Warren Spector goes back to the drawing board

Deus Ex creator on how he hopes to change everything in Epic Mickey 2...

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In a weird sort of way, Walt was a game designer, he didn't know it, but he was a game designer. We used the stuff like the boomerang arm. I'm completely certain people are going to say "that's right out of Zelda", but really it's right out of a cartoon that Walt did in 1927. Grabbing onto Mickey's ankles - "it's from Sonic and Tails" - but it's right out of cartoons from the 20s. We didn't have to make a whole lot up, we just had to go back to the original source.

Do you care what other developers have done with Mickey in the past?


OK, here's a really obnoxious answer: no! I don't care about what other developers have done with Mickey! I play a lot of games as a player and at some level I'm sure it affects what I do but I've never... Wait, that's not true! Once! This one time I was so frustrated by a game I was working on. I was frustrated by Thief. Deus Ex exists today because I said, "I'm gonna show these guys that I can make a game where you can sneak and fight and make it work." Because I tried desperately to get the Thief team to let me fight my way past problems I can't sneak past.

Mickey's not a response to anyone else's game, then?

No. No, absolutely not. Really, Deus Ex is the only time I've said, "I'm gonna answer a question that this game asked." But all of my games come out of frustration with other games or inspiration from other games. Mickey - if you want to know what it was inspired by in terms of its gameplay - as much as I love the Zelda games and the Mario games I just felt like, other than the graphics, there haven't been enough design advances in platforming and action-adventure to make me happy.

What I wanted to do was try to introduce some new kinds of gameplay into those classic genres, but I made a conscious decision not to play the old Mickey games because I didn't want to be prejudiced by what they had done. I wanted to make a Junction Point Mickey game that would be not feel like other games.

We're into the idea that Epic Mickey 2 is a musical. What are your favourites from Disney's archives?

Snow White, just because it was the first. There are some great songs in Pinocchio. I love the Lion King, and Beauty And The Beast. They are all swell. In terms of my favourite musical films of all time, they're things no one's heard of, frankly. I love 42nd Street, and I love On The Town. On The Town is maybe one of the two or three greatest American films of all time. It starred Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra and a guy called Jules Munchen who no one remembers, sadly.

I saw the original cast of Oliver on Broadway. I saw the original cast of Camelot - Richard Burton and Julie Andrews. I just saw Promises, Promises on Broadway. I got the whole cast to sign a poster for me. I love musicals, I just love them. Frankly I shouldn't admit this. I loved High School Musical. I keep telling Disney, 'Let me do a High School Musical game, I totally know how to do it.' No one's taken me up on that .

So why have you saved Epic Mickey 2's song-and-dance numbers for the cutscenes? Why not do it as a full musical and have characters burst into song in the middle of a level?


You know, I'm sad to say, because I have a vision of the future - but sad to say it's completely isolated from the gameplay just because I needed people to not reject the game out of hand because it has songs. Even though Disney is known for songs, there are people I work with every day who are convinced that gamers won't accept songs in the game.

I have more faith in gamers. They're going to be OK with it. Junction Point have been at the forefront of so many innovations in the last 20 years. In Epic Mickey on the Wii we were introducing a new audience to the idea of choice and consequence, so we did choice and consequence light. This time we're doing a light musical.

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