Warren Spector recounts the nervy time he told his team to go back to the drawing board
The man put in charge of creating a new Mickey Mouse for the upcoming game Epic Mickey says Disney rarely intervened during the design process – yet he himself ordered drastic last minute changes.
Warren Spector, the industry veteran and Junction Point founder, was asked by Disney to craft an inventive new-look Mickey game, and the global entertainment conglomerate took a surprisingly liberal stance when its historic mascot was being redesigned.
Asked whether Disney ever refused any Epic Mickey design reconsiderations, Spector told Develop: “Actually there was one thing, but only one thing. [Disney insisted] Mickey can’t have teeth.
“But Disney really weren’t sensitive,” he adds. “I mean, they came to me with the idea; ‘hey, how about a world of old rejected Disney stuff?’”
But Epic Mickey’s rodent protagonist has undergone sudden design changes during the game’s production, but Spector confesses this was all down to him.
“When we did the announcement of the game in October, I was still changing the way he looks, and at one point I thought, you know what – this is wrong. This is wrong. I shouldn’t do this.
“And I felt so stupid because we already published screenshots, and I made the very tough call of… oh my god, it was crazy – I said we’re not doing this. We’re changing it.”
The final version of Mickey is already being flaunted ahead of what will be a vociferous PR campaign at the hands of Disney. But Spector wants the company to go one step further:
“I wish they made our Mickey the official one of the Disney Corporation, because I think this is the best Mickey ever in the history of human kind,” he says.
“He’s appealing, he’s cute, he’s energetic and mischievous. He’s got a classic look but he feels kind of new and different. I love him. I love the way he moves, I love him in 3D. My team is the best.”
In the full interview with Develop published today, Spector explains that his team at Junction Point had thousands of Mickey concepts for the game, though it was unfortunate that some had made their way into the public’s view.
“In game design, the kind of creative play that goes into getting an end result should never be seen in public,” he says.
“Those images that were leaked; they were all part of this iterative process, but what if one of our crazier Mickey concepts leaked? What if one of the thousand images that got leaked was of a Mickey that we’d never use? You should have seen the one of the classy Mickey in the white suit!”
Epic Mickey – which is being built on Emergent’s Gamebryo platform – is set for release November this year.