American McGee turning to free-to-play after Alice

Spicy Horse head says that upcoming 360, PS3, PC action puzzler will be followed by casual fare aimed at Asian markets.

American McGee is expected to release Alice: Madness Returns for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC on June 14, the first game from the veteran developer on current-generation consoles. However, in an interview with Joystiq, McGee has signaled that the game doesn't signify a greater push into big-budget development for his Shanghai-based Spicy Horse studio.

Alice was always such a creative child.

"We don't see that the future for us is in triple-A console games," McGee told Joystiq. "We actually are trying to make games that are online, free-to-play, 3D advanced casual games, so as we finish this, we're going to transition the company back to where we were intending to be when we finished Grimm."

According to McGee, Spicy Horse intended to continue developing episodic content in the vein of Grimm, which received 23 shorts that were distributed through GameTap, before being offered the chance to resurrect the Alice franchise by Electronic Arts.

"We restructured for two years; we built the game; we did a great job; we're gonna ship it on time, on schedule; we never had a crunch, and it's been really awesome," he said. "But now, it's back to what our belief is in terms of where things are going, so it's going to be all about free-to-play, 3D games for Asia."

An explicitly twisted retelling of Lewis Carroll's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Alice: Madness Returns sees a grown-up version of the titular heroine grappling with insanity. Her journeys take her back to Wonderland, where players will find combat, platforming, and puzzle challenges.

For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Alice: Madness Returns.

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Discussion

12 comments
mhaed
mhaed

Choosing to avoid the AAA market is the smartest decision McGee can possibly make. Just look at all our once beloved game companies releasing complete crap nowadays. Remember when companies like EA used to release great games like Alice and Clive Barker's Undying? I just hope Alice: Madness Returns really is McGee's project, and not something that was heavily supervised by EA. Unfortunately the Indie developers are the only one's that can make the games they want, and I fully support them.

TrueIori
TrueIori

Oh well ..I just want alice 2 xD

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

well, he just needs money to keep doing his crazy indie games (that's what he really likes to do), I think it's fine if he milks the asian market and release a blockbuster like Alice when he needs some "real" money.

ecw1983
ecw1983

Sorry Mcgee you will never escape Bad Day LA

Valen_Ca
Valen_Ca

So I wonder if we are going to see a re-release of the original game to coincide with the release of this one.

rigzzsy
rigzzsy

i'm just excited to play alice, sounds very promising

lazycomplife
lazycomplife

Smart move. I love those asian free to play games. I spent many hours on FLYFF

Taegre
Taegre

It's bad news for us in the west, but considering this guy's company is based in China, it makes sense for him to make games for a Chinese audience. Not doing so would be like moving to Japan and making first-person shooters.

the_requiem
the_requiem

DISAPPOINTING, for reasons Gelugon_baat already pointed out. But maybe it is coz I bought into his "maverick" persona, which is obviously a lie. The guy just swims with the tide. Oh well.

Barighm
Barighm

AAA game development costs have become so prohibitive it is no longer financially feasible for most developers, not even the big ones, to continue doing it. Low cost, high profit margin game development is where things are going. That will probably end up being a good thing. All the greedy publishers will rush to join the social gaming parade leaving everyone else to focus on simple, but immensely enjoyable, games like Torchlight, Limbo, and Castle Crashers.

xOmniCloudx
xOmniCloudx

If only this was news of the original Alice coming to PSN, XBL and Steam for free in other regions. So many missed out on it and it would be great to catch them up on it for the sequel as well as have a chance to promote both games.