Disney Epic Mickey Primer
In preparation for the impending release of Disney Epic Mickey, the highly anticipated debut game from Warren Spector's Junction Point Studios, we've put together a basic primer on the ins-and-outs of some of the names and places players are bound to encounter in this upcoming animated epic.
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
Created by animators Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks under contract by Universal Studios, Oswald's extensive filmography is fraught with legal battles and creative clashes. With the release of Trolley Troubles, Oswald's 1927 animated debut, Disney breathed life in to this cartoon hare a full year before the inception of his most recognizable creation. But following budget quarrels with producer Charles Mintz, Disney was forced to sign Oswald over to Universal, where he would undergo various visual and vocal re-toolings, evolving from Walt's pudgy lucky rabbit to a clean cut, celebrity voiced studio mascot. In February of 2006, an asset accrual through a deal with NBC Universal would return the rabbit to his original home for the first time in 77 years. Epic Mickey will be Oswald's first on-screen appearance in Disney's original character design since 1930.
Did you know: ...that Oswald has appeared in a 192 animated short films since his creation? Epic Mickey is his second video game appearance, after a minor role in the Brazilian Woody Woodpecker platformer, Ferias Frustradas do Pica-Pau.
You know him, you probably love him, and odds are you've owned at least one bit of memorabilia emblazoned with his iconic ears in your lifetime. The most successful and identifiable of Walt Disney's extensive catalogue of creations, Mickey Mouse was more or less born as a second stringer to the renowned animator's first leading man -- or shall we say, first leading rabbit. He may be a bit more slender, a bit perkier, and a tad more dapper, but a side-by-side comparison makes it obvious: Mickey Mouse is, at the core of his character design, Oswald 2.0. Mickey Mouse made his silver screen debut with the 1928 animated short Plane Crazy, and to this day enjoys an ever-expanding library of animated shorts, feature films, and video game appearances.
Did you know: ...that, not including his appearances in Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts games, Epic Mickey is the animated mouse's 29th iteration as a video game protagonist, and his first original video game story since 2003's Disney's Hide and Sneak for the GameCube?
A creation of famed British fighter pilot and novelist Roald Dahl, Gremlin Gus made his first appearance in Dahl's The Gremlins children's novel and subsequent picture book. Under supervision from Walt Disney, numerous attempts were made at a feature-length The Gremlins animated film since the story's initial 1942 publication in Cosmopolitan magazine, but copyright issues and concept squabbles with the Royal Air Force would lead the film to be scaled down, and later canceled altogether. Afterward, Gus would be featured in several issues of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories under the pen of acclaimed cartoonist Walt Kelly, as well as in Dark Horse's 2006 re-printing of Dahl's original The Gremlins story. Epic Mickey is Gremlin Gus' first animated appearance, where he lives as a citizen of the Wasteland with his gremlin brethren.
Did you know: ...that the aviation gremlin in Warner Bros.' 1943 Bugs Bunny short Falling Hare was based on the same airman's myth as Dahl's gremlins?
A land of forgotten 'toons, abandoned creations, and unfinished ideas, the Wasteland was initially envisioned as a haven for the unwanted and the rejected by Fantasia's Yen Sid. After a mischievous Mickey Mouse knocks a bottle of paint thinner over the wizard's design, the idyllic paradise becomes a barren Wasteland, ruled over by the sinister, bulbous Shadow Blot. Many moons later, the Blot escapes from the Wasteland, shanghaiing Mickey in hopes of extracting a resource very near and dear to the mouse: His heart.
Did you know: ...that many areas in the Wasteland are modeled after real-life parks in the Magic Kingdom? Tomorrowland is re-envisioned as Tomorrow City, New Orleans Square becomes Bog Easy, and the eerie Haunted Mansion is imagined as Lonesome Manor.
The Shadow Blot
An inky amalgam of Mickey's mischief and Yen Sid's magic, the Shadow Blot serves as the primary antagonist in Epic Mickey. A destructive force born of ink and thinner, he rules over the once-peaceful Wasteland with an oozing fist, manipulating its inhabitants to do his wicked bidding. Mickey's adventure begins when the Blot whisks him to the Wasteland, where the mouse is forced to right the wrong he's let loose on the forgotten refuge.
Did you know: ...that, while he's not the same Blot by design, the Shadow Blot is loosely based off Mickey Mouse's original nemesis, the Phantom Blot? The Phantom Blot made his first appearance in Mickey Mouse Outwits The Phantom Blot, part of the daily Mickey Mouse comic strips published from the 1930s onward.
Main Street, U.S.A.
Modeled after Walt Disney's own hometown of Marceline, Missouri, Disneyland's Main Street is the first part of the Magic Kingdom to greet park visitors after admission. Main Street served as the inspiration for Epic Mickey's Mean Street, which acts as the game's central quest hub, and a communal downtown for the Wasteland's many forgotten inhabitants.
Did you know: ...that Walt Disney owned an apartment in downtown Main Street, right above the fire station? It's a small, quant studio, complete with a garden deck, two pull-out couches, and a state-of-the-art grilled cheese maker. According to Epic Mickey creative director Warren Spector, Walt's apartment is a findable and explorable extra in the game.