For The Love Of Mickey -- Warren Spector Talks About Disney Epic Mickey And The Passion Behind It


Posted October 2, 2012 - By Rob Manuel

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Disney Epic Mickey 2

Not everyone is lucky enough to find their passion; fewer still never get a chance to turn that passion into a career. Passion is that thing that keeps you from hitting the snooze bar and keeps you up to all hours of the night. It feeds you when you forget to eat and keeps you going when all else is lost. And when Warren Spector, the creator of such classics as System Shock and Deus Ex, got a chance to work with his passion, a little cartoon character by the name of Mickey Mouse, he did what anyone would do in his situation.

He turned it down.

As you may have guessed by now, this tale has a happy ending since we’re only weeks away from the release of Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. But as Warren Spector described to me, he hesitated first one the deal since he “didn’t want to make a kid’s game.” Taking the lessons learned from Deus Ex as well as many of his previous games, Warren’s ideas for a Mickey game mixed the dystopian future worlds and morality systems along with the early beginnings of Mickey Mouse where there was mischief, adventure, and when the cartoon appeals more towards adults. Warren describes this as a “low pressure, high fun history lesson.”

Epic Mickey Looking More Real, More Amazing

When he presented his ideas to the Disney board, the members seemed more interested in texting rather than his vision for Mickey. He was crestfallen. But as it turned out, only the opposite was true. The executives were actually texting each other at the table about how much they loved the idea. As you already know, Warren turned them down the first time, thinking that they only wanted a kid’s game rather than his idea. Warren actually said no a second time as well since Disney wanted his company, Ion Storm, as a part of the deal. After a year or so, Disney returned to Warren and asked again since they couldn’t find anyone else who could make the game he wanted.

“Mickey Mouse is the only thing relevant after 84 years.” Warren doesn’t just know Mickey Mouse but studies every frame and nuance of the character. Talk to him for any length of time about it and you’ll see his eyes light up as he goes into the history and cultural importance of Disney.

In many ways, the Disney Epic Mickey series is Warren’s love letter to Disney. When describing the plot of the first game, Warren calls it “biblical” quite often. It’s a story about family, about two brothers who lost their way. The older brother, Oswald, becomes the forgotten one as Mickey, the younger brother, steals the spotlight. They find each other. They fight. And after a long and amazing adventure, become a family again. It’s a rather adult story for a character many see as just a cartoon. But for a man with a passion for telling stories and Mickey Mouse, the two were a perfect fit.

Disney Epic Mickey 2

But it has to be hard to take on something you’re so passionate about as well as something others can be as easily passionate about. “Mickey doesn’t belong to me,” stated Warren. “He doesn’t even belong to Disney. Mickey belongs to everyone.” He recalls getting emails from people when he first started Epic Mickey asking him to “don’t mess with my childhood.” One of the keys to Mickey’s longevity is the fact that Disney never remakes him, only evolves.

Warren points out that you often see the image of modern Mickey painting in the older model. The idea of Mickey is allowed to change over time and adjust to the medium you put him in. The Mickey standing at the park taking pictures with people is different than the one you see in the movies which is a different Mickey than the one in the games. They’re all Mickey, only different facets of the same character.

When Warren Spector ever gets a chance to write his biography, which he’s already titled “Gandhi, Groucho, And Me” since they all share the same birthday, you better believe that there’s going to be at least one chapter dedicated to the mouse that stole his heart.

Tune in tonight for X-Play at 6:30/5:30 C to check out some exclusive content for Disney Epic Mickey 2 and hear more about the game from the man behind the digital mouse, Warren Spector.

For The Love Of Mickey -- Warren Spector Talks About Disney Epic Mickey And The Passion Behind It


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