Another Casual Casualty
American McGee, the ex id Software developer behind the surreal Alice franchise, has announced that Alice: Madness Returns will probably be his last AAA retail release. His studio will be switching its focus to the increasingly lucrative mobile and free-to-play market, though he admittedly has a few ideas for Alice 3 if EA makes it worth his while.
Speaking to CVG, American McGee praised the flexibility of the Android development scene and stated that he'll "very exclusively" work on social platforms and mobile apps after Alice: Madness Returns goes gold. It's clear that another developer is getting seriously worried about threat posed to the triple-A industry by casual apps, but unlike Epic Games, he's decided to jump ship and follow the money.
I think the handheld market in general, and especially the Android environment, is a real boon to the industry and to developers and consumers and I think it’s going to open up a lot more possibility for very creative, exploratory ideas around gaming and around social platforms and the mobile platforms all linked together.
Alice may be the last retail box product that we do for some time but for the next couple of years we’re going to focus very exclusively on free-to-play PC downloadable games and then also push those other mobile platforms.
However, American would eventually love to make a third Alice game that's partly set in the real world - and whilst it's just a whim at this stage, strong sales of Alice: Madness Returns could feasibly justify a sequel.
From a thematic standpoint it was always the intention that in the first game she ultimately overcame the psychological world – she overcame the world of her fantasy – and in the second game, one of the core themes is that she’s got to maintain or gain control of the physical space, the physical world of reality.
Alice: Madness Returns is slated for release on June 16th, with a download code for the 11 year-old original. Why not check out Matt's hands-on preview for more details?