So much... ink!
Inkwells are new to Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, where players have the chance to dip into invisible and indelible ink to gain new, temporary powers. Like paint and thinner, this ultimately affects how you proceed within the game by giving you more options to tackle the problem ahead of you.
In this gallery, we not only have new screens to showcase these new tools, but we also have an interview with Warren Spector, the creative director at Junction Point Studios. If you prefer to see how this ink business works in action, check out the exclusive trailer below!
GamesRadar: Does adding the inkwells make it harder or easier to come up with new puzzles because you have more to work with other than just paint and thinner?
Warren Spector: Generally speaking, when you're making a game designed to give players the power to decide for themselves how to interact with the game world, having a variety of tools, a variety of game systems like inkwells, is a good thing both for players and for designers. But it's a bit of a mixed blessing for the level builders. I mean, if you offer players timed invisibility, say, you have to make sure that ability is supported in the levels. And it wouldn't be very useful to be able to make yourself invulnerable for a while if there were nothing to fight or nothing to damage you.
On the flip side, the more things your player can do, the more inspiration there is as you conceive a level. Overall, I guess there's a bit more complexity for the level builder--you have to make sure all the game systems are useful and, ideally, equally useful--but the effort is worth it. And, at worst, it's a mixed blessing. Oh, and by the way, we don't use the word "puzzle" at Junction Point that implies a single-solution problem and we frown on that! Every game problem or challenge (our preferred terminology!) should be solvable in a variety of ways!
GR: What do you think makes the sequel stand out?
WS: Definitely the multiplayer. Moving from one player deciding how to interact with the world to two players negotiating a shared play style, you're talking about a pretty radical change! Full voice every character speaking every line of dialogue, and even singing in some cases is a big change. And I think gamers are going to see a lot more consequence to go with their choices, which is a standout feature in a platform/adventure/RPG hybrid game!
GR: Do you ever feel limited with design decisions because your game is meant to be accessible to a broad audience?
WS: Not really. On the first Disney Epic Mickey game, there was a bit of that, in the way I felt we had to back off on the consequence side of "choice and consequence" and your play style didn't matter as much as I would have hoped. That was largely because I was afraid non-gamers would be put off or intimidated by the idea. But that was about it, really, and we're not compromising that in Disney Epic Mickey 2. So, no I don't think we've made any compromises in the name of accessibility.
GR: Is working on this franchise everything you expected it to be?
WS: Absolutely. Everyone at Disney's been hugely supportive and helpful. Fan response to the first game was amazing it's STILL amazing, two years after we shipped the game. I think everyone on the team feels like they've been a part of history and we've even been able to contribute something to Disney's future by bringing Oswald the Lucky Rabbit back to the screen and giving him a voice. I've worked on some amazing games, with amazing teams, but working on Disney Epic Mickey and Disney Epic Mickey 2 is right up there with Deus Ex in the pride I take in the work we were able to do.
GR: What was your favorite part/moment about this project?
WS: That's a tough question. I'm certainly proud of the way the team embraced the challenge of being true to Disney's creative history. I'm sure everyone got tired of hearing "Where did that come from?" from me and the other leads, but they never wavered. Disney Epic Mickey 2 is a real Disney game made by a real Disney team. But, you know I'd have to say that getting to meet as many Disney fans--at press events, at conventions, at the Parks--that has been amazing. People really invest themselves in their relationship with Mickey Mouse (and now Oswald!) in a way that took me by surprise, despite my own love of all things Disney! When you see people dressing up as characters from your game and creating amazing fan art and making plush toys, when you get "this game changed my life" sort of letters, that's pretty special. Oh, and we got to put songs in a game--how cool is that?
GR: Where would you like to see this franchise go?
WS: Everywhere! Just everywhere! I'd like to see us make more games where we explore what the heck the Cartoon World really is and what the heck the Real World means to cartoon characters. I mean, think about it-- the Wastelanders talk about Walt and about the love of an audience, but who IS this Walt guy? What do they know about him? What IS an audience and why does this "audience" have such a profound effect on them? It'd be fun to dive into that. I'd LOVE to see Oswald in his own games. I want to see Mickey and Oswald cartoons, a Disney Epic Mickey feature film, a DEM theme park attraction, Beetleworx toys, I have ideas about ALL of that. Maybe I'll get to work on some of that stuff, maybe not, but the sky's the limit in terms of the potential of the world and characters we've created at Junction Point.
GR: What lessons have you learned from making this game that youd like to take with you to the next one?
WS: Third-person cameras are really hard. Co-op gameplay is cool. Songs in games rock. Even non-gamers, when exposed to the idea that games should be, oh, I don't know, really interactive and not just choose-your-own-adventure movies or puzzley time-wasters, really WANT to make a difference as they play. Oswald deserves to be a big, big star. That about sums it up! Plenty for us to work on in future games, just taking all of those ideas further and deeper and doing even better.
Are you ready?
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two comes out this weekend on November 18. Are you looking forward to playing as Oswald the lucky rabbit? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
If you liked this feature, we have another interview with Warren Spector in case you missed it.