Tag Archives: EA

A Message to Fans of Alice

American here with a special message to Alice fans: I know we’ve been spamming you hard with notifications about my new project, “Out of the Woods.” But with only 10 days remaining in the campaign, I really need YOUR support. Why?

First, because I need the freedom to make NEW things unrelated to Alice and not controlled by EA. New projects allow me to remain independent, to run my own small studio, and to hire other creatives to output art, animation, music, and design. We can use that output for new projects, but also to revive the Alice franchise. I can’t do that if I’m working for someone else. I can only do that if I’m working for YOU.

Second, because if another Alice is going to happen it’ll likely be through some form of crowd-funded development. If I can show EA the fans will get behind a crowd funding campaign in a big way, I can make the case that a new Alice game could be funded in that way. Trust me, they are paying attention to this new campaign and its outcome is CRITICAL to Alice’s future.

My future and the future of Alice is in YOUR HANDS. If just 1% of the people who follow the Alice: Madness Returns page supported “Out of the Woods” at the lowest tier level ($35) the campaign would fund instantly. I could get to work on new projects and on building a campaign to take Alice on another trip down the rabbit hole!

Don’t just sit there thinking “other people” will read this and lend their support. YOU are the key. YOUR action will make the difference. If “other people” haven’t lent their support yet, that means they are reading this thinking the same thing, “someone else will make it happen.” That someone else is YOU!

Please, fans of Alice, supporters of my work, back the Out of the Woods Kickstarter today. Right now. Because my future and the future of Alice depend on YOU. Thanks.

Where is Alice 3? – Will there be an Alice 3? – New Alice? – Alice Sequel?

“Where is Alice 3” “Where’s the new Alice game?” “Will there be an Alice 3” “Alice Remaster!”

I get this question constantly. Several times per day. Across YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and via my InReach satellite messenger. My dog has even learned how to ask this question via Morse code farts.

My hope is that this post will become the top search result for this question on Google and that you’ve arrived here after a Google search. Reading this, you won’t need to send a message to me directly asking any of these questions. That would be great.

So, to answer the question:

1. EA own, control, and decide the fate of the game rights to Alice. That means any new game must be green-lit, funded, produced, published, and distributed by them.

2. No, EA will NOT allow me (or anyone else) to crowd fund, raise investment for, or otherwise self-develop, self-fund, or self-publish any interactive version of Alice.

3. I HAVE NO CONTROL over the Alice rights, EA’s decision-making process, or anything at all related to Alice, Alice merchandise, Alice adaptations, etc, etc.

4. EA are aware that you’d like a new Alice game and that RJ Berg and I would be happy to assist in the design, writing, and development of such. We simply need to wait until EA think the time is right for a new game.

5. There probably WILL BE another Alice game before we all die, but your requests, ideas, and harebrained schemes to make that happen faster should be sent to EA, not me.

6. No, I cannot put you in touch with “that person” at EA. Tweet at them. That’s what I do.

7. Please, stop asking me this question or questions in general related to a new Alice game. Again, I have no more control over this situation than you do. Tweet at EA.

Hope that clears that up.

Update (September 4th, 2017): I’ve decided to build a pitch for ALice 3. Add your name to the Mailing List to show your support for a new project. I can’t promise the pitch will result in a new game, but we might as well try, right? Also, this really doesn’t change any of the points above. And this would have nothing to do with a re-master or re-release of the previous games. SIGN UP HERE.

While we’re on the topic of Alice, many of you write expressing your confusion about Alice: Otherlands. That project used the Alice FILM rights, which are not controlled by EA, and was funded via Kickstarter. All goals were achieved and all rewards delivered. If you’d like more info on this film/animation project, please check out the Kickstarter page.

NO, I do not have a demo of Madness Returns. I don’t have access to any of the removed content. And I am VERY frustrated with the small group of fanatic trolls who continue to bring up this topic and pester me with questions about it. Please, stop. At this point, I’ve begun blocking any person who persists in questioning me on this topic, so you’ve been warned.

Last thing: I REALLY appreciate the passion everyone has for the Alice series. I want to see a new game as much as you do. Apologies if this message comes out sounding frustrated or angry, but the amount of traffic I get on these questions literally impedes my ability to put effort towards new ideas and new projects. I don’t want to ignore the questions, but I do wish the volume would lessen. I appreciate your understanding.

PS: If you want official merchendise and Alice-inspired stuff, check out Mysterious.

PPS: “Out of the Woods” is my NEW GAME! A table top card game, illustrated book, coloring book and collection of art prints inspired by ten classic fairy tales. You should back it on Kickstarter because doing so will make EA think more about a new Alice game!

