Disney’s Epic Mickey Series & Its Many Cancelled Games – Game History Secrets

Disney’s Epic Mickey Series & Its Many Cancelled Games – Game History Secrets

and finally with disney epic mickey the power of two i said we’ve got to try we got to start we’ve got to you know fail gloriously is is what i hope is is chiseled into my tombstone someday you know um so maybe this is the part where we start failing gloriously and figuring it out the 2009 announcement of epic mickey surprised many commentators with its darker take on mickey mouse and the history of disney this world of forgotten tunes built around player expression found success on the nintendo wii and soon form the basis for a franchise a sequel and a 3ds spin-off arrived in 2012 but the full scope of developer junction points ambitions was never truly realized a number of projects never made it into production and the company eventually ceased to be in this video i’ll be delving into the history of epic mickey how the original project came together why the series fell apart and the games that were ultimately left unreleased although it wouldn’t be released until 2010 the origins of epic mickey take us all the way back to the early 2000s disney interactive the media giant video game publishing label had been struggling to keep the company’s mascot mickey mouse relevant in an industry becoming increasingly dominated by more mature titles while games like kingdom hearts were finding success but he lacked a vehicle of his own throughout the generation something that hadn’t gone unnoticed at disney in search of the next great mickey mouse game a small group of up-and-comers was assembled by disney interactive to begin drafting out ideas towards the start of 2003. this team which mostly consisted of college students and recent graduates interning at the company was referred to as the think tank it was an educational experience for those involved as they committed to soaking in as much of the company’s rich history as they could looking for inspiration before long the group developed an interest in a corner of walt disney’s legacy that had been left largely unexplored oswald the lucky rabbit first drawn in 1927 oswald was among disney’s earliest creations and the original mascot of walt disney studio however the character was later lost in a rights dispute to universal sending walt disney back to the drawing board where he would create the world famous mickey mouse discovering the background of a widely forgotten mascot the developers felt that this could be the foundation for a new game starring the iconic mouse their concept recast oswald as a sympathetic villain after years of enviously watching mickey from the sidelines oswald enacts an elaborate plan of revenge against him embers of this original idea would stick with the project all the way through to its completion for around two years the think tank pieced together concept art and demo material in the hopes of getting a game into production by 2005 they were able to pitch their ideas to bob iger then ceo of the walt disney company to their surprise iger was apparently very receptive to the proposal taking a particular interest in a potential revival of oswald the lucky rabbit but as previously stated disney did not own the rights to oswald universal had held under the property for over 70 years despite rarely using the character for the majority of that time with no way to forge a path forward for the time being the project was left out of stansdale it wasn’t until bob iger replaced michael eisner as disney’s ceo in september 2005 that further progress would be made prior to his promotion iger had privately made overtures that he intended to bring oswald back to disney with the main goal of realizing the proposed video game in early 2006 he lived up to his word by striking an unprecedented deal which effectively traded a human being for a cartoon character sportscasters al michaels and john martin were long-time partners in commentating for abc’s monday night football when it was announced in 2005 that the show is being moved by disney from abc to espn john martin left to work for a competing network owned by nbc universal rumors followed that his usual co-commentator al michaels also wanted to leave espn to continue working with madden at nbc catching word of this bob igers spotted an opportunity he negotiated an agreement with the heads of nbc that would allow michaels to transfer over to their network and in return disney would receive the rights to oswald the lucky rabbit as a result of this historic trade the oswald mickey video game crossover was now officially on the table that wasn’t the only notable pickup disney had made in service of realizing it either while discussions to bring oswald back were ongoing disney interactive had found an established video game designer to hone their vision warren spector known for his work at ion storm on titles like deus ex entered talks with disney in 2005 to develop some original ideas of his among those he pitched to them was a sci-fi game and a fantasy open world rpg named sleeping giants neither of which they were interested in however they responded with a counter proposal offering him the chance to join their mickey mouse video game project which he enthusiastically accepted as part of the agreement disney also acquired warren spector’s new company junction point to produce it with spectre installed as the project’s director story elements began to be fleshed out the think tank had left junction point with a rough set of ideas for them to build upon