Epic Mickey: Warren Spector's Epic Gamble

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"I hold up my own career as an example of the ability to do original work in someone else's sandbox"

Isn't that what we Fanfic authors been saying for years?

Well it good he has that mental focus, I only seen a few good Disney games over the years...That and I want to add something to my Wii collection.

Oh, did we ever get to see the Evil rat mickey? I want him as an Avatar.

Russ Pitts:

latenightapplepie:
Also, as an aside, I'd really like it if whoever gets the privilege of reviewing this game to do their best to avoid the temptation to use a certain meme to succinctly summarise the game. I know the temptation is so very strong.

What if we just call it "cinematic and compelling" then drop the microphone and walk offstage?

Ahhhh The IGN approach.

I just hope he gets to realise his vision without a big hand comming down from on high and going "It's good, but the focus group says it need 20% more whales, 30% more attitute and 10% less words"

We've already had a "Woah there!" from disney regarding 'mean' micky. I think allowing micky to go in radically different and interesting directions is the crux of making this game work. But the words "Radically different and interesting" and "Disney Interative" have been as far apart as sidney and pluto (by far my favorite planetiod) in pretty much it's entire lifetime.

i normally hate Disney,(for their monopolistic and horrid attitude towards anything that can make them money), but this game actually sounds like a lot of fun! not only that but its on actually on a console I own =D i think i'm going to get this game

I'm looking forward to this despite everything. Spector seems to be one of the few people who clearly see where video gaming has to go to.

Also, I'm really amused at all the people angry because Deus Ex was described as 'flawed'. Apparently a game remaining relevant ten years after it came out and becoming one of gaming's major landmarks isn't enough, people must never say anything bad about it, ever.

Well written and engaging essay firstly.
I think Warren Spector is one of the few games designers/writers/whatever in the business with his head screwed on. He has an impressive resume and when he talks, you can really hear his love for and his massive knowledge of gaming, from the actual game to the theological aspects of gaming as a whole.
I am personally really looking forward to Epic Mickey, I genuinely think it will live up to the hype and speculation.

Ne1butme:

theaceplaya:
This game is pretty much guaranteed to sell like gangbusters. Like Russ said, the Wii install base is ginormous, and you can't get more recognizable than Mickey Mouse. I know I'll be buying this game though, because it looks like it'll be fun. I know, fun in the game industry nowadays, what a laughable idea.

I don't know about 'gangbusters'. Remember, this is the Wii. If a game isn't made by Nintendo or isn't a collection of crappy mini-games, it usually doesn't sell. Look at the list of best selling 3rd party titles. Epic Micky might be too good to be on that list.

Actually, 3rd party titles do perform well. No more heroes, resident evil 4, rayman raving rabbids, sonic and the secret ring (I'll be damned), monster hunter tri, the conduit, red steel, rockband, etc.

warprincenataku:
It's going to be on the Wii, whatever story and gameplay there is will be marred by clunky controls.

Just being on the wii doesn't automatically guarantee clunky controls. Same with how just being on the ps3 doesn't automatically guarantee good games.

Russ Pitts:

snip

I feel I'm on pretty safe ground espousing this opinion considering it's shared by the creator ;)

Deeply flawed? Wow. There are many things i would sue that against. Final Fantasy 7 is "deeply flawed", GTA4 is "deeply flawed", Halo is "deeply flawed". I mean that phrase is basiclly saying that even to its core and most basic elements it is a horribly broken mess. That it is near impossible to find even a shred of something redeemable about it. It is a polite way of saying 'this game is crap but may have had good ideas'. Im kinda a little stunned that there are people who think that low of a game like Deus Ex, the game that I've yet to see a story told as effectively (well perhaps Baldur's Gate).

Also you found it complex? Huh, i kinda wished it wasnt so simplistic and I had hoped that IW and similiarly Human Revolution is more complicated.

Also X2: why does the creator of a product have anything to do with what the product itself is? I mean by that logic, the Star Wars prequels were not horrible.

kingcom:

Russ Pitts:

snip

I feel I'm on pretty safe ground espousing this opinion considering it's shared by the creator ;)

Deeply flawed? Wow. There are many things i would sue that against. Final Fantasy 7 is "deeply flawed", GTA4 is "deeply flawed", Halo is "deeply flawed". I mean that phrase is basiclly saying that even to its core and most basic elements it is a horribly broken mess. That it is near impossible to find even a shred of something redeemable about it. It is a polite way of saying 'this game is crap but may have had good ideas'. Im kinda a little stunned that there are people who think that low of a game like Deus Ex, the game that I've yet to see a story told as effectively (well perhaps Baldur's Gate).

Also you found it complex? Huh, i kinda wished it wasnt so simplistic and I had hoped that IW and similiarly Human Revolution is more complicated.

Also X2: why does the creator of a product have anything to do with what the product itself is? I mean by that logic, the Star Wars prequels were not horrible.

It's easy to dismiss the views of a creation you believe is flawed that the creator liked, but not so much the other way around. The point is moot here anyway, if Warren Spector believes Deus Ex is flawed then you can't expect any subsequent games he makes to be more of the same no matter how much you liked it.

I was surprised no one mentioned the similarity in theme to Kingdom Hearts!

