Warren Spector hails Epic Mickey as 'a real labor of love', says he's got an idea for the third entry but the day job makes that 'impossible'

Mickey Mouse looks at a kingdom on a table.
(Image credit: Disney / THQ Nordic)

These days Disney has its fingers in everything, but not so long ago the company was firmly in its old lane of animation powerhouse and theme park operator. With videogames in particular, Disney struggled to do much beyond licensing its characters, perhaps the biggest success being the collaboration with Square Enix that resulted in the Kingdom Hearts series. 

In the mid-2000s something changed, and Disney decided to grasp the nettle and make its own big-budget game with its most iconic character: the House of Mouse had acquired Junction Point Studios, a dream team founded and headed up by Warren Spector, and Epic Mickey began.

The idea behind the game had been floating around Disney for a while (though it hinged on re-acquiring the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit), and there was real passion behind it: Epic Mickey turned out to be one of those games where the artistry and concept just about make up for what's lacking in execution. And that's despite Disney eventually choosing to target the game at the all-conquering Wii platform, a beautiful console to be sure but one that saw Nintendo stubbornly sticking with SD as the rest of the industry transitioned into the HD era. The upcoming remaster, Epic Mickey: Rebrushed, will give this vision the fidelity it's always been screaming out for and likely bring it to a bigger audience than ever before.  

Warren Spector remains best-known for his work at Looking Glass Studios and on Deus Ex, so directing Epic Mickey was something of a change for him too. Spector's now posted about the announcement of the remaster on LinkedIn (first spotted by Nintendo Everything), paying tribute to the designers and the project as a whole.

"I can’t begin to describe how excited I am that Disney Epic Mickey is coming back on Switch and other platforms," says Spector. "Everyone on the original team as well as the Purple Lamp and THQ Nordic teams that worked on the remaster did a great job bringing the game to life.

"The teams on that project were fantastic—it was obviously a real labor of love—and every team member can take pride in the fact that we created something that—like just about everything Disney—is evergreen. Being part of the company’s ongoing legacy of delivering family entertainment that lives on for decades is more than I could have hoped for."

Spector also has a little parting shot to make Epic Mickey fans smile: "Only problem is they didn’t mention Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. That poor little guy can’t get no respect!"

Spector has previously discussed his work on Epic Mickey, and in doing so mentioned that the game was conceived of as a trilogy. Junction Point would go on to make Epic Mickey: The Power of Two, and begin early work on a third entry, but things changed and it never happened. In response to one of his connections asking about the third game on the above post, Spector replies:

"I'd love to do Epic Mickey 3 but I have a day job that would make that impossible. I actually have a high-level idea for what I'd do in a tri-quel. Don't worry what I'm working on is pretty darn cool and OtherSide is looking to hire for that project and one other we're working on."

There is some indication of where an Epic Mickey 3 would have gone originally, and buckle up because this is heartbreaking: one idea was to go full-on Donald Duck. Even before Epic Mickey Spector had ideas for a game involving Scrooge McDuck and the wider Duck-verse (is that a thing?), and early sketches exist for a third game that may have been called Epic Donald.

"The game was to feature Donald Duck, Duckburg, and the assorted classic world clan," wrote Disney concept artist Pat Block in 2016. "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."

Whether that game would have been Epic Mickey 3 or its own thing is unclear.

Well, we're never going to see what Junction Point would've made of it: though if Epic Mickey's re-release goes well, who knows what lies ahead for the wider concept. It clearly won't involve Spector in the near future though: he's going back to his roots, and beavering away on an immersive sim.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."