Can Mickey dethrone Mario as Wii champ?

Disney wants to turn Mickey Mouse into a games icon as big as Mario with new title Epic Mickey.

The title, announced by the publisher to journalists from around the world at a special unveiling in London last week, is a Wii-exclusive.

Disney is planning to use the Wii demographic to effectively re-launch the Mickey IP after admitting that the character had lost some of his appeal.

Mickey is the world’s most famous character. But in games he hasn’t achieved his potential,” said Graham Hopper, head of Disney Interactive Studios.

So Disney has charged famous games designer Warren Spector, creator of Deus Ex and Thief, to create something that appeals to a variety of audiences – and does justice to the iconic mouse’s heritage.

Disney told me to make Mickey relevant to 13 to 24-year-old boys: don’t lose the kids or parents, but make him relevant to gamers,” Spector told MCV, saying the firm is banking on Mickey having the same appeal to the Nintendo audience as the likes of Mario, Link and Sonic.

Added Spector: Imagine trying to convince people who want to be Master Chief or a thug in a crime game to be Mickey Mouse. But when you think about the great characters on Nintendo platforms – Mario, Link, even Sonic now – it feels right from that perspective.”

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