Disneyitus – the fall and rebirth of a giant


It really doesn’t come as a surprise any more. Like all things, even the greats succumb to age and senility begins making choices that are beyond its rational judgement. Minds grow feeble, and are subsequently replaced by new minds that are evidently too bloated with cash to care anymore. This is when the greatest surprise of them all arrived – evidence that Disney, the undisputed father of contemporary animation seeks to reclaim its image of old and re-imagine what once made them great. This was the day that Warren Spector, of Deus Ex fame, signed up as designer on Epic Mickey.

Now I’m pretty sure it’s fair to say that “We honestly have no idea what to expect from Epic Mickey”, and calling it a triumph, and genuine rebirth of Disney of old is a lot like the hype that would later cast a shadow over carefree innovation in the industry with the release of Invisible War, but it still rouses the curiosity. First of all, this game looks dark. Not dark in the sense of chainsaw-to-the-face Resident Evil gritty film noir proportions, but just the right amount of mood that I feel so often elevates a fantasy tale to interesting places. This is a good thing because Disney always prided themselves on stories with character and emotion beneath its persistently quirky exterior. Second of all, it looks amazing, and if the game carries a representative art style of its concepts, it will succeed in creating an unforgettable mood.

Coming out of a world of anticipation and expectation, I still feel a bit of concern in the flavour of “So, how will this be a game exactly?”. From what little information is available, it’s clear that they are on to something interesting involving, in its simplest form, the option to create of destroy through the medium of the brush or the paint thinner. Now it is unclear as to whether these choices will affect the games’ moral system, but for a platformer, a simple yet rich and imaginative system as such as this could be the games’ defining point. On the contrary, a moral system may be fundamentally flawed since Mickey isn’t an evil character, but I guess that’s being a bit pedantic. What should really be said is that the moral system has so often been an arbitrary sore point in a lot of game designs, and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly when it is being used as a pivotal plot device. But the concept intrigues me nonetheless.

So why is this game so important? Well let’s first place a cursory examination upon Disney. Upon returning to that maniacal harlequin Google, the first result returned was claiming to be the home of all things Disney, whilst proceding to list “movies, TV, games, music, live events, travel, shopping, mobile, and characters”. Had Disney genuinely arrived at the point where travel, shopping and mobile phones are prioritised over its most central assets? God, old Walt would be rolling in his cryogenic chamber if he got ear of this. This evident, and quite blatant dismissal of Disney’s roots is why this game is so important, so let’s hope like hell that it fulfils its promises.

Miles Newton – The Machination, creative director

Just a note on the side, I acknowledge that Kingdom Hearts was an interesting departure Disney’s downfall, but this is purely a Disney project


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