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Disney shuts down 'Epic Mickey' studio

3:26 PM, Feb 1, 2013   |    comments
'Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two' for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, and PC.
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Disney Interactive has confirmed it is shutting down Junction Point Studios, the developers behind the publisher's Epic Mickey franchise.

In a statement released Tuesday, Disney says the move was part of their broader plan to reorganize their games division, which has published video games ranging from film tie-in Tron: Evolution and racing title Split/Second .

"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," reads the Disney 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."

In a separate post on his Facebook profile, Junction Point founder Warren Spector -- best known for his work on PC classics Deus Ex and Thief -- confirmed the closure.

"I'll always look back on the last eight years with nothing but pride," says Spector. "Rarely have I worked with a team more dedicated or harder working. Never have I been part of a game -- of anything, really -- that touched people at as deep or personal a level as the Epic Mickey games. That's priceless."

Disney acquired Junction Point in 2007 as part of an expansion plan into video games. The studio developed 2010's Epic Mickey, a Nintendo Wii title starring Mickey Mouse as he explored a Cartoon Wasteland and manipulated the world with a magic paintbrush. Players would swipe using Wii motion controls to manuever the brush.

Last year's follow-up, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, added the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 to its platform lineup.

The first Epic Mickey title finished December 2010 as the sixth best-selling game, according to NPD Group. The following month, the Los Angeles Times reported the game sold 1.3 million copies in its first month.

However, the sequel failed to measure up to the original title, despite availability on multiple platform. Citing NPD data, Joystiq reports the game sold just over 500,000 copies in November and December.

Despite Junction Point's demise, Spector maintained optimism for the future. "I said to myself as Junction Point embarked on the Epic Mickey journey that, worst case, we'd be "a footnote in Disney history,'" he says. "Looking back on it, I think we did far better than that."

- by Brett Molina, USA TODAY

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