The Return of Alice

Alice - Snail Fight

Alice Sequel – Snail Fight Image

Waking up in Shanghai this morning I’m greeted with a flood of emails, facebook messages, and phone calls. The world now knows what we here at Spicy Horse have known for some time: We’re making a sequel to “American McGee’s Alice” with Electronic Arts (EAP to be exact).

Not much can be said about the new project at this time. We are building it here in Shanghai. RJ Berg, who wrote the original and served as Executive Producer on the project, will reprise that role. The game will be delivered on PC, PS3, and 360. More details will come later of course. Until then, you can read the official press release. Or read EA’s official news blurb.

For me and the studio this obviously represents huge news. The original Alice was a good bit of fun – and aspects of the original are still quite compelling. The challenge for us – to build a great game, and a sequel worthy of the original – is real, but not daunting. Over the past few years we’ve assembled a really amazing team. I have full faith in their ability to create something amazing.

For me, this is a dream come true. The project will be fun, the studio can grow (and move – check out my flickr for pics of our new space), and we’ll eventually ship something unique. Lots of potential wrapped up in this news – I know I’ll be doing everything I can to make something great of it.

Check back here or in the forums for future updates. Can’t say I expect there to be much more news for a while – probably months. But if it’s allowed, I try to post some project updates, art, etc.

Also, a quick word of thanks to everyone at EA, EAP, CAA, and Weissman Wolff for everything they did to get this deal done.

And, we’re still looking for a few good people to join the team at Spicy Horse. Check out the hiring section for more info.

79 thoughts on “The Return of Alice”

  1. I’m a HUGE fan and a painter,

    and i loved the concept and the arts but the game itself was a shoot-em-up game, without complications or puzzles, i suggest add some.

    and whatever you do DO NOT make Alice into a sex-toy.

  2. This is the best news I’ve had in AGES! The original is possibly my favourite game ever…I’m SO excited right now. 😀

  3. I know you can’t comment on munch right now, but I couldn’t help but notice that the hiring section of the Spicy Horse Web site has a listing for a Unreal 3 programmer. I’m guessing this return to Wonderland will be based on this engine?

  4. This sounds like a great (and complicated) deal. Congratulations.

    …A quick question: The hiring section is rather stark; are you interested in US-based new hires? (That is, I’m don’t mind relocating, but I’m assuming that Spicy Horse is still preferring hires that are already in China and I’m wondering if I should try sending a resume or not…)

  5. Hi American, have you read any Alice works (canonical or not)? I think you and the guys and gals at the ‘Horse could (and should ;)) find inspiration and tips on what to do and what not to do by reading books like Looking-Glass Wars, Alice through the Needle’s Eye and Automated Alice. Perhaps the original stories too!

    Best of luck to all involved studios. Seeing this news when coming to work was quite a nice surprise.

  6. That’s the greatest news of these days in the videogame industry!
    I think Alice was a masterpiece!

  7. “American McGee’s Sequel” jokes aside…sir, I thank you.

  8. I liked the idea of the first game, very creepy and surreal. But in today’s gaming landscape, I think it will be hard to make a game like this stand out. My humble suggestion, and take this idea if you like it, would be to render this game in an illustrated style, light outlines on black canvas. Not only will that reflected better on the source material, but it will help this game stand out stylistically from other games like Condemned, Fear, Silent Hill and Resident Evil.

  9. Hey, that is great news. Hell, I registered just to congratulate you. I’m not actually much of a fan on most Alice re-interpretations (like the whole Looking glass wars), but the Alice videogame was just amazing, it deviated enough from the source material to be interesting, but it was close enough to it to avoid loosing track of the essence of Carollian fantasy, albeit with a dark twist.

    I know you probably don’t need any suggestions, but maybe you would like to try listening to Tom Waits’ “Alice”, he has the kind of dark and fantastic songs that seem to go along well with the whole theme of a darker version of Alice. It’s also a kickass CD.

