deus ex, Epic Mickey the power of two, interview, Power of illusion, video games, Warren Spector

Epic Mickey 2 Interview with Warren Spector

Warren Spector is a legendary game creator who currently resides in Austin, Tx. He is best known for creating Deus Ex one the best games for PlayStation. He has also worked on Ultima, System shock, Thief and Wing Commander. All great games that influenced future generations of game designers. Warren’s most current project Epic Mickey 2: The Power of two and Epic Mickey: The power of Illusion came out November 18th. Both visually stunning games they offer solid gameplay, wonderful song sequences, and the best cast of characters Disney can offer. I had a chance to interview Mr. Spector and here’s the man himself…
BBM: What’s your name and what’s your title?
My name is Warren Spector. I’m the creative director and junction point studios its part of Disney Interactive.
BBM: Tell us about Epic Mickey 2.
Well Disney Epic Mickey the power of two is the sequel to Epic Mickey it comes out November 18th, 2012. We want to do everything we did well as well or better for the second. You know a whole emotional story for Mickey Mouse as a strong hero maybe a bigger role for Oswald the lucky rabbit.
BBM: I love Oswald the lucky rabbit and I’m excited for him having a bigger role.
Yeah I know Oswald was Walt’s first character and we got to bring him back. First time since 1928
BBM: That’s history in the making
You know what’s funny even if we fail it’s like a footnote in history. This time there are two big things first of all you get to play as Oswald. We introduced a new two player co-op mode which you can play as either Mick or Oswald. The second thing is we got to give every character a voice. With the first one a lot of the characters had sounds. In the new game every characters speaks every line of dialog. So we were able to give Oswald a voice for the first time he never spoke in the past. Frank Welker will be voicing Oswald and he may be the most amazing voice artist in the world. Not only were we able to honor Disney’s past we also made history by giving Oswald a voice.
BBM: What part of Epic Mickey the power of two are you most excited about?
I think for me it’s the two player co-op. You know we made a game and one of the goals was to appeal to the kids and adults. I had a meeting with John Lasseter from Pixar early in the project for the first game and he said you know at Pixar we make entertainment for everyone. We don’t have a specific demographic and it was like a Spielberg for me you know the camera zooming and dallying back and at the same times I was warping all around me. I said why can’t a game do that and we did but then we didn’t let adults and kids play together. So this time we are trying ot make gamefor everyone again but we want people to play together.
BBM: What’s the co-op aspect of it? Can you play together the entire game or just parts?
Oswald is with you the entire game player one is always Mickey. Oswald is an AI character who’s always with you. At any point second player can sit on the couch next to you and play as Oswald. Once he’s done the AI picks back up its real true drop in drop out co-op. The cool thing is Oswald has his own unique set of abilities but in single player there only useful in certain places and certain circumstances.  In co-op those abilities can be used anywhere which means you can get to places and see things that you just can’t see in single player. In order to see and do everything you have to play it at least twice. One plying through as the restoring side of it and one play through as paint thinner oriented. If you really want to see everything in the game you got to play co-op.
BBM: That’s awesome lots of replay value.
Exactly that’s what all my games are about a unique experience every time they play. Now we’ve added a second play style in the equation.
BBM: What character do you most associate yourself with from Epic Mickey?
That would be Oswald he the plucky guy forgotten and reject and has to fight for everything he gets. My favorite character is Uncle Scrooge

BBM: What are some other games fans might recognize your work from?
A bunch of games in the last 30 years holy cow! Most people are probably most familiar with Deus Ex which I made in 2000. I worked on a bunch of Ultima games back in the day and you know a lot of fantasy games. Underworld, System Shock, and The first wind commander game if you want to go way back so yeah I’ve done a lot of things.
BBM:  I didn’t expect to meet such a legend today. So tell us about some of the musical features for Epic Mickey 2.
I’m a total musical geek! I have been since I was a kid and I love Broadway. I’ve always wanted to do a musical game. When you work for Disney and you’re making a game that honors 80 years of Disney creative history. People don’t even blink when you say where going to put songs in the game. Most people in the game industry say “what are you crazy?” but every once in a while in Epic Mickey 2 we will burst into song. I want to be clear about this I have a crazy vision of an interactive musical in my dreams. This is not it this is a game where I try to prove to the folks at Disney that gamers will accept songs in games.  Songs are a way to communicate story and express emotion. I’m hoping gamers really embrace this so I can go to Disney and so ok get out of my way. Songs are part of the mechanics and are part of the gameplay. To be honest I’m going to do it anyway I don’t care if people like it or not but I’m hoping people really dig it. For Epic Mickey 2: The power of two Jim Dooley’s created the music Score and Mike Himelstein is the lyricist. They really did a great job and really bring the characters to life.

BBM: I’m excited just hearing about it! When you first started working on the Epic Mickey games did you feel a lot of pressure?

You know that question comes up all the time. For me it was like I get to play with Mickey Mouse. He’s the most recognized icon on Planet Earth. Everyone you will ever meet knows about Mickey Mouse. I talk to people from the Australian outback, Kids in Africa wearing Mickey Mouse shirts, People from Moscow who say (in a Russian accent) “yes I grew up with Mickey Mouse he was the symbol of imperialist capitalist repression”. The thing is were making video games where not curing cancer or bringing peace to the world were just having fun.
BBM: Just hearing about it I’m getting excited I know its going to be an amzeing game.
It really is there’s a lot there for Disney fans. Gamers can get past the fact there’s not a guy wearing sun glasses at night. With a trench coat in the middle of summer and two guns they can wrap their minds around being a mouse and a rabbit for about 20 hours.
BBM: You’re an icon of the industry what are some words of wisdom you would give a youth wanting to create video games?
We don’t have enough time for this question. Things change they really really do. You turn your passion into your profession. You’ll really find that when you play video games you’ll sort of play them differently so make sure you really want to do it. The best advice I can give is figure out what you want to do. It’s kind of a business of specialist’s now the guy who does it all is very rare. Be the best modeler, level designer, or animator in the world. Figure out what you want to be and be the best at it. If you can find a company that makes the games you love. If you love role playing games but are working for a sports company yes you’re making games but your life is going to be a living hell. Don’t let anyone change your mind about what you want to do.
BBM: What was your first major experience with gaming and how did you know it was for you?
My life changed in 1978 when I played Dungeons and Dragons for the first time. I know its totally geeky but I was sitting around with 6 of my friends. I got really luck my first dungeon master was Bruce Sterling creator of Cyberpunk science fiction. Bruce is a great story teller great writer. A bunch of the other guys went on to write for DC and Marvel comics. We were telling stories together we weren’t being told a story we were telling our story. In the best circumstances we were screwing over the dungeon master we were refusing to do what he wanted us to do. I spend the last 35 years trying to re-create that feeling with my friends.

BBM: Where can fans find the latest info on Epic Mickey?
No one’s ever asked me that before. You can go to Disney’s Epic Mickey Facebook or go to my blog I haven’t updated it in 2 years I’m really sorry. Maybe if people start going to it I’ll update it. Were on twitter just do an online search Disney Epic Mickey 2: Power of two or Disney Epic Mickey 2: Power of Illusion. The games come out November 18 a date that is important for Disney history but I’ll people figure that out for themselves.
Any last words anything you want to add on?
Working on these games I just fell in love with Oswald the lucky rabbit and I’m hoping everyone who read this will help me make him a big star. He deserves a star on the Hollywood walk of fame he deserves to be as big as Mickey Mouse.


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