Epic Mickey is a hybrid of a platformer, action-adventure and RPG video game developed by Junction Point Studios and published by Disney Interactive Studios about Mickey Mouse and the forgotten history of Disney. It was released on November 30th, 2010 in the United States, November 26th, 2010 in Europe and September 28, 2012 in Australia. A Japanese version with camera issues fixed, higher brightness and adjusted difficulty was released on August 4th in Japan by Nintendo. The Japanese version also has its name changed into Disney Epic Mickey: Mickey Mouse and the Magic Brush. 1.As of July 2014, the game has sold nearly 3 million copies worldwide. 2 It was followed by a sequel, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and a spin-off, Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion.
A long time ago, the sorcerer Yen Sid used a magic paintbrush to create a world for Disney's forgotten characters (from creations to rusted Disney attraction parts). This was held in an intricate model on a table and was accessible through a mirror. One day, Mickey is taking a nap when his mirror makes an odd noise, awakening him. He climbs onto his dresser and pokes it, to see that he can go through it. Mickey, who finds himself inside Yen Sid's study, sees the model and waits until Yen Sid is gone before going back to take another look at it. Fiddling with it, Mickey attempts to create a statue of himself in the world but instead creates the Blot. He attempts to erase it, and ends up spilling Paint on the model. He attempts to clean it up in a haste, but just spills even more paint and Thinner, twisting the world. He managed to escape without Yen Sid knowing, returning to his world where he went on to live years of success and fame, but his meddling had consequences.
The Paint and Thinner had severely damaged the world and created an evil being called the Shadow Blot, who has usurped power from Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney's first creation before Mickey, and sent the world into ruin. A long time later, Mickey is kidnapped by the Fake Shadow Blot and sent into the world. Oswald is shocked to see him and flees the scene.
Before the Thinner Disaster, the Mad Doctor worked closely with Oswald, before he got power-hungry after the Blot was unleashed. The Mad Doctor and Oswald had created robotic "Beetleworx", which originally helped out in Wasteland, but then began patrolling Wasteland and capturing Gremlins. They also created robotic versions of Mickey's friends to keep Oswald company, looking like Donald Duck, Goofy and Daisy Duck respectively.
Mickey, realizing what he has done, sets out to clean up his mess and restore Wasteland with the help of the magical paintbrush. Mickey must defeat the Shadow Blot, gain the trust of Oswald, save the forgotten world, and return home to the Toon World.
The video game was directed by Warren Spector at Junction Point with the help of various outsourced studios, while being published by Disney Interactive Studios.
The initial plans for Epic Mickey were developed in a think-tank session in 2004 about how best to renew Mickey Mouse in the eyes of the public. The Wasteland concept and Oswald and the Phantom Blot as antagonists were part of this initial pitch and the project became a factor in Disney getting Oswald back from Universal that year. Disney Interactive signed Warren Spector, who was skeptical that Disney would just continue "watering down" Mickey as they had for many years, but was convinced when told he would be allowed to help renew the character to his former glory. With full-access to the Disney archives for inspiration on the Wasteland's setting, Warren Spector and the team at Junction Point developed the game further into a hybrid platformer/role playing game with player's choices being a huge influence in how the story would turn out.The game was originally being developed as a steam-punk styled title. Originally, it was planned to be released for the Xbox 360 and PS3, with a Wii port handled by an outside studio. However, when talks of the Wii port began, the team decided to make the game a Wii exclusive to take advantage of the Wii's unique control options.
In 2008, Gamasutra published a report claiming to have seen concept art for the game. These concept art images were leaked onto the internet and created a buzz as to whether or not the game was real. Concept art for the game by Fred Gambino and Gary Glover depicts a "surrealistically bizarre" look at Disney characters and locations. Featured in the concept art are post-apocalyptic renditions of Goofy, Spaceship Earth, and Cinderella's Castle. These concepts were never meant to be seen by the public. It was confirmed that they were just made to see how dark Disney would let the developers go with a Mickey Mouse game, and were likely never intended to make it into the final product.
First Screenshots and Official Reveal
The game had changed dramatically from the first screenshots and leaked art being presented to the public. It had gone from the post-apocalyptic steam punk styled setting to a new more gloomy, chaotic, shapeless wasteland. The first official screenshots were shown off by GameInformer October 2009. These screenshots varied in many ways from the final game, and had a different, more bright and vibrant visual style and featured gameplay elements, enemies and even entire areas that didn't make it into the final game. Warren Spector clarified that the art style in these screenshots was still being finalized, and that the game was still in early development. 1
In June 2010, the world got another look at Epic Mickey. On the show floor, attendants could play a demo containing the Ventureland hub, Skull Island, and the Steamboat Willie projector screen. The build featured during E3 is nearly identical to the final release build, save for a few differences such as the dialogue boxes and e-ticket colors. New screenshots were released as well.
