E3 2010: Epic Mickey - hand-on with a deep Disney dork

You know when Mickey Mouse became lame? The second he put a shirt on. Throwing clothes on the rat brought him to suburban life, followed by sterile corporate iconography, and on to his current relevance which doesn’t extend far beyond baby clothes. BUT IT WASN’T ALWAYS THAT WAY! Mickey Mouse began his career as a mischievous, kick-you-in-the-ass thrill seeker and nobody knows that better than Warren Spector, the visionary developer who brought us Deus Ex and Theif: Deadly Shadows.

Above: “Sit your ass down… Hu-Ha! 

It’s easy to forget Mickey was once a kinetic figure of mischief and mayhem; an uproariously hilarious cartoon star beloved to generations before Disney itself subdued those aspects of his personality as he became more of a company figurehead. But Spector remembers. And he’s ripped the people clothes off the rodent chucked him back into the role that made him famous. Today people know him as a character things happen to, but Epic Mickey’s bringing back the mouse that makes things happen.

At first glance, Epic  Mickey might deceive you into thinking that it’s a simple platforms. But pull back the layers, and you’ll see where Spector’s pedigree for immersion and diversion comes into play. Mickey has unwittingly brought strife to a forgotten land of ink and paint cast asides, and he’s given the tools to either restore or convert the environment to his own purposes.

Above: Fill it in...

Spraying paint can not only change enemy behavior, it also affects the world around you. You’ve got two meters: One of life-giving paint and another of weaponry paint thinner. Their quantities are limited and how you Mickey distributes them is up to you.

Above: Or blot it out.

Color in a bridge or platform to reach new heights, or cast paint thinner and remove aspects of the environment to reveal pathways and coveted items. Thing is, there’s morality system in place that subtly effects Mickey’s appearance and perception. Characters that populate the Cartoon Wasteland will react differently to Mickey depending on his actions.

It’s an RPG-quality that’ll sound familiar to those who’ve played Mass Effect, Infamous, etc., however, from my all too brief hand-on, the outcome was far less predictable. And that’s meant as the highest compliment. There doesn’t seem to be a clear cut right and wrong in Epic Mickey, yet there are viewable consequences to Mickey’s actions, be they noble or utilitarian.

Holy crap… can you honestly believe that last sentence was about a Disney game starring Mickey Mouse?! Screenshots may present Epic Mickey as a family-friendly platformer, and it can in fact be played as one (there are Quest, Action and sidescolling Travel maps,) but gamers who labored to experience every little detail of Deus Ex can probably expect to find the same here… provided they don’t shrug it off as kiddie game. And you most certainly shouldn’t! I dare you to go to the next page...



E3 E3 2010


  • SenatorPepper - June 23, 2010 12:54 a.m.

    Just been doin' some wikipedaling. Jesus, Christ. Kingdom Hearts is bananas. Square out-Squared itself with that plot.
  • SenatorPepper - June 23, 2010 12:01 a.m.

    Yes, Chris, please do. You typos be forgiven. I too am now on an odyssey into the netherworld of Disney history. I would usually be excited for any Warren Spector game, but until I heard the (partial) interview at the end of T-Dar E3 Sp #2 and then looked up this article, I wasn't paying much attention to this one.
  • GamesRadarChrisAntista - June 22, 2010 6:26 p.m.

    @ramapith NICE! Glad someone remembers. Good to see people care about what the game's trying to do as well. I'll do my best to get more info on one of my most anticipated games as soon as humanly possible.
  • ramapith - June 21, 2010 7:31 a.m.

    AnthonyGalindo, here are some examples of early Mickey as mischievous, thrill-seeking or both. Gallopin' Gaucho Shanghaied The Shindig The Moose Hunt Barnyard Olympics
  • tayls - June 21, 2010 5:01 a.m.

    This game really does look awesome. Great preview, Chris.
  • ihopethisisnotantistasblood - June 21, 2010 1:13 a.m.

    i didn't notice until now that the 3ds has its own tab now
  • fattoler - June 20, 2010 11:53 p.m.

    I hope some Disney afternoon characters make cameos, that would be very fitting BTW my reCAPTCHA is 'up mowgli' lol
  • Felixthecat - June 20, 2010 3:43 p.m.

    Yuss, Epic Mickey looks oh so very epic. Huzzah for Warren Spector and his crew.
  • mgkyo666 - June 20, 2010 3:02 a.m.

    Dammit Chris your word magic is convincing me to buy a Wii now! Well, that and the Nintendo press conference!!!
  • AnthonyGalindo - June 20, 2010 2:30 a.m.

    I don't doubt that Mickey has changed over the years but when was he ever a mischievous scamp? Can someone point me to some Youtube clips of this portrayal of Mickey. Admittedly I'm not the most knowledgeable person on the subject of Mickey, but I find it a little false and manufactured to fit the game's mechanics to hear about this "thrill seeking" version of Mickey.
  • Zanthis - June 19, 2010 10:39 p.m.

    I cannot wait for this game. It would be my number one anticipated game if not for my undying love of Tron.
  • egregious - June 19, 2010 9:57 p.m.

    Sega or Virgin interactive? They both need to work out a deal to get Mickey Mania (forgot which was the "superior" version), and Castle/World of Illusion up on the VC around the time this comes out.
  • Cyberninja - June 19, 2010 8:14 p.m.

    chris i have one question is it better than solitare?
  • bjt2012 - June 19, 2010 4:29 p.m.

    Innovative creations are always something to get excited about!
  • BigBoss - June 19, 2010 11:54 a.m.

    Chris' enthusiasm for this game has got me heavily interested in it.
  • ihopethisisnotantistasblood - June 19, 2010 11:45 a.m.

    hand-on? where was your other hand?
  • solidushepherd - June 19, 2010 8:53 a.m.

    This game deserves to be on a more powerful platform. And how drunk/exhausted were you when you wrote this, Antista?
  • TheWebSwinger - June 19, 2010 6:07 a.m.

    The game looks great, but does GR not have a content editor...? Lotta typos on this one. Yes I'm nit picking, kill me.
  • shyfonzie - June 19, 2010 5:54 a.m.

    Crantista, you and this game are interesting people in Disney. I just read the entire Wikipedia article for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. It's fascinating.
  • CH3BURASHKA - June 19, 2010 5:44 a.m.

    I wasn't aware that the concept of the Wasteland was so literal, that it's a place for forgotten characters to chill while they wait for their time to shine. After reading Chris' verbal orgasm, it's left me a bit sad that I won't get as much from the game as he will: what he's said is fascinating, but that's way too much history to read up on and invest in by the time the game comes out.

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