such as the return of oswald and the game’s main setting much of the game at this stage was intended to take place in the wasteland a magical world inhabited by forgotten and rejected disney characters a key element of the plot which would remain throughout development but the nature of wasteland was considerably different earlier on in pre-production as opposed to being a magical miniature realm conjured by disney’s sorcerer yen sid it was instead a pileup of discarded art materials forgotten and rejected concepts that had amassed in a dumpster behind the disney art offices this concept was revised in favor of something more fantastical with the introduction of yen cid in the game’s opening sequence chase jones epic mickey’s design director told me that this allowed them to create a more cohesive world with fewer creative restrictions the other key story beat which junction point inherited from the think tank was the potential reintroduction of another vintage character the phantom blot a recurring villain from across disney media rather than using the phantom blood outright spectre and his team invented their own character simply called the blot which was heavily inspired by him this sentient malevolent blot of ink is accidentally brought to life by mickey experimenting with the ncd’s magic paintbrush the platylater pulls mickey into the wasteland in the game’s introductory cutscene in the original outline of the story conceptualized by spectre and his team both the blot and oswald would have acted as villains and in the climax of the game the blot would have taken over oswalt’s body it would have resulted in the two transforming into a gigantic merged creature called the storm blot shae shared that mickey would have had to separate the two characters in the final boss sequence the dark imagery implied by this concept is indicative of much of epic mickey’s early rot explorations images like these give us a window into a grimmer vision for wasteland and its inhabitants a nightmarish world that subverted the innocence of disney productions past for many fans who followed the development of epic mickey prior to its release these early pieces of art were their introduction to the game a myriad of them were leaked online in july 2009 and left a lasting impression yet despite how renowned these concepts have become its creators maintained that they weren’t intended for public consumption as chase jones explained to me they were never supposed to be representative of what junction point was hoping to produce either that always has an interesting history that concept art i mean it was made to see how far junction point was going to be able to push the ip right yeah warren never really saw that as the end result we needed to know where our boundaries were because we are helping redefine mickey for an audience that disney had data people walk away from the ip especially males like there’s a large gap before the male audience between 13 and 35 and so having disney’s want to be as big in games at the time they wanted to be as big in games as they are known in other areas of entertainment they needed to capture that audience and so when junction point was doing their explorations and even when i joined we knew that we’d only be able to go so far but we had to create the visuals for them to say that’s okay or that isn’t okay as junction point staff probed around the edges of what was considered acceptable by disney many ideas were subsequently left behind originally mickey was imagined as shooting paint and thinner out of his body as opposed to from a magic brush and the developers envisioned the player’s usage of ivor’s substance having a profound impact on his physical appearance as depicted in some pre-production sketches mickey’s heavy reliance upon thinner to destroy enemies and his environment would result in his body gradually deteriorating the color would literally start to drip off him eventually reducing mickey to a melting deformed beast consumed by his destructive tendencies these extremes were inevitably rejected as were attempts to draw inspiration from the 1990s short runaway brain in which mickey’s consciousness is switched with that of a deranged monster called julius mickey’s body is transformed into a feral creature with sharp teeth and bloodshot eyes according to chase jones the team had originally hoped to draw upon runaway brain mickey for mickey’s thinner form but referencing the controversial cartoon was off the table for disney on the other hand junction point’s animators were able to sharpen their skills by delving into the disney back catalogue and recreating character movements from classic cartoons in 3d it was during the company’s combing of the disney archives that a key piece of material was unearthed that would go on to inform the game’s characters this was a letter penned by walt disney to the head of universal from 1928 which included a drawing from a disney artist showing the two iconic characters together prior to epic mickey this was the only piece of disney produced material showing the two interacting this brief glimpse of their two personalities clashing mickey’s happy-go-lucky attitude and oswald’s unamused glare formed the basis for how junction point would portray them however some ideas for oswald in particular were eventually dialed back initially an outright villain who mickey redeems he evolved into more of a forgotten brother and rival of mickeys who ultimately sets aside his grudge to help save wasteland warren spector has said that this change in direction came about due to