When you picture Disney, you might see a field of blooming flowers, an air of happiness and magic surrounding it. Or perhaps the image of a majestic castle with a beautiful, sweet maiden living inside, waiting for love to come comes to mind. Whatever the average person associates with the Disney brand, it is usually a happy one, one where evil never survives for long, or at least seldom happens. And what of the mascot, one Mickey Mouse? It’s hard to picture Mickey as being anything but relentlessly kind and squeaky clean, a behavior he has displayed for generations of fans.
However, this happy-go-lucky Mickey Mouse image is about to change, thanks to Warren Spector. Spector, working along with Junction Point Studios, is putting together a game called Epic Mickey, which is also referred to as Junction Point Studios Project #2 or Super Secret Warren Spector Game Project. But why is this happening? As it turns out, although Disney has worked hard to make Mickey what he is, struggling to prevent even the most minor of scandals and anything that might tarnish his image, they have decided to change some things about the rodent in the coming decade. A reboot, if you will, perhaps to appeal to today’s high-tech generation. It’s treacherous waters, but with the proper planning it just might work.
Part of this re-imagining involves Epic Mickey, taking the Disney as the world has known it and bringing it to another level. Though originally planned to be released on the XBOX 360, computer and Playstation 3, it’s now exclusively for the Nintendo Wii.
But don’t get them wrong. Just because the Disney icon is being changed, it does not mean that he is to become evil and go around assassinating creatures big and small. In Epic Mickey, you will get to see a more mischievous and potentially selfish mouse, but he won’t necessarily be unrecognizable. And with the story of the game, could you really blame him?
The story of the game begins when Yen Sid, a sorcerer, creates a world referred to as “Cartoon Wasteland,” place where the retired and forgotten Disney characters live. You may also know Yen Sid from the short Sorcerer’s Apprentice in the older version of Fantasia. One of the inhabitants of this cartoon world is Oswald, the first character Walt Disney ever drew in 1927. Bitter over his half-brother’s fame and with many years in which to stew over it, they are given a chance to meet when Mickey accidentally spills paint thinner on “Cartoon Wasteland” and is pulled inside.
The game is set to be released in late 2010.
Here is some of the concept art that was released at the start of the project:
Here is a recent screenshots. Not quite as dark as the original ideas, but still very “un-Mickey” like.
Watch Epic Mickey creator introduce his work: