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American McGee tests the waters for third Alice game

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American McGee is best known for his American McGee’s Alice video game, a nightmare version of Alice in Wonderland published in 2000. And now he is testing the demand for a third game based on the Alice franchise.

In a blog post, McGee said he will start work on a proposal for the next chapter in Alice’s adventures, tentatively titled Alice: Asylum. He said the proposal would include art work, design outline, and the financial plan and business model.

“When this proposal is finished (and assuming all the numbers and constraints make sense) it’ll be sent to EA. You can show your support for this effort by signing up to the mailing list below,” McGee wrote. “Let’s show EA how many people want a new Alice game!”

In an email to GamesBeat, McGee said he had collected more than 6,000 sign-ups in 12 hours, not to mention a lot of news, shares, and social media interest.

“I’d say the reaction is pretty solid,” he wrote. I’m testing the waters off the back of the success of “Out of the Woods.”

Above: American McGee in 2013, while he was at Spicy Horse Games.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

McGee is currently working on Out of the Woods, a fairy tale tabletop card game and book. He successfully raised $259,744 on Kickstarter for the project, which is scheduled to be delivered in 2018.

“That project led to me doing livestreams on YouTube during which there’s a lot of great interaction with fans,” McGee said. “There’s a constant barrage of questions regarding the next chapter in Alice’s adventures and I can’t seem to convince the fans take accept ‘it’s up to EA.’ So I figure I’ll start spec’ing out what the next chapter might look like – open that conversation to the fans during the streams – and see where it leads us.”

EA published the original Alice, which was McGee’s dark take on Alice in Wonderland, made memorable by images of Alice holding a bloody butcher’s knife. In 2011, EA also published a sequel, Alice: Madness Returns, a new psychological horror action-adventure game. McGee’s Chinese game studio, Spicy Horse, developed the game and EA published it across the consoles and Windows.

More recently, Shanghai-based Spicy Horse worked on a number of games, such as Akaneiro: Demon Hunters. McGee toyed with making a zombie version of the Wizard of Oz, but he canceled the campaign due to lack of interest, and he worked instead on a series of Alice short films. In early 2016, Spicy Horse had some layoffs. At the time, McGee said the company was pivoting away from free-to-play games. But he then confirmed that the company, after a decade of operation, would shut down in July 2016.

McGee has said before that EA owns the rights to the Alice franchise, and any decision to make a game based on Alice has to be made by EA. McGee is evidently trying to gather enough public support to show EA there is real demand for a third Alice game.

“I’m essentially a ‘free man’ now that Spicy Horse is shut down,” McGee said. “That puts me in a position to build stuff from scratch without the overhead and pressures related to running a full-blown studio. Seems like a good space in which to explore future projects. To be clear: I have no idea where this might lead, what sort of design/plan might come out of this, and whether or not something viable can even be modeled or pitched. But I suppose it’s better than sitting around and waiting?”

The PC Gaming channel is presented by Intel®‘s Game Dev program.



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