Closure of Shanghai Studio, Start of New Adventures

10 years, 10 games, tons of wonderful memories. The Shanghai studio of Spicy Horse Games is closing its doors. The company itself will remain intact, and we’ll continue to operate existing games online. At our peak, during development of Alice: Madness Returns, the studio contained 85+ people. These days we’re down to just 6, and it feels like a good time for a radical shift.

I’m going to turn my focus to indie development and will continue to publish small titles under the Spicy Horse brand. Much of this work will be done in a challenging new environment – aboard my sailboat, bobbing around the S.E. Asia region. This is also where I’ll bring to life Pirate Jam – the game jam on a flotilla of sailboats. I plan to document this new adventure online and in video. If you want to support these new creations, check out my Patreon page.

The past 12 years in China have been incredible. I owe so much to the people who helped build Spicy Horse into a happy place to explore and create. To the hundreds of developers who called Spicy Horse home over the years, Thank You. And to the fans and supporters who enjoyed our efforts, Thank You.

Now, to the next adventure! I hope you’ll all join me along the way 🙂

Comment on this announcement on my Facebook page.

Critter Academy – Android Launch

Spicy Horse is proud to announce the launch of “Critter Academy” for Android devices.

Tower Defense meets RPG meets Deck Building Action with beautiful 3D art. Collect and train Critters. Battle in real time against friends from around the world. Establish a Guild and challenge others in the Tournaments. Defend and rule the Critterdom!

Critter Academy is the most prestigious university in the Critterdom. Students from around the realm travel here to learn the skills and magic necessary to compete in Critter battles.

As your battle skills improve, you’ll travel to new parts of the Critterdom, making friends and battling ever more powerful Critters.

Prepare to be pulled into a story spanning the history of the realm and the origin of the Critters. From the Critter miners in the lowest caverns to the royal family in the highest castles, this tale will take you on an epic journey of power and deceit.


As we enter the 2nd week of 2016, Critter Academy marks the 7th release of a F2P mobile game from the development team at Spicy Horse Games in Shanghai. After 9 years in business, with the last 5 years focused on the development of F2P mobile games. We’ve launched some good games, made a lot of mistakes, learned many valuable lessons. Critter Academy is the distillation of all the learning – and I believe it’s the best mobile game we’ve made to date.

Grab Critter Academy for Android via the Google Play Store.

iOS version is scheduled for launch late January 2016.

Heroes of Night – Soft Launch


Heroes of Night is the latest multiplayer-mobile game from Spicy Horse. It’s now in Open Beta across the globe on Android (except in US, UK, and Canada). This title continues our studio’s exploration of the multiplayer, action, CCG genre – with special emphasis on Guild competition.

If you are on Android and NOT in the US, UK, or Canada, join in the fun:

If you are unable to see it in the Play Store, please be patient. We’ll unlock it for the entire world once we’re through Open Beta (around end of October).

Screenshot_2015-09-15-10-07-30 Screenshot_2015-09-15-10-04-11

A Living Eulogy for Otherlands

Three days, twenty hours until the campaign is over. It’s led a brief but spectacular life so far. Will this weekend find us celebrating its success or mourning its loss? The numbers are so close it’s hard to say. While there’s still a glimmer of hope, I offer you a recap of what we’ve accomplished so far – and a glimpse at what might be if we succeed:

• The Otherlands animation project is born from the ashes of a sacrificed OZombie campaign.

• Autographed DVD’s, Blu Ray’s, Art Books, Posters and more are added as backer rewards.

• Animation Storyboards and Thomas Edison arrive at the 25% funding mark.

• Stop-motion animator Troy Morgan signs on as we reveal Van Gogh’s mind and hit the 35% mark.

• Motion graphic animator Ed Goin joins us as we unveil a series of beautiful Alice lithographs.

• Alice soundtrack composer and musician Chris Vrenna joins the creative team on Otherlands.

• Legendary Hong Kong film director Tsui Hark lends his creative voice and support to the project, moving Alice one step closer to the big screen.

• Otherlands flies into the mind of Hilda Hewlett as we attain 50% funding altitude.

• At 60% funding we peer into the mind of Oscar Wilde.

• Tons of press coverage lands alongside a drama-inducing glimpse inside the mind of Saint Saens (yes, it was made from manipulated Beksinski art, yes it was offered for sale, then not).

• Susie Brann (voice of Alice) and Roger Jackson (voice of Cheshire Cat) announce their involvement as we zoom past the 70% mark and set our first stretch goal.

• And lastly, we present the mind of Bram Stoker as the campaign bites and claws towards 75% of funding.

It’s been a wild ride! A quick and creative campaign racing towards an imaginative goal. The combined talent, creativity and passion we’ve presented throughout the campaign could deliver some truly amazing animation – and make meaningful progress towards Alice’s debut on the big screen.

