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Warren Spector: Disney should "absolutely" go back to games

The developer helped bring Epic Mickey to life through Junction Point Studios, and still sees the game as a big accomplishment in his career.

Warren Spector is known for games like System Shock, even working on the third one right now, but he also helped create the Epic Mickey series for Disney through Junction Point Studios, which was closed back in 2013.

In a new interview with Video Games Chronicle he has spoken out about the closure of the studio, which was followed by the closure of the Disney Infinity studio Avalanche as well, as part of Disney shedding their gaming efforts.

"I am hugely regretful," he said. "I had to take six months off. After Junction Point shut down I was devastated. I just sat on the couch and watched TV the entire time. I put away all of my Disney shirts, my Disney socks... I was devastated."

"Working at Disney was the best experience of my professional life - and the worst experience of my professional life. It was both."

Spector also goes on to say that Disney should "absolutely" continue to make games, and move back into that space. "With the properties they control, I think just being a licensing organisation is a real shame."

"When I joined Disney I said, 'why doesn't Disney own video games? We should own it.' And I do think that we made some strides towards that," he continued. "Whatever the core gamers think, the Epic Mickey games actually sold very well and whatever other people think, I'm hugely proud of them. Deus Ex and Epic Mickey are probably the two games I'm most proud of for a variety of reasons."

"One of the reasons I wanted to work on a Mickey Mouse game was so that I could take the idea and philosophy behind games like Deus Ex, Thief or System Shock and reach a larger audience. And it worked pretty well — Epic Mickey was the best selling game I've ever worked on by far."

As for Disney Infinity though, Spector says that there was potential there:

"I think the stuff that Avalanche was doing towards the end with Disney Infinity was a step in the right direction. We were turning things around and just at that moment their commitment to internal development went away. It's very frustrating to me because I think if they had stuck with it a little bit longer, things would have been OK.

"There were people at Disney Interactive who didn't like games and didn't get games. I think that was a large part of the problem."

Earlier this year Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the company is "good at making movies and television shows and theme parks and cruise ships and the like, we've just never managed to demonstrate much skill on the publishing side of games," and that they're happy to leave the making of games to people like EA, who makes Star Wars titles.

But if Disney were to return to gaming, would Spector consider coming on board? "I have a day job now so I can't really act on this, but if they ask me to come back I would go back in a heartbeat. I love Disney. I love the company, I love the properties, I loved working there," he said.

Do you like Disney titles like Epic Mickey?

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