Releasing this fall, Disney's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two retains much of the flavor that made the original Epic Mickey a sizable hit back in 2010. But for their next act, the developers are aiming to tap into some of that heralded Disney magic by turning the whole endeavor into a musical comedy.
"It's the first musical comedy game in the history of video games," said Warren Spector, head of Junction Point Studios. "We're not just talking about one song. We're not just talking about music over the credits. Much of the story of Epic Mickey 2 is told through song."
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The composing team of Jim Dooley and Mike Himelstein has been brought on to craft a soundtrack of entirely new tunes specifically for the game, which also features a fully-voiced cast of Disney characters.
Except now, they'll randomly burst into song to help tell the tale. And that's just how Spector wants it.
"I'm a musicals geek," Spector said. "I love Glee, I love Smash…I just love musicals."
Spector, who recently won a Game Developer's Choice Lifetime Achievement Award for a pioneering career that includes influential hits like System Shock, Thief and Deus Ex, is also well aware that while the original game sold well enough to warrant a sequel, it was far from perfect. Problematic controls marred the entire experience, irking critics and frustrating gamers by making them fight with the troublesome camera instead of the game's many enemies. With "over 1,000" changes to the camera system, Spector is aiming to make the new game more playable.
It will also be playable by two at once. Gamers can cooperatively control both Mickey and, for the first time, his less famous ancestor Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Lost to Disney for years due to a contract dispute back in 1928, the character finally came back under the company's umbrella in 2006 and played a starring role in the original game.
The new game picks up where that left off. Mickey and Oswald return to Wasteland, an alternate dimension filled with odd, forgotten characters and attractions from Disney's past, as they attempt to thwart another batch of evil robot-toons from ruining all the fun.
As in any Spector game, choice and consequence play key roles. Players will still be able to create objects by painting them -- or destroy objects by using paint thinner -- but this time their choices will have a much more permanent effect upon the world.
That world will no longer be exclusive to the Wii, as Epic Mickey 2 will branch out by being available for the Wii, Xbox 360 and PS this fall.