  10. Is there any information who will be working on the soundtrack? I really hope it will be Chris Vrenna.

  11. I love the original Alice, the style and feel to it was epic even though I’d only stumbled across the game a year ago. I just fell in love with the art work, especially the appearance of the Cheshire Cat. This picture above has reminded me of the style and feel from when I played, the industrial steam snail looks awesome as a antagonist for Alice to run into. A derelict lighthouse over a murky ocean just suits as the perfect setting. Just… ZOOOMMGGG. *Has a fit of joy*

    I hope this Alice is a lot more grim though, perhaps even gorified. The original was dark but didn’t feel dark enough, perhaps that’s my lateness to the fray and already witnessing many other dark pieces of work. Regardless, I simply hope that the atmosphere is captured well in this as the last and that gameplay is tied in well with it.

    I hope the choice is made to have the entire game feel grim too, I was slightly annoyed from the cheerful ending. Call me a killjoy, but I felt it would conclude with Alice falling into a realm of madness after defeating the Queen of Hearts, her physical self in the mental institution entering a comatic state with her eyes glued open staring upwards at oblivion.

    I’ll anticipate the second iteration of Alice in any case, the picture above just seems like a taste of amazing art work to come. I wish everyone at the studio with the best luck on this project.

  12. OmG!! I can’t believe what I read. You really did it, a new part will be made! Amazing, you just read my wishlist, American. We all owe you one, pal X3

  13. I hope that the control scheme will be similar to games like Prince of Persia, not like first Alice or Grimm 🙁

  14. So, if there are comments not only on English X)))
    Безумно рады этой новости)) ждали чёрт знает сколько лет этого момента, и вот – аллилуйа! – наши молитвы были услышаны))))
    Надеемся, что голоса будут те же. Потому что голос Чеширского Кота прекрасен X)
    So, here’s on English:
    We’d gone madly happy, when we heard this news)) We were waiting so long for this moment, and – hallelujah – our prayers were heared))))
    We hope, that voices will be the same. ‘Cuz the Cheshire’s is amazing X)

  15. Well, I’m not sure what I should think right away. Firstly, I’m really surprised but also pretty happy. An opportunity to return to a twisted, phantasmagorical and totally rebuilt world of Wonderland is something that I’ve subconsciously desired for ages. But…

    For me American McGee’s Alice was a title that represented these games that are so stunning that they don’t need sequels, any add-ons or anything else. The games such as the first Unreal, the first Quake, Grimm Fandango, Bioshock (this one, unfortunately, for a very short time), your Alice and a couple of other games were benchmarks, gems in their genres at the time they came out. They didn’t need next episodes; unfortunately some of them had or will have.

    So as I said I’m a bit torn now — part of me wants this game as hell, but on the other hand I’m also afraid about this pretty long break between the first episode of Alice and its sequel. And this is my first question to you, don’t you think that eight years period, that brings dozens of changes both in graphic and in gameplay, wouldn’t have a negative impact on the new Alice? I think here about a similar situation to Doom 3, where some people expected bloody and fast shooter — as the two previous episodes were — but the industry had changed so much that id had to adapt their vision to the new situation.

    And the second question, that can seem to be a bit of off topic: I just wonder how your announcement may influence the BaiJiu Racer release date? Do you expect any delay, will you develop two titles concurrently or are you going to cancel the BaiJiu Racer project?
    An finally, after a big hooray, some of the gamers can notice that that there’re some uncertainties, and that the title they know for a very long time can differ from what they expect. But I m sure that with such a great team as you’ve gathered around you, all of my doubts will just go away and we’ll get worthy successor of the queen of all TPPs.

  16. I do hope that Chris Vrenna will be returning to do a new score. The original music were master pieces. Take your time McGee. We are all hoping that this game can live up to its predecessor.

  17. Cthulhu, I hope for the return.=\
    Макги will deserve the death penalty if will not make this game by a masterpiece.
    The first part was magnificent, I till now it i pass . In Russia it is a lot of fans of this game. This news has inspired all. The truth which what scepticism has observed. To whom it is interesting – http://alice.3dn.ru

  18. I’m so happy! ~^o^~ It’s also given new like to the Alice fanclubs on Deviant Art. There’s always been a steady flow of AMA fanart on DA, but when the game comes out, the damn will burst!

    & with the new game comming out, there’s more hope for that movie we’ve been waiting forever & ever for.

  19. I’d like to remind Tyb about the huge generation gap between “Sam & Max Hit the Road” & “Talltale Games Sam & Max.” Both were very successful & will remained burned in thememories of those who played them till their dying days.

    Just think of American McGee’s Alice 2 in that way.

