E3 2010: Epic Mickey Hands-On Preview

By Jordan Douglas on June 22, 2010, 2:51PM EDT

Epic Mickey is the latest project from the mind of Warren Spector, the man who produced classics such as Deus Ex and System Shock. Spector, a self professed cartoon history buff and Disney fanatic, was approached by Disney to make a game that celebrated the company's storied past. The end result is Epic Mickey, a game that blends conventional platforming and adventuring elements with Spector's signature emphasis on player choice.

The main vehicles that drive player choice in Epic Mickey are the painting and erasing mechanics at Mickey's disposal. Players can choose to either paint or erase objects, enemies and areas in the game, each choice with a set of consequences. For example, painting an enemy will cause that enemy to become Mickey's friend, who will then assist Mickey on his journey in various ways. However, the newly converted friend is susceptible to revert back to their mischievous ways. So, players can choose so simply erase the enemy from the world or put in the effort to keep them on friendly terms. The decisions players make in these situations will also affect the way other characters in the game perceive Mickey.

The painting and erasing mechanics also apply to the environment. Mickey can paint areas to reveal new pathways forward, or erase objects to find hidden treasures, as a few examples. This freedom of choice further extends to the pathways players decide to take. The levels in Epic Mickey present players with the option of taking multiple paths and finding various ways to complete the objective. For instance, the "Steamboat Willie" classic 2D platforming level shown had several options to progress - one path may be less challenging and time consuming, but if players opt for the difficult route they will be rewarded with additional content.

Based on the segments I played through, Epic Mickey appears to be a game with a wide appeal. Disney fans can easily appreciate the obvious attention put into keeping the game faithful to its roots, and core gamers will likely enjoy the freedom of choice that accompanies a Warren Spector game. Combined with a charming art style and generally responsive controls, Epic Mickey is one to watch out for as its release approaches.

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