the intervention of then pixar head and disney creative consultant john lasseter as recounted by polygon lasseter was incredulous at spectre’s first treatment involving oswald as the main antagonist responding disney has spent so long getting oswald back and the first time anybody sees him he’s a villain spector admitted that the confrontation left him defeated until he eventually came around to agreeing weeks later as per lasseter’s suggestions the story was revised to flip the idea on its head and make mickey more of a villain instead and so it came to be that mickey’s careless antics would bring about the blot and leave wasteland in ruins these revelations later cause friction between the two characters and recast oswald as a more sympathetic character another big shift for the project arrived in 2008 when it went from being planned as a game for pc xbox 360 and ps3 to one for the nintendo wii after disney had expressed an interest in adding a wii version warren spector told them that he believed simply pawning a game built for other systems would result in an inferior product instead disney interactive president graham hopper responded by offering to let them make it as a wii exclusive allowing a grateful team to focus their efforts on one system speaking to official nintendo magazine in 2009 specter said they walked away from three other platforms no other publisher on the planet would have done that it was a magic moment for me no one has even mentioned of a format since that point another incentive for making the game a wii exclusive was a co-publishing deal reportedly struck between disney and nintendo according to chase jones nintendo consulted on the game throughout development providing feedback on optimizing it for the wii and leveraging the unique functions of its controller chase also shared that this was why epic mickey was never released on xbox 360 and ps3 junction point later pitched an hd port of the game in 2012 but it never moved forward at least partly because nintendo had a hand in the publishing rights nintendo did on the other hand publish an updated version of the wii game exclusively in japan with an updated camera and other minor tweaks in 2011. as development went on and ideas continued to evolve the idea of mickey using a paintbrush as a means of manipulating his surroundings was introduced many concepts were produced to explore how he would use the brush in combat that never made it into the game some imagined him swinging it as a sword blocking and countering melee attacks others considered using it like a bow and arrow a javelin or even a boomerang in the way of cut content this is only the tip of the iceberg an entire area of the map was scrapped due to time constraints which was based around disney’s interpretation of alice in wonderland mickey would have stumbled into wonderland in the midst of a power struggle the nefarious queen of hearts would have been ruling with an iron fist and megy would have to join the mad hatter the white rabbits and the cheshire cats in their attempts to stop her according to chase jones early work had begun on designing the level when it was dropped although references to it was still peppered throughout the game in the opening cinematic the land can be seen on the wasteland map before it is engulfed when mickey spills thin over it suggesting it was destroyed in the disaster some concepts for boss battles were reworked considerably too the first boss from the game the clock tower from disneyland’s it’s a small world attraction was once very different originally it was intended to have been driven marred by the small world music playing on a constant loop it would have been up to mickey to scale its body and smash a record player behind its head to end its psychosis in the finished version the player must instead choose to either destroy or restore its body using paint or thinner the first area of wasteland that mickey finds himself in the mod doctor’s lab was also given a complete makeover in pre-production the original version showed an entirely different smaller layout with oswald in control of the mad doctor’s surgery robots plotting to remove mickey’s heart it was redone completely with the mud dock himself in charge of the robot before it is sabotaged by oswald speaking to game informer the game’s art director lee harker underlined the lengths junction point went to in order to accommodate for this major overhaul it just became apparent that we could really do a whole lot better so the team decided they wanted to take that on themselves and they pretty much lived here for three weeks to get it right on their own the area was later revised heavily again both in design and presentation after these comments were made epic miki had its official reveal in october 2009 following years of secrecy around the project it was in the first months of it being shown to the press that a major feature was glimpsed that ultimately never made it into the finished game earlier builds featured a fable-esque morality system that altered mickey’s physical appearance based upon the positive and negative implications of his actions mending his environment with paint and helping out the people of wasteland caused mikki to stand more upright and his clothes to become brighter conversely destroying buildings and enemies with thinner transformed him into scrapper mickey an angrier looking rendition of the character that was hunched over and dressed in darker clothing for players who dabbled in both paint and thinner a neutral path was also available a middle ground between