Tag Archives: Alice

Leviathan – The first Otherlands Script

We’re heading into the mind of Jules Verne! Alice: Otherlands director Ed Goin has submitted a script (which I think is brilliant) for the animated short in which Alice will explore the mind of Jules Verne. As a part of the process in developing and creating these animations, we want to keep you, the audience and Kickstarter backers, involved. So here for your reading pleasure is Ed’s script:


Take a read, soak in the meaning, then read again. When you’re ready, feel free to send me comments and feedback. I’ll make sure Ed hears what you’ve got to say. For my part, I’m really happy with what he’s doing. The concept of “Leviathan” is one that is very near to the evil Alice seeks to destroy in Otherlands. Verne’s role in shaping mankind’s destiny as a part of that battle is a powerful one.

In the Mind of Verne

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 kck.st/16F4yvT

Facebook this: Less than 24 hours remaining to make Alice: Otherlands a reality. Support Alice’s next adventure down the rabbit hole – kck.st/16F4yvT

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.

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.

Are you ready to lose Alice?

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you believe in Alice and her Wonderland. The question is – have you proven your belief by supporting her latest adventure?

Let me share a secret with you… I’m worried. I’m worried about Alice’s future. Why? Because a fan recently wrote me and said, “I’m going to sit this one out. I don’t care about the Otherlands animations, I just want the game.” This made me realize that I really need your help to save Alice. I wrote back and explained, “The success of the Otherlands project will prove the value of Alice to people who think the audience just isn’t there.” “I get it, I love Alice, but I can only give you $5,” came the response. It warmed my heart and made me realize it’s your passion that keeps me tied to Alice. The project gives me reason to get up in the morning, but if that support doesn’t come then I feel there’s little to motivate me to keep going.

People just like you are backing. They are making a difference.

Here’s what I need you to do: I need you to keep the long term picture in mind. I need you to back this project in any amount. Why? Because this isn’t just about the Otherlands animations – it’s about showing the world the importance of Alice and her Wonderland.

There are 11,000 people following the Alice: Otherlands Facebook page and over 30,000 people seeing posts from that page. If each of those people lent just a little support, our campaign would fund successfully in a matter of hours. We could show the world once and for all how important Alice is to us.

Won’t you help me do that?

Support Alice now!

Alice: Otherlands (Kickstarter Video Sneak Peak)

Pssst. Want to see something cool?

Check out the video for the “Alice: Otherlands” Kickstarter before the campaign goes live. Depending on approval time, it should go live this week (week of July 15th, 2013).

This new campaign will help support our efforts to secure the film rights to the Alice property. If the campaign is successful we’ll produce animated short films where Alice is seen traveling into the minds of others (hence “Otherlands”).

To see the new video, click HERE.

Kickstarter Backer Q&A #2

I’ve decided to start posting many of our Kickstarter updates here to reach a wider audience and hopefully disperse some of the misunderstandings that seem to be making the rounds on various news sites.

1. I read in the news you’ll need additional funding beyond Kickstarter… Is this true?

It’s common practice to set Kickstarter funding goals at amounts less than what’s needed to completely realize every possible aspect of a game’s potential. Like other video game campaigns, we’ve stated that funding above and beyond the campaign goal will be used to create more content and support additional feature development. From a design perspective, if we ask for 900k but end up with 2 million USD, that would allow for expansion of the design goals and development scope. If we come in closer to 900k then we’ll develop and deliver a smaller game that fits within that budget. The design is expandable to allow for this sort of thing.

In terms of publishing deals and their ability to support continued development of our games – there are many territories in the world where we’re unable to self-publish. China is a good example. So we’d need to sign up a publishing agreement with a Chinese publisher and they’d support localization, marketing and publishing efforts in that closed market. Those kinds of deals sometime come with up-front license fees paid to the developer (that’s us) and we can use those fees to support overall improvements and ongoing development for the game. In markets where we’re able to self publish we will.

