Alice: Otherlands – Updates & Status Post

The “Alice: Otherlands” Kickstarter campaign is CLOSED.

If you are a Backer and need to change your mailing address for Backer Rewards, please do so via Backerkit.

If you were not a Backer, but are interested in the physical Backer Rewards, please read the following:

Due to legal restrictions we are NOT able to offer physical items (Backer Rewards) for sale outside of the Kickstarter campaign. That means if you missed out on the opportunity to back the campaign you cannot buy the physical backer rewards.

If the the situation with the legal restrictions changes, I will post an update via Kickstarter and here in this post.

Please note that the digital content (animations and art book) WILL BE released to the public, for free. It’s the physical items we cannot sell outside of the Kickstarter campaign.

Current estimated release date for physical items (Backer Rewards) is sometime around October 2015 (yes, we are late!). Digital assets will be released, for free, around that same time. As soon as we know how/when we’ll be releasing the digital assets, an update will be posted here, on Kickstarter, Facebook, etc. Please, do not write asking about timing for release of the digital assets. All info on this subject will be posted to the KS page.

A final note regarding physical rewards: We cannot sell them, but there are no restrictions on giving them away for free. I will try to find ways to link these items to other things you might purchase from Spicy Horse or Mysterious. Keep on eye on my Facebook, Twitter, and this blog for details on future offers.

For more info on the project and its progress, please read the campaign updates on Kickstarter.

Here are the post-campaign updates that have been made for 2014, 2015 (and some of 2013):

October 20th, 2015 – Arrival of Physical Rewards
September 16th, 2015 – Mid-Production Update
August 22nd, 2015 – Pulling the Trigger
August 4th, 2015 – Off to Manufacture-land
July 7th, 2015 – July and The Final Stretch
June 9th, 2015 – Animations Complete!
April 15th, 2015 – The Art of The Art Book
March 24th, 2015 – The “No Update” Update
Feb 11th, 2015 – Happy Chinese New Year – Year of the Sheep
Jan 8th, 2015 – Happy New Year 2015!
Dec 24th, 2014 – Happy Holidays
Nov 10th, 2014 – Quick Update
Aug 5th, 2014 – One Year!
July 11th, 2014 – Noble Pursuits
Apr 17th, 2014 – Eyeballs, Tentacles, and Monsters
Apr 17th, 2014 – My Apologies
Feb 21st, 2014 – Missing Posters Follow Up!
Feb 18th, 2014 – Progress and Possibilities
Feb 10th, 2014 – Time to Find the Missing Posters!
Jan 23rd, 2014 – Dude, Where’s My Poster?!
Jan 9th, 2014 – 20,000 Leagues into Otherlands
Dec 16th, 2013 – Get Those Walls Ready!
Nov 15th, 2013 – A Night at the Opera

There are additional posts, going back further in 2013. To read them, please follow THIS LINK.

If you have additional questions not covered by this post, please send them to me via Kickstarter.

To everyone who backed the campaign and has expressed interest in Otherlands, Thank You!

24 Hours Remaining – Alice: Otherlands

Just 24 hours remaining in the Alice: Otherlands campaign. A few days ago it might have looked like we weren’t going to make it. We were all freaking out, right? This morning (in Shanghai), with 24 hours remaining, the outlook is MUCH MORE POSITIVE. At the current rate we’ll hit our funding target and then some. Yay!

Thing is, we’ve got to keep freaking! The most important thing you can do RIGHT NOW is spread the word. Tweet, post to Facebook and wave the flag.

Tweet this: RT @AliceOtherlands, Less than 24 hours to go #Kickstarter

Facebook this: Less than 24 hours remaining to make Alice: Otherlands a reality. Support Alice’s next adventure down the rabbit hole –

Our directors are getting excited too. Troy wrote me this morning to say he’s been dreaming about exploring the mind of composer Richard Wagner while Tsui Hark is working on ideas for an adventure into the mind of Van Gogh. The success of this campaign is going to quickly enable these brilliant directors to take us on some very wild rides.

Meanwhile, my talks with various financiers, distribution platforms and other people who want to help continue to advance. This is shaping up to be something really special. And in another 24 hours we’ll know if we’ve done it or not…. what am I talking about? Failure is not an option! Let’s do this thing! 🙂

Today I’m going to give you with a couple of promotion images. If you’ve not done so already, swap out your Facebook cover image (banner) with either of the two provided here.

And if you’ve not yet done so: BACK THE PROJECT.