the two called wastelander mickey mickey’s status was indicated by an icon on the game’s hood months after its first official showing however the karma system was almost entirely stripped out of the game chase jones told me that disney objected to altering the appearance of mickey mouse to this extent where it’s echoed by comments from warren spector in a reddit ama the one thing they told me i couldn’t do and i still find it weird almost beyond belief was show mickey’s teeth go figure with the angry snarls of scrapper mickey removed only some slight remnants of these mechanics would remain in the final game the greater the player’s reliance upon thinner for example the more ink will rise and drip off mickey’s body epic mickey was released in october 2010 to generally positive reviews and strong sales warren spektor cites it as the highest selling single platform title in the history of disney interactive before even that however the publishers executives were feeling optimistic about its prospects and were already keen to expand the epic mickey universe chase jones claims that junction point was directed by them to begin drafting out ideas for spin-offs and sequels in the months before launch various pitches were written out and concept dart began to be worked on for these potential titles with epic mickey 2 greenlit another project was being proposed centered around a different member of disney’s sensational 6 donald duck this project titled epic donald was heavily based around the ducktales universe it was a 3d platformer initially set for nintendo wii and potentially other consoles that was planned to be built using the technology developed for epic mickey everybody wanted to do a ducktales game i mean who wouldn’t want to i mean it was 3d ducktales right like you know i think you know from what i remember just think like you know open map design you know you’d have duckburg at the center that you’d keep coming back to is kind of your base in your hub but you’d go out on different adventure find treasures and avoid mythical monsters you know stuff like that the player would have controlled donald duck on a series of globetrotting adventures in typical ducktales fashion dons would have to gather materials from duckburg and beyond before submitting them to gyro gearloose to receive various gadgets and vehicle customizations he could then use he was far from the only ducktales character the game would have featured as well huey dewey and louis were all set to appear as was scrooge mcduck and his various rivals including magicka de spell and the beagle boys but yeah there’s a lot of talk about it there’s a lot of excitement there’s some really good ideas getting kicked around it would have been fun enthusiasm for the project internally was high and that would on occasion spill out to the public as warren spector made numerous statements to the press on a potential video game about disney’s ducks in august 2010 he told engadget a day does not go by where i don’t tell somebody at disney uncle scrooge come on donald huey dewey and louie come on let me do a duck game spector’s passion for the characters later led him to writing a short-lived series of ducktales comics which ran throughout 2011 but this period of conceptualizing potential epic mickey spin-offs was cut short in late 2010 disney interactive was subject to a number of significant management changes starting with its president steve wadsworth abruptly stepping down in october that was closely followed by their general manager graeme hopper who was a key figure in the development of epic mickey announcing his resignation in november this drastic refresh came as a response to a rough fiscal year for disney interactive who had invested millions in various flops and costly console projects consequently john pleasants and james patero were installed as disney interactive’s new co-presidents and a different vision for its feature came to power one more interested in chasing industry trends like mobile games plans to repurpose assets from epic mickey for an epic donald prototype were shelved and almost all of their epic mickey spin-offs were placed on hold as disney’s priorities shifted the only one to be picked up would be epic mickey power of illusion for nintendo 3ds developed by dreamriff studios a spiritual successor to mega drive classic castle of illusion starring mickey mouse another project that didn’t get off the ground around this time was a proposed movie adaptation of the first epic mickey game powerhouse studios the animation house responsible for epic mickey’s cutscenes created concept art and a fully animated trailer to sell the idea or inspector directly oversaw it and reportedly tried to pitch it to disney to no avail near the end of mickey one we were told like you know hey they want to grow and they want to expand and look at doing more things shortly after mickey two started i think that kind of that wind shifted they just wanted us to concentrate on mickey two and didn’t know what they wanted to do at junction point so the things that we had kind of pitched and started working on demos for just kind of folded and we moved the team back on to all mickey two if it wasn’t already apparent that disney was losing faith in console game development john peasants made that clear to warren specter on day one according to spectre he came right out and told me he didn’t think people who were making console games were going to have jobs much longer not that he was going to fire us but console games and pc games were not the future he told me that