But still...for a platformer about Mickey Mouse to not only not be dismissed out of hand but to be considered a potentially great game...I'm definitely intrigued :)

I may still get this game but I'm still mad that they took out mean mickey and replaced it for LED lights

This article depresses me. I've been playing Deus Ex again recently (admittedly with a couple mods) after buying it on Steam, and a decade later it's still just as good. I've been most impressed with the incredibly open level-design: I've been playing as a stealthy non-lethal character, knocking out less than a dozen enemies thus far, and there are still multiple solutions to each challenge. If Spector believes that manner of gameplay to be a mistake it is bad news for me.

I do, however, agree with him in regards to photo-realistic graphics and the detrimental effect they have on the cost and development of games.

Just a few notes;

"Mickey has the most powerful heart," says Spector, "and the villains of the piece are going to use his heart so they can get out."

Noooo Kingdom hearts influence at all, then? Here's an idea, why don't you have a level where all the ideas you 'borrowed' from Japanese people wander around? May I suggest a Lion King level where you meet Kimba the White Lion?

That one picture of the Steamboat Willie platforming section looks a LOT like the one from Mickey Mania, come to think about it.

I think Kingdom Hearts actually had a better-developed plot, and the addition of the conceit where you had to fight 13 thinly-disguised Disney corporate board members made it a lot cooler.

it's easier to identify with an icon than a photo-real character, easier for a developer to put, and a player to read, emotion into a simple rendering of an iconic face than into a stiff, wooden simulacrum of a man or woman.

The reason Mickey has the biggest heart is because everyone else throughout history has poured their heart into him by seeing his experiences. And very few of them are assholey. If you wanted a better character for the Warren Spector Good/Bad avatar, there's always Bugs Bunny. When's the last time HE was in a million-seller, huh?

I respect Mr. Spector's ambition. But if I had to think about the way Mickey was treated in Kingdom Hearts, it could only be described as "EXTREMELY deferential to a beloved character by making him an rarely appearing Elder Badass who says only the words you would completely expect him to say in any other of the zillions of works he's appeared in." There's a recognition among even the Japanese that Mickey Mouse is actually public property, and not even those whom Disney grants license to will change that.

In other words, not the empty vessel of a dude that appears on the front of Deus Ex's box. And this is a problem when you're putting him in a game like this, because not only does Mickey have a heart, he practically has a soul. Taking the less-than-moral path will just feel wrong, somehow. You'll constantly be asking: W.W.M.D.?

Save the games about amoral maneuvering for Organization XIII and other corporate climbers to play in their spare time. For I fear they might be the target audience.

What the hell are you talking about?

That Mickey is an icon and the Deus Ex guy is a cipher.

Attempting to create a world in which the player could potentially solve every problem in as many ways as he can possibly imagine creates similar problems.

Scribblenauts, anyone?

Ne1butme:

Russ Pitts:

Too much choice is a scary thing, capable of paralyzing people. (As I learned to my chagrin on Deus Ex!)

I see that as more a problem with the player than the game. But I'm not a game designer. I'm a player, so i'm going to criticize my own contribution to the experience before i would criticize the developer. Warren has the exact opposite reaction. He's never going to criticize the players.

It's an interesting duality. If i am face with a game with a lot of choices, and i choose the boring path, then that's my own fault. I see more choice as a virtue. If i can't step up and play an exciting game, then perhaps i'm not worthy of the experience.

This is not just a view shared by Warren Spector, though. He's actually referring to a phenomenon in psychology called "choice paralysis" wherein the more options you give a subject, the less likely they are to choose anything at all. It's not a matter of making good vs bad decisions or making fun vs boring decisions, it's about making decisions in general. You may indeed not be worthy of the experience, but if you had a thousand options and no clear answer...maybe nobody is. Maybe nobody should be.

Epoetker:
I think Kingdom Hearts actually had a better-developed plot

See, it's at this point where you lose just about every sane person ever.

It's an interesting duality. If i am face with a game with a lot of choices, and i choose the boring path, then that's my own fault.

How is it your own fault? Unless the choice was telegraphed as "THIS IS THE CHOICE YOU MUST TAKE TO GET THE BORING PATH" then it's not necessarily your fault.

I see more choice as a virtue. If i can't step up and play an exciting game, then perhaps i'm not worthy of the experience.

More like "If I can't step up and devote 100+ hours to finding all major endings to all the choices I can make in the game, then I'm not worthy of understanding the madness of King Spector."

This is not just a view shared by Warren Spector, though. He's actually referring to a phenomenon in psychology called "choice paralysis" wherein the more options you give a subject, the less likely they are to choose anything at all. It's not a matter of making good vs bad decisions or making fun vs boring decisions, it's about making decisions in general. You may indeed not be worthy of the experience, but if you had a thousand options and no clear answer...maybe nobody is. Maybe nobody should be.

Apropos. A whole lot of choices with only a few good end results is usually a product of a lazy(okay, more likely tired) author.

See, it's at this point where you lose just about every sane person ever.

And what exactly is WRONG with Kingdom Hearts 2? Sora would actually be a far better cipher for this type of game than Mickey is. Actually, Kingdom Hearts kind of showed the model: You're a cipher(Sora) fighting metaphors(the Heartless) with an essential heuristic(the KeyBlade.) And as long as your entire story is based on abstract concepts common to all stories you incorporate, you can make the concrete as over-the-top as you like. Which was why I found Kingdom Hearts 2 both more fun to play and less morally and intellectually silly than, say, God of War 2.

Commence apoplectic rage, nerd-boy.

This makes me want to play it even more!!! I am looking forward to this game!

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