Warren Spector has been developing his new Mickey Mouse videogame, a sequel to the much-hyped Epic Mickey in relative secrecy, but the mouse is out of the bag now, with the first details appearing in The Washington Post today.
Spector says that he made several mistakes with the first game, and has addressed them in creating this follow up, Epic Mickey: The Power of 2. First of all, he's fixed the in-game camera. That really needed doing.
Also, he's given the characters voices. And not just speaking voices, singing voices too because, somewhat in the Disney tradition, the game is going to be a musical.
Unfortunately the game won't have the same big-name composers we're used to getting with Disney movies, but composer Jim Dooley and lyricist Mike Himelstein do have some cinematic experience, having just provided the songs for Dorothy of Oz. But how many songs can we expect? Spector says:
When a character breaks into song, which they do on a regular basis in this game, it's magic.
I love musicals myself, but this is unorthodox behavior in a video game. I hope they get away with it. They've certainly got some ambitious ideas for how to use the soundtrack:
Songs and music will change based on whether gamers prompt [Mickey] to be well-mannered or mischievous.
Now, despite being a key Disney character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit spent decades off the scene before returning to the fold in 2006 and he has never, ever uttered a word in a Disney cartoon before. This game will be his first official vocal performance, and Spector has given the honour of providing this voice to Frank Welker, perhaps best known in this parish for his voice work on the Transformers cartoons and, lately, movies.
Unlike the first game which was a Nintendo Wii exclusive, the sequel will also be published on X-Box and Playstation. It appears to have been built around player co-operation, though Spector says that the co-op experience is drop-in, drop-out. Mickey is to be one of the playable characters, as you'd expect, and he's still wielding his magic paintbrush. And, yep, the other character will be Oswald who is "armed with a remote control that has the power to command electricity."
Whether Oswald is controlled by another player or running as an NPC he will work with Mickey throughout the game – as per the title, I guess.
So, it's still early days and we're yet to see any imagery but the Disney fiend in me is already keen and eager to get my hands on this. The first game was not perfect, but Spector's fix-and-mend attitude is the right one, and he seems to have plenty of new ideas too. It's probably not going to be Epic at all, but like always, I'm in it for the Mickey anyway.