  20. Cthulhu, I’ve never played Prince of Persia, but if the controls & camera work with a mouse & keyboard like Holic, then I agree. Gawd, Holic might get boring after 3 days, but it had the best mouse camera ever *_*

  21. This such a great news!The game back in 2000 was amazing I can only imagine how cool it will be with all the material you have acces now in 2009! I only hope the game will be as good as the first one (tough spicy horse team is amazing so I don’t have any doubt). FOr the soundtrack you should try to contact the Stolen Babies they have a very “dark wonderland” music style.
    Anyway can’t wait for the sequel!
    Good luck with this project c:

  22. answer 1: i don’t think the movement of technology or games in the years since the original alice necessarily means the sequel is going to suck. the team here is spending a lot of time to play the original, read people’s thoughts on what made it work (or not), and apply those lessons to the new design. if anything, the new tech will mean an even more beautiful wonderland. and we’re being careful not to stray too far from the original story/design.

    answer 2: bjr development shouldn’t be affected by alice 2. we’re still looking for a publisher for bjr. but when/if that project begins in full, it will be with a completely different team inside spicy horse. not using the same people who are working on alice 2.

  23. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089908/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Return_to_Oz
    http://www.waltdisneysreturntooz.com/
    http://www.classicbookshelf.com/library/l_frank_baum/glinda_of_oz/5/
    http://www.oz-central.com/bk%20site/b15_glinda.html
    http://ozrpg.50webs.com/flathead.pdf
    There should be an Oz game! Three reasons: Dorothy almost gets electrocuted in Return to Oz and there’s also an evil headless princess. Last, you can blow Flatheads to bits. These monsters have their brains exposed!

  24. Hello, American! I was just so high when I reading this news!
    I’m very curious about that if you have decided the players to play the voice of characters in the game…I agree with someone above that Cheshire Cat’s voice’s amazing>.<!!!

  25. LISTEN TO ME AMERICAN

    IF YOU ARE GOING TO RUIN а GRREAT GAME

    I WILL HATE YOU SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!

    good luck

  26. im so excited i didnt know what to do especially since it will be available for other systems. ive been an alice fan since i cn remember (im now 32) i just picked up another series called the looking glass wars and for the last 3 years have been working on my american mcgee based full backpiece tattoo. im sure this will be nothing less than amazing

  27. I loved Alice game just replayed it but am not buying anything made by China.You totally suck American McGee.

  28. Mr. McGee, I beg you not to use the Unreal Engine 3. This crap-of-an-engine makes my computer suck(( Maybe it just doesn’t like my system…
    And, please, don’t use your Grimm Fairy Tales’s visual style – I think it wouldn’t suit Alice.

  29. I just randomly check this blog in my bookmarks… and this!!!!!!!

    This is amazing. I loved Alice. And like with the Final Fantasy series, this will be one game I will get even if I don’t have the PC to play it… just to keep and treasure until I get an upgraded PC 🙂

    I can’t believe how happy this news makes me. It’s odd. Just need a sequel to Beyond Good and Evil and I’ll die happy 🙂

  30. I’m very excited to hear this – thank you! The first one was so great, I can’t wait to see what you’ll do in a sequel. Yay!

  31. “Not buying anything made in China”? Please, do me a favor – look at where your mouse, keyboard, monitor, and computer were manufactured. Now check the label in your clothes. Next, look at the manufacturing country of the appliances in your kitchen, the TV in your living room. Now, repeat the “not buying anything made in China” nonsense again. Might help you make your point if you first stripped naked and burned down your house.

  32. If the US were filled with people like you, the answer would be yes. Fortunately, you are of a select and clueless minority. At least for now.

  33. Words cannot express how happy this makes me. I’ve been a fan of the story for as long as I can remember, and enjoyed the game immensely.

    I’m an avid collector of all things Alice related, and you can be sure this [along with the first game] is going in my top three.

    I look forward to hearing about the latest developments, and even more so for a release date.

  34. WoW! I in really happy with this. Alice was my favorite game. I hope this sequel can be too amazing like the first! Thanks for this new and keep going on with this game!!
    Abour the story… Do you going to invented new mythos or re-use the tales of Lewis Carrol? Please use the hunting of the snark, this time not like a simply fish but a mayor boss… Alice could had softly and suddenly vanished away. For the Snark was a Boojum, you see. Good luck, I’m waiting for this release.