the day i met him and so production kicked off on epic mickey 2 the power of two a game attempting to address the various criticisms fans made of the original title while also juggling ambitions of its own two-player co-op was added for instance which soon became a major focus for the developers according to warren spector he had mapped out what an epic mickey 2 would entail as far back as 2005 during pre-production on the original in a 2012 interview with mcv he revealed that it was intended to be the second chapter in a four game series before the first epic mechy i actually had a four game storyline arc and i had at least three games worth of game innovation to introduce so the idea of two player co-op and songs in the second game was something i knew i wanted to do before i started the first much like its predecessor plans for epic mickey 2 evolved considerably over time this apparently included major reworkings of its story months into development at one point big bad pete was planned to be one of the game’s main villains a spy working for the mark doctor when the mad doctor’s blot works creations inadvertently kill one of pete’s allies prescott the gremlin pete betrays him and reveals the maddox secret plan to mickey and oswalt the doctor’s grand scheme too was once completely different from how it is in the final story in the finished epic mickey 2 game it is revealed that he has been broadcasting himself in a tv show to the cartoon world where mickey is from in order to regain his popularity this he believes along with siphoning power from wasteland’s guardians will allow him to leave wasteland behind but not before obliterating it and its inhabitants as he ascends mickey and oz will defeat him and the player must choose whether to spare or destroy him in the original plot the mad doctor would have lured mickey back to wasteland before eventually stealing his heart and using it energy to revive the blot from the first game mickey agrees with oswald to destroy his heart by overloading it with thinner which eradicates the blot and the mud doctor with it without a heart mickey is unable to return home although yen sid is touched by mickey and oswald’s sacrifices for wasteland and restores both of their hearts mickey returns to the cartoon world while oswald agrees to remain in wasteland with his local tenzio this older outline for the story was leaked online four months before launch when someone with connections to the development began editing the game’s wikipedia page moderators quickly removed the improvement information and it flew largely under the radar but i was able to verify its authenticity with former junction point staff chase jones claims that it was reworked mainly because the idea of the mad doctor and the blot stealing mickey’s heart was deemed too similar to the first game big bad pete’s involvement was downplayed in the final game but was still a part of the story says chase junction point was laying the groundwork for the pizza wastelands taking center stage as villains in a potential epic mickey 3. in a post-credits sequence from epic mickey 2 the pizz gathered to plot their next move with echidna prescott who did survive contrary to the original treatment for some fans of epic mickey the plot’s mid-development rewrites was something they had long suspected prior to these revelations as criticisms of unresolved storylines and unusual writing choices were common a year after epic mickey 2 released a curious fan going under the alias mcbazel rocks made contact with adam fenton the game’s lead concept artist in an email fenton made a series of damning allegations about the project’s development in the original we were going to have a much bigger emotional plotline pete was going to have been helping out the mad doctor acting as a spy on mickey and oswald the blot works were going to be the result of a failed experiment by the mad doctor and there was going to be this huge thing about the mad doctor’s siding review halfway through to help stop them as for prescott as my concept art shows he was going to play a much bigger role i think one early script actually had him falling to his death fenton continued claiming that the mad doctor’s plan of broadcasting himself to the cartoon world was something improvised mid-development forget all the stuff about a tv show i can tell you truthfully that was a creative decision on the part of warren spector once he realized we couldn’t finish the game in time i remember this huge huller blue when he first announced that it was crazy concept art redesigns voice re-recordings it was one messy operation by the end and that’s why and i can say this now that i’ve been sacked the game is the sloppy nonsensical mess that it is i can honestly tell you that you were gypped out of what really looked like it was turning out to be an epic adventure in his various public posts about the project fenton has consistently pointed to time constraints having a major negative impact on its quality and there is some evidence to support these claims whereas epic mickey was gradually developed over a course of seven years its sequel was given only two and was once intended to receive even less it was delayed for several months to a november 2012 release after an initial deadline of autumn then there are other factors to consider extensive rewrites have been confirmed by other former members of disney and a vast amount of material has been recovered from development showing no shortage of cuts and changes entire worlds were dropped from the final game including nottingham from