It’s all here – the creative vision, the proven animation talent, a legendary writer/producer/director of big-budget action films, the “musical voice” of the Alice series, the literal voices of Alice and her grinning companion… A complete package. A full house.

What more could we ask for?

Well, a lot more. We’ve barely scratched the surface of awareness needed to make this thing a success. Alice fans from around the globe are emailing me every hour to say they’ve just stumbled upon the campaign. They heard about it through a friend of a friend. Or when some drive-through customer shouted “Otherlands!” in response to , “May I take your order?”

This campaign will live or die based on how effective we are in spreading the word over the next 90 hours.

Here’s what you can do right now:

Tweet this: @AliceOtherlands, Less than 90 hours to go #Kickstarter

Facebook this: “Alice: Otherlands” is American McGee’s Kickstarter campaign to make a series of animated shorts based on Alice’s latest adventures. Less than 90 hours remain until the campaign ends. Help make it a success:

Then do whatever other crazy stuff you can think of to raise awareness. Get CRAZY!

Speaking of crazy… Did you know French actress Sarah Bernhardt slept in a coffin to better understand tragic roles? Well, now you do! And today’s Otherlands adventure is an illustration of Sarah’s beautiful mind, as rendered by Spicy Horse artist Joey. We’ll be adding this to the campaign, as usual, as an add-on at $65 + $10 for international shipping.

From Shanghai with Crazy in my Brain,


The End is Nigh

Four days remaining with the Alice: Otherlands Kickstarter campaign and we’re at 70% of our goal. We’ll need to make 15kUSD a day to finish successfully, but with the 48 hour notice and “Surge of the Last Days” I think we can do it! The thing is, we REALLY need to turn up the noise on our social, online, friends, and family marketing. So get those fingers tapping and let the world know!

However this campaign turns out, this will be my last Kickstarter. Working with the platform this year has been an interesting experience to say the least. We’ve run three campaigns – Akaneiro, OZombie and now Alice: Otherlands. Each has been unique in terms of content and presentation. The Akaneiro campaign helped us launch a game. OZombie explored the limits of my ambitions and public support while Otherlands… well, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Thing is, I don’t think I’ll ever be willing to run the gauntlet again. As many positive things have come from these campaigns, for me personally it’s a mostly painful experience. It’s tantamount to putting a giant “kick me” sign on my back. “Don’t read the comments!” screams Ophelea (our Community Manager), but maybe the naysayers and insult hurlers have a point? Not that they are necessarily “right,” but when the echo chamber of the majority destroys any and all independent thought, what is “right?”

Someone recently sent me a Lewis Carrol quote:

“If you limit your actions in life to things that nobody can possibly find fault with, you will not do much!”

The man has a point, and so my Kickstarter sentiments are not about my actions in general – just about this particular form of public exposure. Crowd funding is a gladiator’s game. I still think it’s an amazing platform, and one that our industry desperately needs, just not one that’s suited to my temperament, endeavors or (it would seem) my audience.

Speaking of the stage of life… the image you see alongside this post is a peak inside the mind of Sarah Bernhardt, the French actress who has been referred to as “the most famous actress the world has ever known.” This image will be offered via the Kickstarter campaign with tomorrow’s update. You’re getting an early sneak peak!

If you’re looking for a slightly darker mind, check out today’s update – which provides a glimpse inside the mind of Dracula author, Bram Stoker.

Alice Cos-Play Contest

alice cos-players

Calling all Alice cos-players! This is your once in a lifetime chance to truly be Alice. Spicy Horse Games is making a Kickstarter video for “Alice: Otherlands” and you could be selected to appear as Alice. Interested? Then get out your Vorpal Blade and follow these instructions:

* Send ONLY ONE image of yourself dressed as Alice – preferably in her “classic” blue and white dress.
* Image should capture your entire costume from black hair to boot heels.
* Image should be no larger than 2MB. Save in JPG, GIF or PNG format.
* Send via email to: contact (at) spicyhorse (dot) com
* Include name, age, country of origin, contact info and brief intro of yourself.
* All submissions due by 5/20/2013

* Must be able to travel to Shanghai, China during June 2013 for the video shoot (have a passport, be of legal age to travel, etc).
* Must be English speaking (able to read lines for the video).

Please DO NOT do these things:
* Do not send other requests, applications for other work (art, sound, video, etc) or anything unrelated to this contest! If you aren’t an actual Alice cos-player submitting for this contest, then limit your interaction with it to the comments on this post!
* Don’t post your submission images to my Facebook page or send them to me via Facebook messaging.
* Don’t send suggestions for people you think should win or be in the contest.

Failure to abide by these guidelines will result in disqualification.

NOTE: This contest DOES NOT mean the “Otherlands” project will definitely happen – we’re still working on deal-making which could stall or fall through altogether.