Years ago, Disney approached Warren Spector, a former Ion Storm developer best known for creating System Shock and the Deus Ex series, with the opportunity to make a Mickey Mouse game. Spector was intrigued with the idea of including a moral choice aspect where players could choose to destroy enemies with thinner or use paint to purge their evil nature and redeem them. He then decided to make this the debut title for his company, Junction Point Studios. That game was Disney’s Epic Mickey.
The game was notable for its inclusion of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a character who was originally created by Walt Disney but legally owned by Universal. When Disney lost the rights to Oswald, he and frequent collaborator Ub Iwerks created the character Mickey Mouse. While Mickey went on to become one of the most famous cartoon characters in history, Oswald faded into obscurity. That was until Disney CEO Bob Iger suggested trading Sportscaster Al Michaels with NBC for the rights to Oswald. Former ESPN president George Bodenheimer claimed that his response to Iger’s request was “Who or what is Oswald the Lucky Rabbit?”
After the exchange was made, Oswald was introduced to a new generation of gamers and Disney fans in the Nintendo Wii title, Epic Mickey. The game was released in 2010 and received accolades from publications such as IGN and X-Play. It was later followed up with a sequel called Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and a handheld spin off called Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion. However, both titles were met with a middling response. Due to the sequel’s critical and financial failure, Junction Point Studios was shut down and Epic Mickey’s planned follow ups were cancelled.
According to IGN, the two cancelled follow ups went far enough into production to produce concept art. Conceptual artist Patrick Block revealed that Donald Duck and Carl Bark’s comics would have played a huge part in one of the titles.
The game was to feature Donald Duck, Duckburg, and the assorted classic world clan. I worked hard on a “Carl Barks” based Duckburg, pulling scenes of the town from his comics and doing my best to keep a 1950’s feeling spirit about the game world.
The other canceled title was an Epic Mickey themed racing game called Epic Disney Racers. Confirmed characters included Mickey, Minnie, Oswald, The Mad Doctor, Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Cruella De Vil. With Disney shutting down its gaming division, it is now highly unlikely that either title will ever see the light of day.