disney’s robin hood one piece of concept dart depicts the main characters raiding the castle of nottingham by moonlight with mickey dressed up as the titular hero in another the gang flee from prince john’s forces with minnie mouse in tow a character that isn’t present in the final game at all this area got as far as having modelling work done for its which included the prince’s rhino guards another area cut during development would have been based around the jungle book artwork made fridge shows oswald ortenzia mickey and minnie fighting alongside the cast of the movie a model of phil from hercules has also been recovered by the epic mickey wikia community revealing another property once under consideration that didn’t make it in the most complete scrap stage was discovered in 2020 when twitter user at gaming legend 64 released a series of epic mickey 2 prototypes online among them was a 2d level based around the infamous pink elephant sequence from dumbo a hallucination the title character experiences after inadvertently consuming champagne the levels survived for most of the game’s development and was largely completed the player must run across rows of marching elephants scaling trunks and sliding down oversized musical instruments according to chase jones the level was dropped over concerns that its connection to alcohol consumption would risk raising the game’s age rating on the other hand not all of epic mickey 2’s developers are in agreement with the narrative presented by its detractors some argue that many of these alterations were a natural result of the collaborative creative process standard to game development one source for example claimed that the story being redone was in part to leave room for future games in the series this is backed up by remarks chase jones made in march 2020 when he commented on an old version of the plot saying that looks close to one of the versions discussed when it was going to be stand alone and not thinking about having a third game dlc etc we had to open the story line up to present more opportunities and possibilities as epic mickey 2 the power of 2 entered its last year of development the company decided to resume pushing for more games in the series while the majority of junction point was busy with the sequel some staff were assigned to work once more on pitches for epic mickey spin-offs after a brief hiatus progress on epic dawns was inching forward again busy with epic mickey for the time being junction point execs found a partner studio to develop it with them in january 2012. this was uk-based blitz games which was one of a number of external studios doing additional work for epic mickey 2 at the time through this close collaboration the two companies conceptualized the world of donald duck in great detail as opposed to the tv show they later inspired epic duld was primarily drawing upon the karl box comic books about the adventures of donald and his family the project even acquired the services of patrick block a disney comics artist who had previously illustrated the ducks in print he was brought on board to paint concept art in the style of the classic bark stories block’s art captured donald and co in all manner of outlandish situations in one example the family visit an antique shop and come across a model of a vintage house the miniature turns out to be haunted when a ghostly being reaches out and pulls scrooge mcduck inside using shrinking technology developed by gyro gearloose don shrinks down to enter the model home and rescue him he eventually finds mcduck in the clutches of an elderly woman’s ghost who has fallen in love with him donald would have to figure out a way to save his uncle from this love struck spirit in some scenarios donald would have traveled through time using gyro’s time tub for instance at least one mission would have involved donald working to expand scrooge’s private collection of wild animals he travels back in time to the old west hoping to procure a rare american bison prior to the species nearly being driven to extinction donald’s efforts go unappreciated by both the bison which charge after him and the beagle boys of the past to tie him to a stick and fire him out of a cannon a number of stories laid out involved the ducks defending scrooge’s money bin when the beagle boys plot to steal plutonium from duckberg’s nuclear plant their schemes go awry as the radiation transforms them into coin eating zombies dald would have to guard scrooge’s ample private fortune against the hungry hordes although the game’s focus wasn’t donald some adventures would have also featured mickey one drafted out involved the two visiting a haunted carnival and meeting its ghostly inhabitants in another mickey donald and his nephews end up piloting a spacecraft taking part in an epic dogfight against aliens in outer space goofy was being considered for an appearance too including his alter ego supergoof these extensive explorations by blitz and junction points were made in an attempt to sell disney on funding the production of a full game blitz themselves produced a prototype demo for the project in may 2012 to demonstrate the look and feel they were aiming for which ran on their proprietary blitz tech engine it involved dald exploring ancient ruins in a scene inspired by the karl bark story lost in the andes epic dawn was far from the only spin-off being pitched during the making of epic mickey 2 junction point was developing a new area of wasteland based off disneyland’s autopia attraction the local featured an unlockable race course which mickey