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Disney takes the axe to Epic Mickey studio

Disney Interactive Studios today confirmed that it has laid off an undisclosed number of its Junction Point studio staff. The news comes days after Propaganda Games met a similar fate, and casts a dark shadow on the future of the Epic Mickey franchise.

Hints that the staff at Junction Point were in trouble cropped up last night when industry colleagues leaked the news via online condolences. One tweet from a Warner Brothers Games' artist, Mike Jungbluth, read, “I hope my homies at Junction Point are alright. Hearing about layoffs there makes me very sad indeed.”

There's no word yet on just how many members of Junction Point's staff will feel the sting of Disney's cuts, but statements on behalf of Disney higher-ups confirm that today's lay-offs are part and parcel of the mega-publisher's ongoing push into the mobile and digital download scene.

In a typically vague statement issued to Variety, Disney confirmed: "As part of setting a strategic direction for future success in the digital media space, the Disney Interactive Media Group today began a restructuring process."

Junction Point's Epic Mickey was met with critical love but fell apparently below Disney's financial expectations, despite selling over 1.3 million copies in the US. Studio head Warren Spector had been talking sequels ever since Epic Mickey's release, but we don't know how many staffers have been cut - should we temper our hopes of a bona fide console follow-up?

We send our best hopes and wishes to everyone presently and formerly at Junction Point, and Disney Interactive at large.

When asked to comment, resident Disney fanboy Chris Antista could only muster the following emoticon: :(

[Source: Variety, CNBC]

Jan 25, 2011

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20 comments

  • Crimmy - January 26, 2011 5:08 a.m.

    This is the dark moment where Chris falls into depression and starts doing bad things and everyone helps him go back to normal but then he starts doing it again but in secret.
  • PlainLikeVanilla - January 25, 2011 11:09 p.m.

    And Chris Antista wept for days.
  • MonocledYaoGuai - January 25, 2011 10:29 p.m.

    That's very disappointing... I loved Epic Mickey. It seems to have sold well too...
  • icedoesnthelp - January 25, 2011 9:33 p.m.

    Also, its sold about 1.7 million now.
  • BadWobot - January 25, 2011 9:20 p.m.

    Gosh, I wish I "only" sold 1.3 million copies of... anything, really. WTF, Disney?
  • icedoesnthelp - January 25, 2011 9:20 p.m.

    well this is just upsetting news isn't it. I don't understand the layoffs, the game sold pretty damn well.
  • ViolentLee - January 25, 2011 8:57 p.m.

    I just hate hearing about creative people being fired so corporations can put up better numbers to appease rich stockholders. It's one of the things I hate most about corporate society.
  • hllywd212 - January 25, 2011 8:55 p.m.

    Having never played the game I can't honestly say that a gamepad is just as good as motion control. However, for a game like this I can't see how motion control is far superior to a game pad. Okami kicked ass and motion control was a developers dream at the time. They easily could have mapped the controls to a gamepad, but they were probably held back by a contract with Nintendo.
  • Cyberninja - January 25, 2011 8:45 p.m.

    *1.3million copies
  • Cyberninja - January 25, 2011 8:45 p.m.

    the game still sold 1.3 copies which is good so i dont see how it could make a difference on the ps3 or xbox 360 when the consoles didnt have the right controls for the game at the time of the game being made.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - January 25, 2011 8:43 p.m.

    FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU-
  • FreddiexKruegerxinxmyxWetxDreams - January 25, 2011 8:32 p.m.

    That sucks
  • KuwaSanjuro - January 25, 2011 8:30 p.m.

    Antista's gonna be mad, and rightly so.
  • MattoMcFly - January 25, 2011 8:24 p.m.

    Epic Disney on the iPad would be the most natural fit, I think. Not that this is going to happen at all, but I can just imagine how the painting dynamics would feel much more natural on a touch screen, as they did on the Wii. Also, with some Junction Pointers still around, maybe they'll bring this for PS Move and Kinect? Pretty please??
  • Tobio - January 25, 2011 8:24 p.m.

    Disney used to be more in my eyes than a bunch of greedy money-whores... Of course, Pixar is still awesome, but when things like this happen and see Disney Channel popping up (Phineas and Ferb is ok, btw)... :(
  • hllywd212 - January 25, 2011 8:12 p.m.

    @ n00b It has definitely been a boon to various parts of the industry, but it is also a shame that good developing studios are being cut back to focus more on mobile games. I personally would rather play epic mickey on a big console than on a phone. It just seems that the release on the Wii only has hindered the sale of this title more than the quality of the game has. Its a shame really.
  • n00b - January 25, 2011 7:52 p.m.

    at the looks of it, if there ever is another epic Micky it will be on the iphone. is it just me or has the mobile market been a cures and blessing to game development?
  • hllywd212 - January 25, 2011 7:30 p.m.

    @ ensabahnur. I have to agree, if it was a multi platform release i would have purchased it.
  • ensabahnur - January 25, 2011 7:28 p.m.

    I know this sucks but i cant help but think what would have happened if it was released on PS3 and 360.
  • mockraven - January 25, 2011 7:24 p.m.

    That's a bit heart breaking. I rather liked Epic Mickey.

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