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Warren Spector Interview: 'Disney Epic Mickey'

A Game That Can End in Hundreds of Ways and Make You Cry in All of Them


CH: To ask ... I have to slightly insult your previous games to do this.

WS: They were ugly? They were buggy?

CH: No, I felt with both Deus Ex and Deus Ex 2 that the ending just seemed like, well, we’ve run out of gameplay, let’s just give some sort of ending. It wasn’t like you were, “wow, I played through this game to get to that ending.” It was like, “wow, this game was really cool, the ending was ... eh.” I’m wondering since you’ve got all of Disney behind you, is there more of an attempt to get a slam bang ending, or anything?

WS: Let me talk about Deus Ex and Deus Ex 2. I knew I wanted multiple endings, and on Deus Ex what I didn’t want was for players to make a choice early in the game that would drive them to an end game they couldn’t even imagine. So what we did was we had a completely linear game that in the very last mission sort of branched. And that was pretty weak, but it was the best I could think of back then, and the best anyone on the team could think of. So that’s why we did that; we wanted different end games. And at the end of the day I think it worked pretty well. Because it might not have been slam bang but it did get people talking about not, “I beat the boss monster,” but what should the world look like. And that got into arguments and discussion that had relevance to the real world, and I thought that was really cool.

In Invisible War we decided to let players change their minds about what faction they were supporting at any point, which I think weakened the choices you were making. That was our big fatal flaw.

In this game we’re – okay, I’m trying not to reveal too much about the end game yet – but the end game is a direct result of what you did in the game from start to finish, especially in regard to how you interacted with critical characters and their problems. And so everybody’s end game – that’s an overstatement – there are literally hundreds of ways the end game can play out. And it’s not that there’s a branch. It’s that the game is really tracking your play style. And it’s constructing ... I’m going to stop, because I’m revealing too much.

Anyway, the bottom line is, I think if you asked me what the most powerful parts of the game are there are two parts of the game that really sing for me. The whole game I think is terrific obviously but there are two that sing for me. One is a level that I’m not going to talk about because I want players to really experience it for themselves. And one is the final mission. I mean I think the last hour of this game is really powerful and really challenging. And when you get to the end game cinematic – I don’t even care what anybody else thinks. I don’t care what you think, I don’t care what she thinks ... I described this to my wife as the finest thing I have ever been associated with. I’m not saying great, I’m not saying spectacular, I’m not saying breathtaking, it is a fine thing. And I mean I’ve watched it so many times and I literally cannot watch it without choking up.

CH: If you have multiple endings, does this mean all endings lead to the same cut scene?

WS: I’m not saying. I’m not saying. I’m not saying. Just know that what you’re doing during the game makes a difference, and have your hankies ready.

Next: Storytelling, Creating Experiences, and the Need For More Swagger

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