In Other News – 22 July 2014

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Disney shuts down Junction Point

SadMickey

Oh dear. It looks like the fickle gaming industry has taken another victim; this time it’s Warren Spector’s Junction Point, the folks behind Epic Mickey. Disney’s confirmed that they’re shuttering the studio as it no longer fits the company’s “priorities.”


“It was with much sadness that we informed our teams today of changes to our Games organization, which include the closure of Junction Point Studios,” Disney shared in a statement “These changes are part of our ongoing effort to address the fast-evolving gaming platforms and marketplace and to align resources against our key priorities.

“We’re extremely grateful to Warren Spector and the Junction Point team for their creative contributions to Disney with Disney Epic Mickey and Disney Epic Mickey 2.”

The truth is that Epic Mickey, on the whole, was an epic failure. The first game, confined to Nintendo’s Wii was almost genius in concept, but held back by old technology. Its multiplatform sequel should have been much, much better – but somehow the studio managed to make things worse, producing a game that just wasn’t any fun to play. Despite launching on two additional platforms – the PS3 and Xbox 360 – Epic Mickey 2 sold worse than the Wii original, shifting just 529,000 units in the US.

Like other Warren Spector games that were written as trilogies – like System Shock and Deus Ex – the third instalment of Epic Mickey likely won’t happen.

“The Junction Point journey is over,” Spector lamented in a Facebook post. “To all those who’ve asked, or want to ask, I’m sad but excited for the future. I honestly don’t know what that will be yet, so don’t ask.”

“I’ve had some of the most magical times of my life, fulfilling several life-long dreams. I’ve gotten to know Disney fans and Disney cast members, gotten hands on with Disney’s history, walked where Walt walked,” he said. “‘Magical’ really is the only word.”

Disney new focus, as far as games are concerned at least, is in its new, intriguing and ambitious Disney Infinity, which looks to be a blend of Skylanders, LittleBigPlanet and Minecraft.

In an ideal world Spector would be snapped up by Irrational Games, and he and Ken Levine could get to work on a new System Shock.

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Author:Geoffrey Tim

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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