Warren Spector is "Sad But Excited For the Future"

Warren Spector is "Sad But Excited For the Future"

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The man behind the Epic Mickey games says he's grateful for the opportunity to be a part of Disney history.

Disney confirmed the closure of Epic Mickey developer Junction Point Studios yesterday, bringing an end to Warren Spector's Mickey Mouse adventure. But in a message posted on his Facebook page, Spector expressed nothing but gratitude for what he called Junction Point's "good eight year run."

"I got to work with some amazing people on some amazing projects. I've had some of the most magical times of my life, fulfilling several life-long dreams. I've gotten to know Disney fans and Disney cast members, gotten hands on with Disney's history, walked where Walt walked... 'Magical' really is the only word," he wrote.

"Whatever you think of me, or Junction Point, or Disney or the Disney Epic Mickey games - yes, I know we polarized people! - I'll always look back on the last eight years with nothing but pride," he continued. "Rarely have I worked with a team more dedicated or harder working. Never have I been 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."

Junction Point's fate was sealed by sub-par sales of Epic Mickey 2, which the NPD Group now says sold 529,000 units in November and December 2012 across all platforms. That's a dramatic improvement over the initial report of 270,000 units but still far short of anything resembling a hit. The original Epic Mickey, a Wii exclusive, managed 1.3 million unit sales over the same period in 2010.

"I said to myself as Junction Point embarked on the Epic Mickey journey that, worst case, we'd be 'a footnote in Disney history.' Looking back on it, I think we did far better than that," he wrote. "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."

Spector also noted that he hasn't yet decided what he'll get up to next, and asked journalists to please not bug him about it.

Source: Facebook

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System Shock, Thief, Deus Ex... this guy was a real visionary.

Good luck on his next project!

cool core game concepts? Like not being able to control the camera? Or misleading marketing?
And you really think with 500,000 sales you restored Oswald to prominence? If by that you mean people actually remember he exists, then yes.

Get OVER yourself man, and go back to making games that actually made a difference.

It's kind of a shame. You can tell he was really enthusiastic about the Epic Mickey games. Unfortunate that they turned out to be... not good. Well, Spector is a talented man and maybe now he's gonna work on somethin better.

DVS BSTrD:
cool core game concepts? Like not being able to control the camera? Or misleading marketing?
And you really think with 500,000 sales you restored Oswald to prominence? If by that you mean people actually remember he exists, then yes.

Get OVER yourself man, and go back to making games that actually made a difference.

Actually, the original Epic Mickey sold 2.84 million units, not a bad figure by any amount. Certainly comparable with other triple-A franchises out there, and better than a good many as well.

The franchise in total has sold over 4 million units according to VG Charts, when you include the 3DS game. That's not an insignificant number. And for many gamers, the games introduced them to a character they'd never heard of.

I don't get why you're giving him such a hard time for taking pride in one of the few things the games managed on a mainstream level. Sure, Epic Mickey isn't Deus Ex or Thief. So fucking what? The man's a huge Disney fan, as am I, and if he wanted to spend his time making Disney games, then fair play to him. I hope he moves on to bigger and better things, but I'm not going to begrudge him eight years of developing a game for a franchise he evidently has nothing but love for.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

DVS BSTrD:
cool core game concepts? Like not being able to control the camera? Or misleading marketing?
And you really think with 500,000 sales you restored Oswald to prominence? If by that you mean people actually remember he exists, then yes.

Get OVER yourself man, and go back to making games that actually made a difference.

Actually, the original Epic Mickey sold 2.84 million units, not a bad figure by any amount. Certainly comparable with other triple-A franchises out there, and better than a good many as well.

The franchise in total has sold over 4 million units according to VG Charts, when you include the 3DS game. That's not an insignificant number. And for many gamers, the games introduced them to a character they'd never heard of.

I don't get why you're giving him such a hard time for taking pride in one of the few things the games managed on a mainstream level. Sure, Epic Mickey isn't Deus Ex or Thief. So fucking what? The man's a huge Disney fan, as am I, and if he wanted to spend his time making Disney games, then fair play to him. I hope he moves on to bigger and better things, but I'm not going to begrudge him eight years of developing a game for a franchise he evidently has nothing but love for.

The sequel hasn't even sold a fifth of the units the original. What does that tell you about peoples expectations after playing the first game? The reason people bought it the first place is because it was about Mickey: Don't pretend that because he hasn't been in a movie since 2004 that everyone's forgotten who he is. The first game wasn't marketed to children and it was too safe to appeal to old fans. On top of that, it didn't play very well at all. I he doesn't get to gush over the "tremendous impact" Epic Mickey had when he's already made far better games that didn't need to base their appeal on nostalgia.

Spector's list of credit is mind-boggling and he may well still be a visionary, but unlike many I wouldn't want to see him retake the Deus Ex franchise. Play a role, maybe - consultant or something - but I love what Eidos did with Human Revolution and would hate to see someone messing with it.

The new Thief game, on the other hand...

DVS BSTrD:

]The sequel hasn't even sold a fifth of the units the original. What does that tell you about peoples expectations after playing the first game?

I think it says more about how stupid it was for Disney to release their game in the November window, alongside the likes of BLOPS II and AssCreed 3.

Ubisoft did exactly the same thing with Rayman Origins in 2011, releasing it alongside MW3, Battlefield 3 and AssCreed... Revelations? Anyway, when it came out, it initially sold something like 20,000 copies, or a similarly terrible number. Thing is, despite its poor sales performance, it's also one of the most acclaimed platformers of this, or indeed any other console generation. And having played it, I can confirm that the game is fan-fucking-tastic.

So yeah, don't expect the sales numbers to mean a whole lot for Epic Mickey 2. Not when Disney decided to throw it out in the single busiest, do-or-die period of the entire gaming calendar. Far better games have also died at retail for being put out in the same release period.

The reason people bought it the first place is because it was about Mickey: Don't pretend that because he hasn't been in a movie since 2004 that everyone's forgotten who he is.

But Warren wasn't talking about Mickey, and neither was I. He was talking about Oswald, a character who before this game was only known to hardcore Disney nerds and lovers of obscure movie trivia. He took the character, and made him a prominent element in a successful game. He can therefore claim credit for pushing the character back into the mainstream. I don't see why this logic is so objectionable to you.

The first game wasn't marketed to children and it was too safe to appeal to old fans.

If you're going to blame anyone for marketing, blame Disney. They published it, they're responsible for the marketing.

O

n top of that, it didn't play very well at all. I he doesn't get to gush over the "tremendous impact" Epic Mickey had when he's already made far better games that didn't need to base their appeal on nostalgia.

You know what other game didn't play very well?

Deus Ex.

Seriously. Take off the nostalgia glasses, and go look at the original game again. It's a clumsy mess of poor FPS controls, bad AI, and terrible graphics. The only reason it's the legendary game it is is due to the phenomenal writing, and the fact that it allows players to play in a variety of ways. But functionally, the mechanics of Deus Ex are serviceable at best, and substandard at worst.

If a game has design elements done well, then it's worth gushing over. Deus Ex had strong enough writing and role-playing potential that gamers still gush about it to this day. Epic Mickey, on the other hand, had incredibly strong art direction, and a really well done visual take on the Disney canon. In that regard, at least, it's well worth gushing over.

Stop treating games as if they can only ever be The Greatest Thing Ever, or A Total Utter Catastrophe. Even mediocre games usually have something they do right, and the Epic Mickey games, for all their flaws, had many things worth celebrating. Which is what Spector wants to do one last time before he moves on to other things.

 

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