and oswalt can drive along according to chase jones junction point’s prototypes for this section were the proving grounds for another brand new game they began planning a cart racing spin-off named epic disney racers yeah i mean you know i think after we did some of the prototypes with what became autotopia in epic mickey 2 we knew that we could do something like that pretty easy and i mean disney has a big ip and you know it’s still family-friendly type of game so basically taking the characters from that universe and and spinning them off in a way that you know i mean similar to what mario kart did to mario right the title was planned to feature a vast array of characters from across both wasteland and the cartoon world these included mickey minnie and oswald as well as cruella deville and scrooge mcduck it appears this wasn’t the only leaf junction point was taking out of nintendo’s book their artists had also started drawing concepts for a game that pitted disney’s heroes and villains against one another in an olympic setting not dissimilar to mario and sonic at the olympic games maleficent captain hook and hercules were among those featured on top of all of this junction point had been steadily laying the groundwork for epic mickey 3. throughout the development of epic mickey 2 plans for the project were etched out among a small group at the company it was said to be the most ambitious game yet with a brand new main setting the cartoon world mickey and co would have left wasteland exploring a vast shared world of disney’s most fondly remembered creations the themes of abandonment and being forgotten from the first two games weren’t going away however a large part of the game would have hinged upon the members of wasteland confronting their more popular counterparts who would replace them in the spotlight such as the league of pete’s coming face-to-face with more renowned disney villains i had worked on the story for the trilogy and then some so i know what three should have been yeah mickey too and i think this is why like it didn’t really sit well well one of the many reasons but i think it didn’t sit well with some people because we opened up a lot of things that we were going to explore that we never got to close off we set up people going into the cartoon world right and exploring the projectors and mirrors being able to move uh characters between you know different parts of of the world uh whether that be like wasteland or the cartoon world or so on and so forth and so um and then what does that look like when you have the power struggles of forgotten villains start to to meet up with the villains who think they’re in power so exploring those themes and the characters who think they’re heroes versus the old heroes coming back when those worlds collide like what does that actually look like when you start thinking about like donald and goofy and everybody we made animatronic what would that look like when donald comes against himself you know animatronic version looking at because wasteland was formed around forgotten disney things if we were starting to explore unforgotten things then the number of characters that that opened up to us was just astounding we talk about new characters i guess it was it’s just more of like being able to dig in to like actual captain hook in peter pan and maleficent in jafar like we had such a huge canon to work with kind of going back to that feeling of mickey one right where you had oswald who felt like he was forgotten and left aside you know take that to a bigger scale right the whole the old cartoons who were forgotten are finally able to confront the people and the things that kind of took over where they should be the game essentially existed as a set of ideas in concept art but some specifics were being discussed such as the prospect of oswald’s love interest or tenzia becoming playable one piece of concept art imagined her as a brawler type character with limbs that could transform into stone she could also use her skirt as a parachute allowing her to control her descent and float downwards gracefully the mod doctor would have made his reappearance continuing to belt out musical numbers throughout the story one idea discussed was him and others opening a portal between wasteland and the cartoon world that characters could pass between in addition to introducing an entirely new realm of characters epic mickey 3 was planning to shake things up for the series on a design level too junction point was hoping to move beyond the previous setup of having small segmented areas and was looking to adopt a more open sandbox for its environments they were looking to leverage the power of next generation consoles to achieve this you know we could have done more levels but i don’t it wouldn’t have gotten across the field that we wanted it to be when you start to mix those worlds and kind of having the player jump between them plus warren you know and myself included it’s like doing immersive sims you know you don’t want to do the linear style uncharted type story you want a little bit more of a sandbox feel that the systems get the player the stories that they want out of them so we pushed the wii i think as far as we could at the time we were really excited because of the rumors at the time it was the rumors of the ps4 and the xbox one and what we would be able to do with new technology if we were starting the engine with those in mind was going to be awesome so yeah i mean we’re taking some of those themes plus the stuff that we set up for the characters the mad doctor