“Best Art Direction” for Alice: Madness Returns

MSNBC Tech has awarded Alice: Madness Returns a “Best Art Direction” award for 2011. Alice had some serious competition for the honor, going up against some of the year’s biggest and most beautiful games, including:
* Rage
* Batman: Arkham Asylum
* El Shaddai
* Skyrim

Landing this prize speaks volumes about the continued rise in high-quality AAA game development being seen here in China – and specifically in Shanghai. For years, Western developers and publishers utilized China as their outsource art asset factory. And over time the artists, animators and modelers here increased their capability and creativity – with a game like A:MR being wonderful testament to the sort of surreal, imaginative and detailed work the Chinese game industry is now capable of.

Large-scale AAA console games often spend 50% or ore of their budgets on art alone. Alice:MR was no different. Of a 65 person internal team, nearly half were working on “art” (animation, 3D, concept, effects). Another 45 artists spread between 4 different outsource studios contributed the bulk of 3D asset production for the game. This “near sourcing” of 3D asset production meant we could outsource 98% of all 3D artwork for the game to local outsource teams.

Not only did this model produce impressive results, it was reliable, cost-effective and creatively engaging for all involved. Geographic proximity meant that the outsource teams felt like a true part of the larger art department. And one of the shining examples of effeciency and creativity was outsource shop “China West Coast“.

Kudos to Spicy Horse’s internal art team must be shared with outsource groups like China West Coast. Without the seamless and effective integration of the internal and external art pipelines – and the beautiful work being produced by all – the game would never have attained placement among the year’s other AAA titles.

Awesome work by all involved. Thank you, Spicy Horse art team and all the outsource groups like CWC who did the creative heavy lifting!

If you’re interested in using CWC on one of your AAA projects, you can learn more about them HERE.

Bigger Budgets != More Quality

Read on today of an interview with Romuald Capron, COO at Arkane Studios of his views on budgets and team size as they relate to the creation of quality games. He says of smaller teams and outsourcing,

“I think that’s a good way to maintain reasonable budgets, and I think a lot of companies are coming round to this way of working right now,” he continued. “They’re realising that having 200 people in a studio – okay, it can work for ten months of scheduled development, but is it the way to make a triple-A game?

“Maybe they could re-organise and say, okay, let’s keep to a three-year schedule again, but with less people – and more polishing at the end? At some point I’m not sure the markets can follow as fast as the development costs.”

From where I’m sitting it’s great to hear solid developers touting a method of production that we’ve been utilizing at Spicy Horse for the past 4 years. All of our 3D asset production is outsourced (nearly 99% of it) to nearby outsource shops like China West Coast and Nuke. These guys become a virtual extension of our team (greatly benefiting from the fact that we’re all in the same city) – allowing us to produce and wrangle content like a 150+ person team while maintaining an internal core size of less than 65.

There’s a lot to be said for simplicity in production teams – higher communication, accountability and quality output being the three most obvious benefits.

As 2nd-hand sales and piracy continue to threaten the viability of larger-budget games, this sort of thinking will become more and more critical to publishers and developers alike – the simple fact is that cheaper games (which maintain AAA quality) are better able to survive the drag placed on them by things like 2nd-hand sales and piracy.

Read the full article HERE.

Alice: Madness Returns @

Madness Returns - Wired Front Page writer Chris Kohler did an interview with myself and RJ Berg where we talked about Alice: Madness Returns. From the article: Since this will probably be many people’s first experience, I’m guessing you’re crafting the game in such a way that you don’t need to have played the original to enjoy it.

McGee: Yeah, but there’s a definite need for us to honor and answer to the existing audience, people who’ve been loyal fans to the property over the years. We’ve done our best to blend together into the story elements from the first game. This is a natural sequel, a narrative sequel to the first game. So we get back in there and people who know the first game are going to have a lot of reward in terms of seeing locations that they may have seen before, characters that they knew from the first game. But it’s certainly not a requirement, bringing this game to console for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 players, for them to have played the PC one.


Alice as a cover girl

GamePro is going all-out and featuring our very own Alice on the cover of their September 2010 issue.  According to the article on their website, Will Herring will be discussing the early previews of the game during his 14-page feature.  Will visited with us in China recently to get the scoop straight from the Horse’s mouth.

In addition to the overview of Alice: Madness Returns, Will also delved into the complex world of tracking the evolution and permutations of the intellectual property of Lewis Carroll’s slightly-addled heroine from the original stories penned in 1865 on through the movie treatment at the hands of Tim Burton.

For us, it’s excellent to be able to talk about the game finally, and even better to listen to everyone else talking about it, too.  If you missed the original announcement this past Tuesday, EA released the first teaser – and we’re all in agreement that it does tease!  If there was any question about it’s impending rating, we’re hoping that clears it up.

Get ready to snatch up your copy at the end of July.