Could Warren Spector's Junction Point Studios be at work on a title about Disney's seminal Mickey Mouse?
Gamasutra has seen concept art and information that indicates a title codenamed "Epic Mickey" may be in development at the Austin-based, Disney-owned developer.
Concept art from early versions of the game that we viewed showed mockups of the potential game's environment, including pencil sketches of cities assembled from junk.
Another sketch included a surreal seashore invasion scene, in which machines wearing the faces of the Seven Dwarfs deposit old-fashioned renditions of Disney characters onto the beach with mechanical hands.
Though the kooky environmental concepts, with visible large cogs, gears and even a large fork that serves as a building's awning, are somewhat reminiscent of Disney's Toontown Online
MMO, the images -- particularly the cloud-stained seaside painting -- have a distinctly shadowed, steampunk vibe.
This information ties up with an early 2008 report
from EGM Magazine columnist Quartermann that noted: "Word is that Spector's new Disney project will be a platformer looking to compete with a certain pesky plumber. And who's big enough to take on Nintendo's star? Only the mouse himself!"
Providing more background, this summer, Spector mentioned on his own Junction Point weblog
: "My team and I have been working hard on our own and (get ready for the cool factor to go way up) in collaboration with folks from Disney Feature Animation and Pixar."
Junction Point itself is wholly owned by Disney since its acquisition in 2007
, giving it the potential to use leading in-house IP in its games, including that of Mickey Mouse.
co-creator Spector has never provided further information on his current project. But around the same time as the summer's weblog comments, Spector noted at the Game Education Summit
that "one hundred hour games are on the way out", and that he was "so tired of making games about guys in black leather carrying guns."
However, it's unclear whether the style of the concept art or the game's working title will fully carry through to this Junction Point project's conclusion -- or, indeed, exactly how far into development it is. Gamasutra will update with more information as it becomes available.