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Junction Point

Game Info
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

Wii | Disney Interactive Studios / Junction Point | 1-2 Players (co-operative play) | Coming Soon


Interview
29th May 2012; By KnucklesSonic8

Ever wield a paintbrush before? If so, you already have something in common with Mickey Mouse as he makes an awaited return in Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two. This time, though, the hero plans to share the glory for his artistic saving abilities. With a new partner now taking center stage, the sequel promises to have a strong co-operative component to drive players forward. Here to talk about these and other ambitions, Paul Weaver from Junction Point has agreed to share some details on the creative project still to come. 


Wiiloveit: Thanks so much for doing this interview with us. Would you be so kind as to introduce yourself to our readers?

Paul: No problem at all! My name is Paul Weaver and I'm the Studio Director here at Junction Point.

Thank you. So, in what ways would you say the original title really delivered on its creative vision, and how do you plan on latching onto that in the development of the sequel?

Disney Epic Mickey was an incredibly bold venture. From creating a world filled with forgotten and retired characters and attractions from over eighty years of Disney history, to making Mickey a video game superhero, to telling a story and allowing the players to influence it as they adventure through the game, we covered a lot the first time around! We've taken those aspects from the first game and gone another step further in Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two; we're making Oswald a fully playable character with the intent of making him a video game hero too and our love of Disney has influenced us to include a musical element that will help tell the game story for players.

Walk us through some of the major changes players can look forward to in this sequel. Which area is going to see the most improvement?

There are few key areas that we definitely wanted to improve upon this time around. Firstly, the in-game camera was a tremendous challenge on the first game as we tried to design a system that could cope with platforming and combat and, oh yes, the ability for the player to remove the floor and walls in the world dynamically! Since the inception of Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, we've had a dedicated team working on the camera and have made significant strides in making it far more robust and intuitive for players.

The sequel has been described as a "musical comedy" which almost instantly positions it as a less darker experience than the first entry. How will this play out in terms of gameplay progression? Will characters break out in song at logical points and will this also come across in more subtle ways?


When we sat around the table at the beginning of the project, we looked at how we could make Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two an even more authentic Disney experience. From Snow White to Beauty and the Beast to Tangled, music has been an integral part of storytelling for Disney. The added challenge for us was that we focus on the concept of "Playstyle Matters", so your actions in the game determine the outcome of the story including the music that you experience.

It appears that Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two will take greater leaps in allowing players to have more creative control over environmental changes. In line with this, what sorts of secrets will be in store and how will this pave the way for greater replay value?

We've definitely increased the sense of exploration in the world this time around and because of the addition of Oswald, it will be up to players to take a closer look at the game world. For example, a painted wall high up out of Mickey's reach might be eraseable and with a co-op toss from Oswald, Mickey will be able to reach the hidden objects. The whole world is full of opportunities to explore and players can revisit the different areas in the game, so there's a huge amount of replayability for players to really find everything.

How will the usage of puzzles in the sequel push beyond what was originally present in Disney Epic Mickey?


Again, the co-op aspect of Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two makes a big difference this time. Oswald is always with you, either as an AI character who follows you and uses his abilities or as a playable second character. Now there are even more ways to solve problems and defeat enemies (including bosses), so it is up to the player to decide how he will tackle these problems and whether he will utilize Oswald's help.

We know Oswald will have a bigger role in the story, but what other cameos can we expect this time around?

Beloved characters from Disney Epic Mickey return in the sequel, as could be expected, but I think the big difference for the player is that this time every character has a voice. It's truly a magical experience to fondly recall what is was like in the first game to read the lines of dialog and imagine the characters speaking to now in Disney Epic Mickey 2 where all the characters speak and are voiced by authentic Disney character voices. We even got to assist in casting the voices for characters like Oswald who have never spoken before in Disney history until this game...how cool is that? :)

Gleaning from common complaints of recent co-op ventures, in what ways will The Power of Two rightly be able to quantify its efforts in the co-operative department?

Some co-op games simply give players an additional character that may have exactly the same moves and abilities as the main character and while it's fun, it doesn't actually differentiate the gameplay experience. In Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, we've created a second playable character that has abilities that are both contrasting and complementary. For instance, Mickey has a double jump which allows him to jump higher than Oswald, while Oswald has his helicopter ear spin which allows him to glide further than Mickey. A complementary would be that the player can also team up with Oswald who will jump up into the air, allowing Mickey to jump up and grab his feet allowing both of them to fly further together making co-operative play meaningful in this game.

With characters like Frogger starting to decrease in popularity and support, do you feel it's time for Mickey and/or Oswald to join the ranks of high-profile gaming icons?

Mickey has been appearing in video games since 1981 on one of Nintendo's earliest platforms, the Game and Watch. We're proud to be part of his video game heritage that includes Castle of Illusion, Mickey Mania, Kingdom Hearts and of course Disney Epic Mickey and we hope that we can make this a great first start for Oswald!

Do you feel that the overall level of creativity explored in the sequel will prove to be inspiring, not only for kids, but also for those young at heart?

We are tremendously proud of the public reaction to Disney Epic Mickey. Players of all ages from 8 to 80 have written to us, spoken to us at events and otherwise left us inspiring messages about how much they enjoyed their first adventures in Wasteland. We're definitely making another game that we want everyone in the family to enjoy -- the most important thing is family!

With the strength of the Disney brand already proving to be a driving force towards success with the first title, does the team feel even more pressure now that it's their second go at this?

We've assembled a fantastic team here at Junction Point who have all risen to the challenge of creating a game that will be as exciting and enjoyable as the first. We're a team that is willing to take risks and stretch itself in making something new and different; we've all been given a tremendous opportunity in working with Mickey and our only pressure is to not let him down.

And finally, will the sequel further cement a sort of legacy that goes deeper than the role model Mickey serves for children?

I think Mickey serves as a role model for all of us; he's noble, kind, generous (sometimes mischievous), looks out for his friends and family and ultimately does the right thing. Seems like someone worth aspiring to be like if you ask me. :)



Thanks again to Paul Weaver for taking the time out to do this interview with us! We wish Junction Point all the best with the rest of the game's development, and surely with all these details and promising specs, we're more excited than ever to get our hands on Disney Epic Mickey 2. Hopefully the feeling is mutual.

To learn more about Junction Point, head over to their website.


Interview by KnucklesSonic8

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