2. What is Plan B if the Kickstarter doesn’t make it?

Sometimes you have to kill your babies. For OZombie, it would mean the end of my efforts to design and develop it. I see Kickstarter as an excellent platform for testing the viability of a game concept and understanding the potential for customer demand. If the Kickstarter doesn’t make it that’s a pretty clear sign that there aren’t enough people interested in the concept to support developing, releasing and maintaining it. I want to build products that I’m excited about – and I’m very excited about OZombie – but also products that clearly excite our audience.

For our studio it means we’ll continue working on smaller, mobile/online titles like “Akaneiro: Demon Hunters” and “Hell Invaders” (this is the mobile/web title we recently signed with DeNA – not the final name of the game). I’m not as involved in the design and development of those titles, which means my day to day will focus on running the studio and our business. We can’t currently fund on our own the development of a larger single-player title like OZombie, so making that kind of game will have to wait for some future date.

3. When will we see gameplay videos? Every other Kickstarter has gameplay videos.

When we designed and planned the campaign we did so thinking a gameplay video wouldn’t be necessary. Successful campaigns from Double Fine and InXile (among others) have proven this point by pitching game concepts using only 2D artwork, basic design outlines and the track record of their development teams. And, I figured – incorrectly it seems – that saying “We’re going to make an Alice-type game set in the world of Oz” would be enough to fire people’s imaginations.

In response to feedback from backers on this topic we’ve decided to build a quick demo to show character interaction and art direction within a simple environment. Unfortunately, this sort of thing is just as likely to cause confusion and outright damage, as it is to allay people’s fears. This is one of the dangers in sharing early development efforts and “work in progress” – something we’ve seen happen repeatedly when sharing concept artwork and design exploration.

I’m hoping existing and potential backers will be able to view our efforts in context of the pressures and constraints that have shaped the final result, but you know what they say about hope.

4. How does Alice affect OZombies goals? What if you only raise $950k and part of that is “Alice” money?

That really depends on those backers who have put in money primarily to support the idea of purchasing the Alice film rights. They always have the option to remove their support – so it seems we’ll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it. In that sense it’s the backers who control the campaign and decide its fate. That’s the wonderful thing about Kickstarter.

5. Why did you sell the Alice game and film rights to begin with?

The “Alice” property was never mine because I created it while being employed by Electronic Arts. Generally speaking, when you create or invent something while working for someone else (like a corporation) that creation is automatically their property. I even signed away my name in connection with Alice – meaning EA could make another Alice game and put my name on the box, even if I were uninvolved or dead.

The film rights were first optioned, then purchased outright, by a group of independent film producers in Hollywood. Again, this was a transaction that took place between EA and those producers – I had no involvement in it and didn’t benefit directly from that sale. Why EA would sell the film rights to one of their most popular original IPs is a question you’d have to ask them.

What’s happened recently is that those film producers offered me a chance to acquire the film rights before they put them on the open market and sell them to the highest bidder. This was a kindness on their part, recognition of the fact that a property’s creator should have greater involvement in the decision making process that leads to exploitation of the property. Our mutual expectation was that fans would recognize and agree with this fact. I guess the question is – who would you rather have controlling the film rights? The concept’s creator or some faceless corporation?

If I’m unable to raise the money needed to purchase these rights then they’ll end up in someone else’s hands – who knows, maybe EA will buy them back? I wouldn’t be surprised.

6. Why not run a separate Kickstarter for the Alice film rights?

The timing simply wouldn’t work. When I received notice about the film rights I was told that there was a limited window of opportunity. Beyond a certain date the rights would go to the open market. That date would be beyond the end of the OZombie campaign, but we didn’t finalize the deal to start working with these rights until after the OZombie campaign had already started.

This is one of the reasons I’ve built “The Box” into the OZombie campaign – it’s an interesting way to announce expansion of the campaign in the event one of these deals closed during the campaign. Since we’re still working on a couple of potential surprises we can still have an interesting reveal when the box is finally opened. I’m actively working to put in place some exciting partnerships around the Alice film rights. Just hoping I can get those deals done and make meaningful announcements before time runs out.