaker," he said. "I want to see people going out there and saying, 'I want to be Mickey Mouse,' not just wearing a Mickey Mouse watch or t-shirt."
The game that became Epic Mickey was worked up by Spector from a concept produced by a Disney think-tank. But it almost didn't happen when Spector refused Disney's demands that they buy his studio, Junction Point. Nothing happened for over a year before they convinced him to change his mind.
Spector assured readers that, despite its radically different setting, Epic Mickey would offer the emergent gameplay and choices with consequences that his games are known for. "I have no interest in making games that don't do that. None," he said.
The choice of the Wii as an exclusive platform the game was a demographic one, he said. "Well, think about it. Would you really want to tackle convincing Halo or Grand Theft Auto players that they want to be Mickey Mouse? Would you really want to do that? In terms of finding a congenial audience, let's go for a platform that's known for Mario and Link and now Sonic."
And what does the future hold for Spector at Disney after Epic Mickey is made? "I want to do a Duck Tales game. Convince the world that a Duck Tales game needs to be made. I can't convince anybody at Disney to let me do a Duck Tales game. How can that be?"
Epic Mickey will be shown at a press conference in London on Wednesday evening. We'll be there. Excited. Look for a full report later in the week.
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