When is a dress like a house?

Dear Patrons, 

I think it would be interesting to share with you all the intimate details of pre-production work going into Alice: Asylum. In keeping with that idea I’m going to share email exchanges with the pre-production team when I think you’d find them valuable. Here’s an exchange with Joey (illustrator) regarding the next batch of images I’d like her to create. 

Please let me know if this sort of content is of interest. And feel free to share your questions and feedback in the comments below. I’ll go through your feedback and questions during the next live stream. 




The edited face is better. I still don’t think it’s exactly the way young Alice should look but it is OK for now. We also showed the face to fans (during yesterday’s live stream) and most felt the same way. We expect Alice’s face to be sharper, thinner, and the skin more white and clean. There’s also something about the eyes… they should be more fierce – not so hurt or damaged looking. No matter what she’s been through, Alice is always strong. We need to reflect that in her eyes. Finally, the teeth… you drew them so they look like “rabbit teeth” which is very distracting. 

These are things to keep in mind for later or when you find spare time to return her face. 

For now… Can you please move to some new images? There are two things I would like you to try… 

First… Alice in Wonderland. We want to see Alice, 13-years old, back in Wonderland. She returned to Wonderland from the asylum after the fire has destroyed her home. This is likely her first journey back since the fire. This Wonderland is from before the first game (American McGee’s Alice) so things aren’t so broken (yet). To start we want to try showing something very beautiful and inviting. You can use the first Wonderland shot in Madness Returns as reference for the Wonderland surroundings…

One of the key elements in this environment was the children’s toys. Dominoes, jacks, etc. You can consider including those sorts of children’s toys in the scenery as well. Making it a “vale” – a lovely natural scene – is good as this feels like a safe, attractive, and interesting place where we’d like to begin a journey. It is inviting. 

For Alice herself… we have some interesting questions to tackle. Because this is 13-year old Alice we need to consider how this is reflected on her dress. Probably there shouldn’t be blood on her. And the alchemy symbols will need to be different to reflect the earlier period in time. We use alchemy symbols to reflect the position along Alice’s psychological journey but I’ve not yet outlined the story enough to know exactly how I want this represented… for now, just use the symbols for Fire and Sulfur on her dress… 

For her necklace, we saw her wearing an “Alpha” symbol in the first game and an “Omega” in the second. Again, these represent a phase in her journey. In “Asylum” she’s still pre-journey, having just suffered the loss of her family and perhaps not having really faced the hell she’s been thrown into. She’s come through the fire but not yet been reborn (which happens at the start of the first Alice game). She is very likely in denial. As such, let’s give her a Chaos symbol for her necklace. You can play with various designs, but here are some examples of typical chaos symbols: 

Lastly, I think it makes sense that she retain the basic shape and silhouette of her dress but perhaps try rendering it in muted or black/white/gray colors? She’s just been through the fire, been psychologically burn to ash, and it would be interesting to see her clothing done in the color of ash (gray, white, black). Can you give that a try? 

As always keep in mind how much people enjoy using Alice for cos-play 😉

Second… The Cheshire Cat. He’s always first to greet Alice upon her (re)-entry to Wonderland and Asylum won’t be any different. But he probably should be, like Alice, different. At the start of AMA Alice remarks he’s “gone mangy” which suggests she doesn’t exactly recognize him in the form we see him in there (tattooed, earring, scars, etc). We know he’s been in Wonderland “on his own” while Alice has been in a coma. He’s watched as time has passed and Wonderland has changed – and he’s changed too. 

So, we need to take him back in time and reflect the changes… but in such a way as we still recognize him as “our cat.” Does he still have tattoos? Maybe he’s just made to look like a kitten version of his older self? Something like this… a “tiny” Cheshire Cat might be cute? Does he gain his tattoos as Alice moves through this new game (this journey transforms him to some degree)? Lots of questions to consider… 

It’s a bit of a challenge and I’d like you to try creating several variations on the cat – a younger cat, a plumper cat, etc. Keep in mind we’ll want the cat to retain the voice of Roger Jackson. Thinking about that… it would be cute to hear Roger’s classic Cheshire voice coming out of a kitten-like Cheshire. 😉 

That’s it for now. I look forward to what you come up with next! 



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