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'Epic Mickey 2' player choice to surpass 'Deus Ex' and 'System Shock' says Warren Spector

Disney Epic Mickey 2
Disney Epic Mickey 2
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Warren Spector talks about Disney Epic Mickey 2 at Comic-Con.

Game designer Warren Spector said at Comic-Con this weekend that his next project, Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, may be his most ambitious yet when it comes to player choice. There's so much to see and do, so many choices to make about what to paint — and what to un-paint using thinner — and so many characters to fight or befriend, that Epic Mickey 2 will require at least three playthroughs to see all the game has to offer.

"You can befriend or defeat everything in the game," Spector said, stressing that the choices players make "really, really, really, really, really makes a difference." The impact of player choices, Spector says, are "at a level that will make people forget there was ever a game called Deus Ex or System Shock."

The addition of such extensive player choice is a shift from the first Epic Mickey. Spector told fans that he was concerned that players of the original might not grasp the resulting impact of in-game choices. "Gamers got that choices had consequences," Spector said, "but normal people didn't get it.

"We've seen adult players paralyzed by choice," Spector said, adding that kids tend to spend less time thinking about their choices and focus on play.

"Games have trained players so well not to think. Games have trained people to solve puzzles and kill things."

Spector showed a sample of one boss fight, a battle against a mechanized boss inspired by the Main Street Electrical Parade version of Pete's Dragon, previously demoed at E3 2012. He then showed a portion of Epic Mickey 2's version of Frontierland, which "sums up the whole game in one level," referring to the level's multiple entrances and exits, and the impact of how what's done there can affect the next level players visit.

Epic Mickey 2 will have three main gameplay paths, Spector said, a paint path, a thinner path and a mixed path. He promised "real rewards" for players who dedicate themselves to a particular path, either painting in or erasing an entire level. "And they're really cool [rewards]," he teased.

Spector also promised fans that developer Junction Point has vastly improved the game's camera, a common criticism of the first Epic Mickey. "I'm going to make you a promise: if you play it on the Wii, you'll never touch the camera controls," Spector boasted.

Responding to a fan question about Epic Mickey 2's use of the PlayStation Move controller but not the Xbox 360 Kinect controller, Spector said he's "been thinking about that a lot.

"We thought about implementing some of that in the game," he said. "We did think about having special play modes [for Kinect], but I wanted to give everyone the same play experience, regardless of platform.

"Kinect is really good for when I'm standing in one place, simulating sport or on-rails," Spector explained, but not good for open-world adventure games. He expressed more interest in experimenting with the augmented reality features of the Nintendo 3DS, which is getting its own Epic Mickey game, Power of Illusion.

Spector also said he has designs for one more Epic Mickey game, now that he's added two-player co-op with the addition of a playable Oswald the Rabbit.

"I already know what the third one's going to be if enough of you buy it."

Players can make that particular choice when Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two comes to Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Mac and PC on November 18.