During NYCC our Anne Sisk got a chance to spend some time with Epic Mickey 2 and some of the behind the scenes talent that is working to make it a reality. This is her report:
Disney follows up their Wii hit, Epic Mickey, with the multi-platform Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, available November 18th. This time Mickey and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit team up for more adventures, bringing new features to the franchise.
The most notable difference this time around is that the characters actually talk. Oswald (voiced by Frank Welker) and Mickey (voiced by Bret Iwan) are joined by Gremlin Gus (Carey Elwes), Yen Sid (Mike Himselstein) and the Mad Doctor (Dave Wittenberg). Finding the right voice for the Gremlins, based on the abandoned Roald Dahl/Disney collaboration, was important as Gremlin Gus serves as a guide through the game.
Expanding on the demographic-crossing appeal of Epic Mickey (the audience split evenly across gender and age ranges), Epic Mickey 2 hopes to foster further engagement by introducing a co-player option. There are tasks within the game that require character-specific skills (like Mickey’s paintbrush wielding or Oswald’s ear-powered flight), so be prepared to play with a friend or switch between characters to make it through the levels.
Epic Mickey 2 also offers a more customized game, adapting based on the style of play. Inkwells that help Mickey and Oswald along fill with invisible or indelible ink, depending on the way each player tackles challenges. Running through levels on the lookout for a fight? Inkwells fill with indelible ink, helping you make it through unscathed. More of a lover, less of a fighter? You’ll probably get invisible ink instead, letting you sneak through the tough spots. The ink does eventually wear off, through both time and damage.
This time, you can also outfit your characters in different, collectible costumes. Costumes, once assembled, add advantages to gameplay – in addition to looking quite snappy. You can take advantage of costumes at the various Photo Op Areas throughout the game.
Want something more out of your gaming experience? Keep an eye out for the 150 pins hidden throughout the Epic Mickey 2 world. All pins are available on a single play-through (though it might take a very observant and very obsessive single play-through to get them all). Collect pins and show them off in your main gallery – or use them for their (rumored) influence within the game.
Epic Mickey 2 also brings you an improved camera system and a better mapping system, resolving some player complaints from the original game. There are new worlds to explore, including Nature’s Wonderland and the Rainbow Caverns. And this time, the world has gone musical. Musical cut-scenes make the game feel just a bit more like a classic Disney production.
Having had the opportunity to play through a bit of the game, it looks fantastic. The co-op seems natural, playing to each character’s strengths. The worlds are vibrant with a hint of the slightly-askew (understandable because this is Oswald attempting to recreate a world he’s never actually seen). The game is tricky enough to be interesting, but not so fidgety as to be disheartening.
I asked about the possibility of a shared component – some co-operative system, or at least a way to share those pins that we kept hearing about. That’s not in the plan for this game, unfortunately, so I started to worry about the longevity of the gaming experience. Make it through the levels and, well, that’s it. The team behind Epic Mickey 2 has taken that into consideration it seems, creating boards rich in detail, full of hidden elements to find and areas to explore. Add to that the collecting drive for both the pins and the costumes and it feels like Epic Mickey 2 is a game that can last beyond the initial play-through.
Launching in concert with Epic Mickey 2 is the standalone Power of Illusion, available only on the Nintendo 3DS. Based on Disney’s Castle of Illusion, The Power of Illusion presents a bit of forgotten video game history while embracing the pure joy and simplicity of the 16 bit, side-scrolling game. Defeat Mizrabel by rescuing more than thirty classic characters from her traps. Once you rescue a character, he shows up in your fortress. Help that character out and he’ll update your fortress for you. The goal is to free all of the characters and end with a fully-restored castle.
What aren’t we getting with the release of Epic Mickey 2? Unfortunately, a few things. There won’t be a collectors’ edition of the game released in North America – though, there is one planned for other markets. Likewise, the Epic Mickey 2 graphic novel will not be released to North American markets, making Peter David’s adaptation a must-find-on-eBay release.