Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Art of Disney Epic Mickey, a Review

EPIC Mickey was not as big of a hit in my house as I was hoping. I played through about 95% of the game before I gave up in frustration. My boys attempted it, but they found the levels too unforgiving. Needless to say, the game was gorgeous and offered plenty of references, jokes and nods to Disney's animated past.




I was surprised when I learned that Disney was releasing an Art of... book about EPIC Mickey almost a year later. I wondered why they didn't choose to strike when the iron was hot during the game's release.



I received a review copy and was instantly drawn into the book. Lavish illustrations, concept art and screen captures fill every page. Even if you weren't a fan of the game (or never played it), but you love Mickey Mouse or early Disney animation, then you will find plenty to enjoy in this book.

Like any good video game, you start off with an introductory level that explains gameplay mechanics and what is expected. With the Art of Disney EPIC Mickey, Grossman introduces us to the main characters in the real world and the game. After describing the process behind designing the characters for the game world, we are shown each level and how the evolution of the game and the characters grew the world.



The book offers insight into designing a modern game--much more than just designing levels, but designing worlds based upon known properties. Spector and the gang at Junction Point Studios spent a lot of time deciphering the characters and what would make a plausible and convincing world for the toons. It is obvious, through the writing and through the images, that the game could have veered off into several different areas or plot lines and there were levels that never made it past initial game design.



It is a very inspiring work that is a must have for animation fans (and students), video game designers and Mickey fans. What surprised me is how important this book would be to students of video game design. Grossman doesn't give you all of the secrets of creating a hit video game, but he does offer a roadmap of how a modern game is created.








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