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The Epic Art of Epic Mickey

Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em
Fine ArtFine ArtFine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you’re in the business and have some art you’d like to share, get in touch!

For all the awesome art found in video game production—so awesome we run this regular feature on it—not too many publishers go to the trouble of releasing big, fancy coffee table books showing said art off. Which is a shame!

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So it's nice seeing Disney do just that with the better-late-than-never release of The Art of Epic Mickey, celebrating a game that may not have been that great as a game, but which was damn pretty to look at.

If you're wondering why we're looking at this now, well, the book's only just come out. And if you're wondering why the book's only just come out, you should know that video game concept art is a trickier field than it appears. A lot of art gets stored under lock-and-key by publishers and never sees the light of day, and artists often have to get permission just to share works they themselves created.

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So art being released almost a year after the game hit shelves isn't that rare!

The stuff you see here is all in the book, which isn't just good for the art. It's also got a ton of commentary on the creation of the game and the artistic process behind it, including a lot of input from designer Warren Spector.

While they're not given much individual credit in the book itself, you've got three artists to thank for most the work you see here: Shawn Melchor, Tony Arechiga, A.J. Trahan and Jordan Lamarre-Wan.

The Art of Epic Mickey retails for $40, but if you look you can find it for a lot less than that.

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Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists. If you're in the business and have some concept, environment or character art you'd like to share, drop us a line!

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You can contact Luke Plunkett, the author of this post, at plunkett@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.

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Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em
Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em
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Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em
Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em
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Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em
Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em
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Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em
Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em
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Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em
Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em
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Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em
Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em
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Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em
Illustration for article titled The Epic Art of emEpic Mickey/em

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DISCUSSION

I remember people complaining A LOT when the game first came out about how certain locations from the concept art didn't make it into the final game. I mean come on, that's the whole point of CONCEPT art! Just because it's there doesn't mean it'll be in the final product.

And for all the concept art that was made for this game, I'm glad to see it getting released as a book. It's some damn good art! And some of it's also unlockable in the game too if you can find the sketches hidden around the game world.

And some areas REALLY did live up to their concept art in terms of freak out factor.

Mickeyjunk Mountain was my favorite level, which looked like some kind of horrific Mickey Mouse garbage dump with nothing but merchandise everywhere! The symbol for the level is Mickey Mouse wearing a toxic gas mask (no kidding!), and has some of the best details I saw in the game. It was a treat seeing gigantic cartridges of Mickey Mousecapades (NES) and Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse (SNES) as part of the giant merchandise heap.

The other level that I felt really lived up to the concept was the final level. I won't spoil what or where it is, but in this level, you run into some of the Wasteland townsfolk that have been completely "merged" with the Blot. They look like horrific mutations/zombies of their former selves, like something with "No mouth, yet I must scream". Truly eldritch abomination looking!

And what's more, you CAN'T kill them! Just avoid them! They are truly a reminder about what would happen should Mickey fail.

So it may not have lived up to all its concept art, but what did make it in was pretty good. My only lament is that you couldn't revisit ALL of a past stage once you complete it, only part of it. This meant that on a few occasions, you'll only get one shot to do it right. But given the morality system at play, that might have been intentional.