Warren Spector Explains Camera Issues in Epic Mickey

By Garnett Lee, Dec 08, 2010 12:00pm PST Lighthearted as the source material may be, Disney's Epic Mickey for the Wii met with a harsh reception in many quarters (Metacritic shows quite a range in both critical and user reviews). Its camera system received almost universal disdain, even among those who took a liking to the rest of the game. MTV's 'Clutch Blog' caught up with renowned designer Warren Spector, who led the game's development, to get his thoughts on the issue. Here's what he had to say:
But here's the deal, what I try to be completely clear about is that this is not a platforming game. This is a game that takes platforming elements and adventure game elements and role-playing elements and merges them. So we couldn't tune the camera perfectly for platforming or for action adventure. It's a very different camera style. What we did is try to find the best compromise in the moment and give the player as much manual control as we could. So we took the hardest problem in third-person gaming and made it harder by trying to accommodate two different playing styles.

In the full interview he goes into a little more depth about the intricacies of designing a camera for each of these game types. Spector also says that any game can be easily broken if one tries, asserting that some may be going out of their way to create problems. However, by his own admission, the trouble seems rooted in the fundamental decision in the design to straddle two game styles. As Brian found in his Epic Mickey Field Report, the struggles with the basic mechanics make it tough to ever get going in the game.

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  • Whew, that's a relief. I thought the game was broken but it's been my fault all along for apparently trying to break it.

    From now on, I'll avoid doing the following (sarcasm):

    - I will no longer try to jump down before creeping right to the edge, hitting the D-pad to peer down, and then still falling into thinner, bouncing around losing health, and dying.

    - I will also stop trying to break the game by getting the camera stuck in the level so that I'm unable to see Mickey and have to die over and over again to get through a tunnel.

    - I will also avoid trying to get hidden items which result in me falling repeatedly to my death as I try to reach the platform.

    Thank you, Mr. Spector. This is a brave new world of 3D gaming, and I look forward to when we reach the mid-1990s and perhaps a 3D Mario or Zelda might be possible where you can have action and platforming elements in one title.