You Can’t Escape

While engaged in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) over at Reddit, to promote our Akaneiro Kickstarter, I was asked about my experience working with UK-based Shy the Sun on the trailers for “Alice: Madness Returns”. You can see a compilation of the three trailers in question via YouTube. My Reddit post follows:

They are fantastic in terms of creativity and capability. If you check out the trailers they did for A:MR, all you can say is “Wow!” What was frustrating was how EA Marketing interfered – telling STS from the start that ALL creative direction and final say would come from them, not from us (the developer/creator of the story/tone). That resulted in trailers that were much darker and gorier than the game … and that was a calculated disconnect created by EA. They wanted to “trick” gamers into believing A:MR was a hard-core horror title, even though we refused to develop it in that tone. Their thinking is, even if the game isn’t a hard-core horror title, you can market it as one and trick those customers into buying it (while driving away more casual customers, like female gamers, who might be turned off by really dark trailers). It’s all a part of the race to the bottom EA, Activision and the other big pubs are engaged in. Expect to see it get worse before it gets better.

To my surprise, this ignited a firestorm of press coverage from the game media. It attracted a few pissed messages from EA. Some readers have even suggested this has killed any possibility of my ever being employed by a game publisher again.

Allow me to expand on my original post while at the same time making a correction (call it a retraction if you like). “Tricked” is the wrong word. I take that back. Apologies to EA and anyone else whose feelings were hurt. Electronic Arts doesn’t trick customers into buying things. They carefully apply proven marketing techniques to achieve the desired customer response. If they were bad at this sort of thing they’d have been crushed by their competitors long ago and you’d be playing Madden Football from Activision or Atari or something.

We live in a world full of marketing. Marketing tells us the “2013 Land Yacht” is more stylish, powerful and awesome than last year’s model. Or that a certain toothpaste is going to get us laid more often. That a wrist watch will finally force the world to understand just how adventurous and manly we are. Or that a game contains lots of blood and guts – even when the creators don’t think that’s the primary selling point. “Alice: Madness Returns” does contain a lot of the stuff you see in those trailers, but my concern was that the main character was being portrayed in a way I felt didn’t align with her character as I understand it.

Beyond that, there has always been and likely always will be tension between publishers and developers over stuff like this. Truth is, publishers are giving audiences what they want – again, if they weren’t they wouldn’t stay in business very long. Maybe I don’t agree with where gaming content seems to be going – but isn’t that the prerogative of aging creators? To complain that things are too loud, too bright or too fleshy?

At the end of the day, I’ve got (well, had) a good relationship with EA. They helped put my name on the map. They funded two of my favorite creations. And they helped me bring strikingly original content to a gaming world that often seems dominated by bullets and boobs. I can’t and don’t fully fault them or their marketing for whatever the “Alice” games might or might not have done sales-wise. As a developer, do I grumble into my beer about how it could have been different if only… ? Sure do! But I also recognize my own faults, and actions which are to blame for things not being 100%… or for inadvertently igniting firestorms.

Call this a mea culpa, an apology, a clarification or a cop-out if you like. My feelings around these topics are nuanced and complicated enough that I myself barely understand them most of the time.

The firestorm, for your reading enjoyment:

American McGee: EA tried to “trick” gamers into believing Alice: Madness Returns was a horror title

http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2013-01-21-american-mcgee-ea-tricked-alice-customers

http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/american-mcgee-says-ea-tried-to-trick-gamers-with-alice-the-madness-returns-marketing/0109592

American McGee: “Marketing of Alice by EA Showed a Calculated Discount”

http://www.gameplanet.co.nz/pc/news/1020691.20130122.EA-tried-to-trick-gamers-regarding-the-tone-of-Alice-American-McGee/

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2013/01/mcgee-ea-misrepresented-madness-returns/

http://www.examiner.com/article/dragon-age-3-publisher-tricked-gamers-says-mcgee

http://www.gamepolitics.com/2013/01/21/spicy-horse-founder-offers-tough-criticism-eas-marketing-over-alice-sequel#.UP3hZSdBCSo

http://www.cvgworld.com/2013/01/21/american-mcgee-ea-wanted-to-trick-gamers-with-alicemr-marketing/

http://www.explosion.com/18638/american-mcgee-claims-ea-tricked-alice-customers/

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/121620-American-McGee-Blasts-EA-Marketing

http://www.gameplanet.com.au/pc/news/1023412.20130122.EA-tried-to-trick-gamers-regarding-the-tone-of-Alice-American-McGee/

http://www.i4u.com/2013/01/customers-alice-ea-american-tricked-mcgee

http://ewallstreeter.com/american-mcgee-ea-quot-wanted-to-trick-gamers-quot-with-disingenuous-marketing-7378/

http://www.dealspwn.com/american-mcgee-ea-wanted-trick-gamers-disingenuous-marketing-127090

http://www.onlinewelten.com/games/alice-madness-returns/news/absichtliche-taeuschung-american-mcgee-kritisiert-werbekampagne-electronic-arts-118902/

http://www.gamesblog.it/post/89829/american-mcgee-critica-ea-per-i-condizionamenti-subiti-nello-sviluppo-di-alice-madness-returns

http://www.gram.pl/news/2013/01/21/american-mcgee-narzeka-na-wspolprace-z-ea-przy-produkcji-alice-madness-returns.shtml

http://blogocio.net/american-mcgee-arremete-contra-ea-por-publicidad-enganosa-en-alice-madness-returns-no-62142/

http://www.eurogamer.pt/articles/2013-01-21-ea-tentou-enganar-os-consumidores-com-alice-madness-returns