Off the Map in China

Off The Map in China

Off the Map in China

Gamasutra has posted an interview by Christian Nutt with your truly. It begins with…

Famous for his work with id Software and on EA-published cult classic Alice, American McGee set up shop in Shanghai, China, in 2007 with his new studio, Spicy Horse. Though the company’s first game, Grimm, for the GameTap digital service didn’t make a big splash, McGee maintains that developing the game was instrumental in setting up a tightly-run and efficient organization in China, one which has helped him reexamine the very process of developing games.

In fact, McGee suggests that most of what developers know about working in China is wrong. He suggests that process can lead to a crunch-free environment and great quality games — his team is currently working on a sequel to Alice for EA, for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

Says McGee, “EA has talked about trying to figure out how it is we’re doing what we’re doing, because clearly they’re looking at what we’re doing and they’re seeing us hit all the milestones and come in ahead of time, and come in high quality, and everything that they could ask for from a development team. [But] I don’t know if you could export it.”

Christian and I go on to talk about life and work in China, cultural and development impacts on starting and running a studio in Shanghai, and more. You can read the full article here.

Also, if you’re interested in some of the thinking that originally inspired me to move to China, I suggest you check out “Affluenza: The All Consuming Epidemic” The book examines how American culture has become obsessed with consumption – and how it’s destroying people’s ability to be happy with themselves and what they have.

Grimm Episode 22 – Thumbling

Thumbling Horse Profile

Horse Cross Section

And here you thought Grimm was finished! Well, I would have thought so too… I mean, he was *supposed* to be finished a few weeks ago. But it seems the guys over at Gametap needed to put the final episodes on hold while they revamped their site. So Grimm had to wait, but wait no more!

Behold, Episode 22 – Thumbling! To say this is a twisted episode would be a huge understatement. Just one look at that bit of key concept artwork, and you’ll know where going places no previous game has gone before. Probably with good reason.

But this episode, like many of the final-season episodes, has brought together a tight collection of the best game play mechanics, art production, and narrative delivery. In short, this is a great (if gross) episode. Head over to Gametap and check it out.

Direct link to the episode @ Gametap: HERE

And be sure to tune in next week when we deliver THE FINAL EPISODE!

Grimm Comic Episode #2

Issue 2 Cover (Templesmith)

Templesmith Grimm Cover

Dwight MacPherson wrote to let me know a new episode of the Grimm comic books is on its way. He sent along this little blurb:

Chaos ensues as Grimm enters the romantic comic book world! Join Larry and Sally as they struggle to survive a flesh-craving duck attack, a senile taxicab driver and an army of puppies to be together. Will true love be enough to conquer Grimm? I wouldn’t bet on it!

Issue 2 will be available in comic shops in the United States in June.

If fans want to pre-order the book, they can do so through their local comic shops, or through online services like, or

I’ve read through the final book – and had a few good laughs. The content continues to do a great job of skewering well-established narrative themes. Something we all know Grimm is great at in the fairytale world. Fun to see him doing his thing inside (literally) the pages of the comic world.

The Grimm End is Near

Grimmvite Poster

The Grimm End is Near

Well folks, after 2 amazing years of innovative and exciting development, Grimm production is wrapping up. To celebrate, we’ll be hosting a Grimm “wrap party” at Spicy Horse, this Friday the 13th of March (appropriate, no?). If you happen to be in the neighborhood, stop by to enjoy pizza, drinks, and some Grimm-themed games (who can pee the furthest, make it stinkiest, etc).

Approaching this milestone in Grimm development fills me with a bizarre mixture of emotions. It’s always good to see a development through, finish it knowing all milestones were met, schedules kept, and a good game (or episodes) were delivered. Grimm is no exception. Grimm also brought with it the creation of a new studio in Shanghai, the building of a tremendously capable team, and the evolution of a beautiful company culture. We learned a ton, took some knocks, delivered some interesting content, and came out the other side – with a cool new project to show for it!

I’m really proud of Grimm. I’m even more proud of the team that built Grimm. Every person who contributed to the project deserves to be applauded for how they made the product (and the studio) into what it is today. Awesome work!

There are still a few new episodes yet to come. Be sure to check them out over on Gametap – some really fun stuff coming up!

Grimm Episode 17: Frog Prince

Frog Crowned

Ribbit! Frog Prince.

Grimm’s Back! And this time he’s brought along a bucket-full of slimy friends. Episode 17 visits “The Frog Prince”, and kicks off the final season of 8. We’re heading towards the finish line… hard to believe we’ve made it this far.

If you’ve not yet had a chance to check out Grimm, or only saw him back in the early days, be sure to play through these later episodes. The team have really pulled out all the stops, piled on all the tricks, and created some truly spectacular episodes. This batch is by the the best yet.

Check out Episode 17, “Frog Prince” HERE.
And check out all the other Grimm fun HERE.