Today Disney confirmed that Junction Point Studio, the development team that created the Epic Mickey series, has been shuttered. The studio was run by legendary game designer Warren Spector, best known for his work on the Deus Ex series.
In a statement issued to Polygon, Disney explained the rationale behind closing Junction Point, saying “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.” The 160 employees of the Austin, Texas based company were all officially laid off today.
It’s no secret that Junction Point’s final game, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, failed to live up to both critical and sales expectations: the game received mixed reviews and only sold appoximately 25% of what the original, Wii-exclusive Epic Mickey sold, despite being a multiplatform release and being heavily advertised.
With that said, it’s always sad news to hear that people have lost their jobs. While the Epic Mickey games weren’t among my favorites, they did have some really clever ideas and fun levels in them, so there was obviously a great deal of talent working at Junction Point. You can pick up both Epic Mickey titles for less than $60 at this point, and while they aren’t perfect, they are an interesting blend of traditional 3D platforming and role-playing. Fans of either genre should check them out.
It’s unknown at this point if Disney plans to continue the Epic Mickey franchise without Junction Point. Warren Spector has publicly stated many times that he planned to create a new Ducktales game after Epic Mickey, but the chances of that happening now seem even more unlikely than before. Disney seems intent on pushing Disney Infinity as the definitive platform for all of their games moving forward, so perhaps Junction Point and the Epic Mickey franchise were just unfortunate victims of Disney’s new business model.