One of the big surprises at this year’s E3 was Epic Mickey, one of those titles that come out once a year or so that make you remember you still own a Wii, wonder where it is, and debate if you can be bothered to find your remotes enough to play.
Warren Spector (he of System Shock and Deus Ex fame) was tapped to bring Mickey Mouse back for a new generation of kids who knew him simply as the annoyingly happy Disney World mascot, and show him more as the mischievous little scamp that we knew from his old cartoons. Depending on how you played the game Mickey’s appearance would change. Play nice and he’ll be the big, colorful doof we’ve all grown to hate- play selfishly and he would transform into “Scrapper” mickey, the (pictured) mean-looking guy reminiscent of the old black and white cartoons.
But it shall not be! According to the Mainichi Daily News (eh?) a focus group, of all the ungodly things that can happen to a film or game, has forced the elimination of the Scrapper Mickey.
“People don’t like it when you mess with Mickey,” said Spector. “We did a
focus test that was really eye-opening for me. There was a biker dude
saying, ‘Oh, I’d never play a Mickey Mouse game,’ and then we showed him
images of a changed Mickey. I was sitting there thinking, ‘You’re gonna
love what we do,’ but he said, ‘No! Don’t mess with my childhood.'”
So now instead of a different, snarling character Mickey will just appear with a smudged look.
It’s not like Mickey hasn’t appeared in dark material before. Take 1995’s Oscar-nominated Runaway Brain short, for example, which shows Mickey playing a Mortal Kombat-ish game and forgetting his anniversary with Minnie, subjecting himself to a mad scientist’s brain experiments for some cash for a gift. He’s a badass action hero by the end of the short, fighting off a giant monster and saving the girl, and people forget that the character used to have a bit of an edge to him. It’s sad to see that an anonymous biker’s thoughts (someone who would never play the game, no less!) has influenced the game’s design.