EA: Return of 'Alice' Promises Innovation, Quality

EA's announcement last week about the development of a new "Alice" game provoked a bunch of questions. Here's how EA (vaguely) answered them.

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In 2000, EA released game designer American McGee's remix of a classic children's story in the form of "American McGee's Alice." And last week EA announced that a sequel is coming through EA Partners.

McGee and his Chinese development studio Spicy Horse will create the unnamed, undated PC and console title. "The idea evolved from both sides," EA Partners' general manager David DeMartini told me in a phone interview. "I know that sounds implausible, but it's true. He was continuing to evolve his thoughts around the fractured fairy tales he was working on. We were highly interested in working with this intellectual property." The deal came together in late 2008. EA owns the "Alice" gaming lore, though DeMartini said it was still possible for McGee to get his name in the new game's title.

The new "Alice" game's features won't be revealed for a while. Pressed for any insights about the content, DeMartini said, "Any game released tends to be standalone game with multiplayer and downloadable content. Whatever is released will need to be competitive with that."

As for what the sequel's take on Alice in Wonderland will be this time, DeMartini said "American has a tremendous amount of freedom with this [intellectual property] and his creative concepts and vision to go where he needs to go -- and a tremendous amount of freedom to go with this team where he needs to get to the finish."

While McGee's "Alice" is a widely respected game, one of the developer's more recent project's, "American McGee's Bad Day L.A." received poor reviews and a panning from both reviewers and McGee himself. DeMartini is optimistic for a creative rebound. "We're betting we're going to get the quality product that we got in 2000 [with "Alice"] that got us an 85," DeMartini said.

DeMartini said there were no plans yet to release the original "Alice" game to help hype the forthcoming sequel.

With this announcement, McGee joins the impressive EA Partners line-up that also has projects in the works from id, Shinji Mikami, Starbreeze , Epic and more.

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