GameplayThe game features the brush mechanism, where the player can aim with the Wii remote to either paint things in, or make them disappear using thinner. The player's decisions can change parts of the world, such as other characters' opinions on Mickey, and more subtle changes such as slower music or the amount of blot drops coming off of Mickey. The player controls Mickey using traditional 3D platforming mechanics. Mickey can move around, jump, hang on to edges of platforms, and use a spin move to activate gears, obtain collectibles, and knock enemies away. The combat involves either using paint to redeem enemies, or thinner to thin them into nothingness. Redeemed enemies no longer attack Mickey and will help him by fighting nearby hostile enemies. Alternatively, Mickey can use his spin move to knock enemies off edges and into thinner. The player can control Mickey's path in Wasteland through the way they defeat enemies and the choices that they make. Decisions typically revolve around making a moral choice between good and bad. These choices influence the collectibles that can be unlocked, the ease of getting past obstacles, and the cutscenes in the game. In early concepts and builds of the game, Mickey's appearance was originally intended to change more drastically based on his actions, and the "playstyle matters" aspect of the game was assumed to have played a much higher role. However, the mechanism was scrapped in favor of the Guardian system. It is suspected that this may have been removed due to Disney's input.
Epic Mickey enjoyed high pre-release awareness and received mixed to positive reviews, with a score of 72.57% on GameRankings and 73/100 on Metacritic.
IGN gave it a score of 8/10, criticizing its camera, control issues and lack of voice acting, but praised its charm, story, art design, and lasting appeal for the players. Video game talk show Good Game's two presenters gave the game a 6 and 7 out of 10. They compared the paintbrush abilities to that of the water jet pack from Super Mario Sunshine and found it frustrating how the levels reset back to their original state after leaving. But on a positive note they said it "isn't as 'dark' or 'adult' as the hype made it out to be... I guess it is a kid's game after all, but at least it's an intelligent one. It doesn't come anywhere near the complexity and fun of something like Super Mario Sunshine, which I think it borrows some ideas from." Shirley Chase from GameZone complimented the game on its usage of Disney history, but added that the game had numerous flaws saying, "For all of its good points, Disney Epic Mickey does have some glaring flaws, which can make the game feel like a chore. The most noticeable problem is the camera, which will lead to more cheap deaths than anything else." In a review for GamesRadar, Chris Antista who began the article as an admitted "diehard Disney dork", praised it as a "thoroughly heartwarming salute to Disney" and that he hasn't "fallen so head over heels with the look, feel, and play of a third-person platformer since the original Banjo-Kazooie".
In its opening weekend, Epic Mickey failed to reach the UK Top 40 and even the Wii Top 10 sales charts after its November 26 UK release. On November 30, 2010, the release date in North America, the game was completely sold out on the Disney Store website by the afternoon. The game sold 1.3 million copies its first month. As of July 2014, the game sold nearly 3 million copies in North America and Europe combined.
- Epic Mickey can be compared to games like Shadow the Hedgehog, inFAMOUS, and Spider Man: Web of Shadows, because they are darker representations of the game's franchise (this only applies to Shadow the Hedgehog & Spider Man: Web of Shadows) and their stories depend on the player's choices.
- In the UK, GAME stores offered a t-shirt as a pre-order bonus. The t-shirt, however, was just regular/current Mickey, with no actual connection to the Epic Mickey game.
- A Dutch release of the game also came packaged with a copy of Fantasia on DVD.
- According to Warren Spector, the game was thought of before his company was bought by Disney, which means that Epic Mickey was technically in development for almost 10 years.
- According to Warren Spector, he had once pitched a movie set in the Epic Mickey universe to Disney. He claimed to have had a trailer, budget and a team lined up, but Disney was ultimately uninterested. 
- In an interview with Chad Moldenhaur (studio art director of Studio MDHR/co-creator of Cuphead) about the game Cuphead, Warren Spector mentions that he wanted to use an "early-30's" look for Epic Mickey. 
- Screenshots of an early version of the game suggest the game was originally going to use a lives system.
- According to Warren Spector, Disney may have been the cause of the removal of the "Hero Mickey" and "Scrapper Mickey" gameplay mechanic. In an interview, he stated that Disney gave the development team a lot of creative freedom, but was a bit more touchy with how they handled Mickey Mouse. He stated that Disney had a bit of a hard time swallowing the idea of Mickey's appearance changing depending on the player's actions. They were likely concerned that it would have a negative effect Mickey's image if the player made bad choices.
- According to lead designer, Chase Jones, the team had a concept for minigames that would be playable at the Penny Arcade, and even got as far as experimenting with them in the game engine. They ultimately didn't make it in the final game due to the development schedule.