prescott the pete’s how that was all going to come together oswald possibly coming back to the cartoon world and then how do we get a little bit more open exploratory and more systematic uh sandboxy as opposed to being you know small level driven but as 2012 went on and epic mickey 2’s launch date drew closer it was becoming increasingly apparent for junction point that it might well be the final entry in the series disney never officially greenlits any of their additional projects and when epic mickey 2 went gold in november 2012 the entirety of junction point staff was placed on an extended enforced vacation without explanation some staff say that they expected to return in the new year to continue their work in reality though disney was in the process of reconsidering their future in the game publishing business entirely disney interactive had found limited financial success developing their own games internally leading to the decision that they would start moving away from it after weeks of mixed messaging junction points employees learned the truth in january 2013. just two games after buying them out later disney was putting an end to junction point the studio was shut down along with all of its various projects leaving over 100 people out of work their ambitious plans for an expanded epic mickey universe would go unrealized no duct tales game no sport spin-offs and the main series once envisioned as a potential tetralogy by warren spector would never be completed media coverage of the event widely pinned the blame on epic mickey 2 for this outcome following mixed reviews the game bombed at retail in late 2012 selling 270 000 units in its first months on the north american market across all platforms the first game despite releasing on only one system moved 1.3 million copies within a comparable time frame in the same region former junction point workers say that this was a misconception however and that disney made the decision before sales data could be taken into account no i mean because the studio closed down right as mickey 2 was launching so like you didn’t have enough time to even think about revenue so to say that mickey two closed down junction point i think is is wrong disney was basically moving back to you know more ip licensing than actually having their own studios out there i mean they just stopped doing owning internal studios and figured it was it’s just more profitable to not have that overhead and to to license your ip out as opposed to to doing it yourself so again i mean i think that’s management shift when i joined junction point disney was you know disney interactive was run by i think it was graham hopper who had a very big vision for what they wanted to be and then as that got handed off to different people after graham left you know and you started looking at the bottom line they just didn’t want to spend the money on on that arm of the business the way that they needed to because in order to set yourself up that way sometimes you need to you need to lose a little in order to build up that you know that arm oh and they did i mean they went through a bunch of different studios it wasn’t just avalanche and us if you if you dig into it like there was there were a number of other studios working on things for disney at the time and we luckily were able to get our products out so people could enjoy them but yeah i don’t think it was about the performance of the games because even with mickey 2 you can see a difference in the support for it and disney was just pulling back on all fronts as far as supporting supporting their studios i mean if you look at the marketing push that was done for mickey one versus what was done for mickey too like it’s night and day difference not saying the second game was as brilliant as the first one even though it has a special place in my heart but you know a product can sexy or fail and it’s on its support as well regardless of how good it is as the studio shutdown was confirmed warren spector took to facebook to say his goodbyes to the company and its employees rarely have i worked with a team more dedicated or harder working never have i been a part of a game of anything really that touched people at as deep or personal a level as the epic mickey games that’s priceless i said to myself as junction point embarked on the epic mickey journey that worst case would be a footnote in disney history looking back on it i think we did far better than that with mickey mouse as our hero we introduced a mainstream audience to some cool core game concepts and most especially we restored oswald the lucky rabbit to a place of prominence we did that junction point the subsidiary’s closure and the demise of the epic mickey series was in many ways a bellwether for the end of disney internally developing its own games and other similar companies going out of business within months of epic dahld being shot down by disney blitz games who had hoped to develop it was forced to close its doors for good less than one year later disney interactive laid off over 700 workers across its various branches and in 2016 the company was shut down for good as the disney infinity series fizzled out thank you so much for watching please don’t forget to subscribe for more videos just like this one for more content from me you can support the show at patreon.com liam robertson just like these kind people did you
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Disney\'s Epic Mickey Series & Its Many Cancelled Games - Game History Secrets

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