Disney Epic Mickey is one of the year's biggest Wii exclusives, and developer Junction Point isn't messing around when they say epic - the game spans the entire Disney universe. We sat down with lead designer Chase Jones to discuss in-game choices, the history of Mickey Mouse and working with industry legend Warren Spector.
Q: Which is the more intimidating name to be working with - Warren Spector or Mickey Mouse?
Chase Jones: Probably working with both at the same time. Honestly, I think working with Mickey was the more intimidating out of the two, because he has been such an influential icon to many generations and comes with so many expectations - anybody in my position would be intimidated! Warren comes with his own reasons for intimidation, but I have to choose Mickey first.
Q: From what's been shown of the game so far, we've seen lots of ways for players to change the world around them. Can Mickey's actions have a more long-term effect on the game, to the extent that you'll see the results of decisions you made much earlier in the story?
CJ: Choices which players make while playing as Mickey affect the game in a variety of ways from immediate actions to long term results. When approaching the choice and consequence theme in this game, I looked at it from three different levels: personal choice, local choice and global choice.
Personal choice is how your choices as a player affect the character. Local choice is the choices that affect the immediate area around the player. Global choice is the ones that carry on from map to map, and change major points in the game. We used this in the game to allow the player to express themselves in their gameplay and then reflect it in the game as they progress. How the player chooses to get through encounters impacts which characters show up in various areas of the game, and results in big changes to the end game.
Q: What was the most challenging thing to get right, in terms of the overall design of the game?
CJ: Mickey was one of the most challenging things to get right. He has been so many things to many different audiences that all have a different expectation of who he should be. We had to make sure we were fulfilling the expectations of the fans, as well as making Mickey right for the game.
Q: In making this game you've rescued a number of Disney creations from obscurity - Oswald the Lucky Rabbit being the obvious example. Who's your favourite re-discovered character?
CJ: Oswald is obviously up there for me, but aside from him, I would have to go with the Mad Doctor. I like the villains, and he was perfect for our story and our game.