Putting the 'Epic' in Epic Mickey
July 23, 2010 Page 4 of 4
The way that you pitched this game at E3 seems somewhat core-centric. You've got this deep, changing story that uses this cool new mechanic, and it also has a potential to be a bit dark. So it's got Mickey in it, yeah, he's a cartoon, he's cute, but do you think that this could end up actually being a tougher sell to a younger crowd?
WS: I don't think so. I think kids like being mischievous as much as adults do; maybe more. And again, remember, there's a lot of opportunity to make this the experience you want it to be. I expect that kids who pick this up will, they'll go around erasing a bunch of stuff and making a bunch of stuff and having a good ol' time spraying paint thinner around and beating up on some enemies and friending some other enemies, and just having a good ol' time.
You can go through this game just sort of playing, or if you want to explore some of the depth, you can look around and say "Hey, I really do want to make the lot of all of these people better."
So in the same way that the old Mickey cartoons were designed for all ages -- people of all ages saw those in the theaters in the '30s and '40s, in the same way that Warner Brothers cartoons appeal at different levels and different age groups, there's stuff here for everybody. And I guess that's my goal.
Yeah, I'm not saying we're succeeding; you've got to tell me that. But certainly our goal is, if you want to play a sort of a cheerful, thoughtful sort of game, you can do that.
If you get the adult gags -- I think we have a lactose intolerant cow in the game. A kid's not gonna get that gag, which is funnier in the game than me just telling you. You know a kid's not going to get that, but there's going to be plenty of slapstick for the kids, too.
You said something really interesting a minute ago, which is that this idea of play style mattering is pretty well understood by core gamers. And I've always believed from the day I started really thinking about this consciously -- this game design idea, not this game.
I've always believed that the really hardcore thing is the game where there's only one way to solve a problem and if you're not smart enough to figure it out, you stop playing. Or the shooter where if you're not skilled enough to survive for more than five minutes with a group of 13 year olds with guns and headsets, your only option is to stop playing.
And I've always thought that the idea of, "Hey, if one way to solve this problem is too tough for you, try another", I always thought that was a mainstream idea. And I love having Mickey as the hero of the story of this game, because I think he's great way to get [across] this idea that "Hey, games are about interactivity, they're about you" -- they're not about me, as the designer, they're about you being creative. If I can get that idea out to a larger audience, that I think is borderline important, not just something cool to do.
Have kids actually played the game yet?
WS: Yeah, we've had some kids play it, they kind of go through it spraying paint thinner around, and laugh when things go away, and find it amusing when you puddle a character and then restore him, because it's a cartoon, and everything can be undone. The spanners, one of our little minions of the Phantom Blot, they find those really amusing.
There's a level at which I think some people at E3 may have sort of misinterpreted things a little bit. But there's a level at which the game can be enjoyed -- cue the air quotes -- as just a "platformer", and you can get through the game running, jumping, spinning, double jumping, all that stuff.
I wanted it to be really accessible, and so the level of depth is kind of up to you, as a player. And so kids are really digging it so far; it's not like we've played with 10,000 of them or millions of them, which is where we're heading. But so far, so good.
You blogged that the 3DS changed your life. Can you tell me a bit about that?
WS: Boy, 3D is here to stay; it is not a fad, and speed the day that we get big screen TVs, and theaters with glasses free 3D like that. Nintendo got everything right on that little device. And they deserve to sell a gazillion of them. I want the first one off the line. And boy I hope I get a chance to develop for it someday.
I mean literately, I came away from that feeling like I had just experienced some Disney magic. And I've been telling everybody who'll listen it's like the coolest thing ever, it's unbelievable. I absolutely fell in love with the thing.
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