  35. Finally, finally!!!! Thanks thanks!!. This will be great, I´ll be waiting for it

  36. This is terrific news, I absolutely loved the original game. I’ve got just one gripe about it though, which I hope I won’t have about the sequel. The weapons in the original always came off as being ineffective and weak, which really held the game back in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, the sound, visuals, and overall atmosphere were incredible, I still get chills when I see the statue in Pool of Tears, but the weapons were always frustrating to use. For example, the knife was slow and it’s range didn’t reach far enough when the player used its primary fire. The cards were a bit too weak, and Alice always threw the jack-in-the-box bomb too far, which afterward would take too long to detonate. I don’t know, maybe I just wasn’t very good at the game…but I can’t help but think that the Alice would’ve been much better if the weapons were more powerful, or at least gave the impression that they were. Anyway, best of luck, can’t wait for the sequel to come out, I’m sure it’ll be great.

  37. I read some of the story about the waitress and her ex-husband and honestly, it seemed kind of bland theme to me. It sounds like a generic Psychonauts level setting compared to the story the original game had.

    I think I would much prefer a remake of that story instead of a sequel to it.

    I say this because “crazy waitress with an ex husband” versus “Charles Dickens” is a no-brainer.
    I say Charles Dickens as that’s what the original portrait it to be: comedy inside grief.
    There was a lot of irony in the game, especially in the briliant paper diary of the psychiatrist that treats her, (inside the manual), because alot of the real stuff Alice was experiencing actually happened during that day an age.

    I loved how the story seemed logical, how outside elements played a rule, but special outside elements only a really heavy trauma could cause. In this case: the fire just outside of Alice’s bedroom, killing her family while she was left alone.
    It made you forget that a real fire sets your house ablaze in a matter of minutes because it sounds so logical for a child to stop crying and play in her own world, formed for her own protection and not out of inherid madness.

    Thát story, including it’s grey setting that was based on vagueness and plot twists, made you forgive and forget the things that didn’t make sense.
    I fear this story, because of the not-so-original retro setting and humor, may not have that kind of impact.
    There aren’t that many people who will sympathize with a waitress and a divorce without breaking the story into stereotypes and 80’s sketches.
    The child during the crisis period of Dickens, where abuse, discrimination, tests on people with limitations, orphanages and unemployment were common place, helped keep things serious and that kept the irony in the story, which in turn made the “reader” feel a whole range of emotions he or she had little control over.

    This setting will not have the effect that is required to make a good Alice story.
    I predict it will be more like Folklore and Pandemonium (another classic during the time Alice was created), and if it’s heavy on the emo visions and retro reality stuff it could even be like Persona. With a little Beyond Good & Evil mixed in for lighthearted comedy characters and the occasional battle against a large opressor.
    (aside from the game genre elements)

    Funny, memorable, and I’m sure it allowes for a large world with, EA’s obvious goal, lot’s of DLC options; but a true sequel to a real classic: therefore not a heavy hitter and the very reason we all have mixed feelings about a Grim Fandango sequel.

    But we’ll see how this turns out.
    I just hope it`ll be more than just a Devil May Cry fantasy, with the occasional vague Assasin’s Creed cutscene “because the game has to be original”, but with a knife wielding waitress who just hates men.

    On that note:
    just make a game about a killer.
    Just a killer. Who kills for money.
    Nothing else.
    Just real life: no weird clones, time warping, twisted minds.
    For once I would like game designers to stick to reality without breaking away from it by having to make absurd reasons for their characters to act the way they do.

    Seriously: people kill for less, but an ex husband, even an abusive one, is not consistent enough with the cause of the heavy trauma she suffered to trigger it again this seferly. And if it also triggers a violent nature in her, it just becomes more and more stereotypical.
    And I doubt Alice from the orignal would have any chance of getting married and getting a job after the Dickens era shock therapy if she came out of it in the first place. Hell: even the healthy people couldn’t get a real life that easily back then.

    Sorry, just had to get that of my chest. I hope it`ll be something unique, but since I’m reluctant to picture the Alice from the first game as a ginger haired waitress with a crappy relationship, I really hope you guys know what you’re doing.
    It is not a Postal game nor is it Psychonauts. Please do not go overboard with the clichés. I beg you.

Leave a Reply