American McGee: "It's Been An Interesting Ride"
American McGee and Spicy Horse have cancelled the Kickstarter campaign for OZombie, their proposed action-adventure set in a warped version of The Wizard Of Oz. The TL:DR version: the whole thing was an utter shambles.
As forwarded to us by regular reader DivideByZero, the latest backer update highlights a few major issues with the stumbling campaign. First of all, the truly bizarre decision to seek Alice movie rights as a stretch goal proved to be tremendously controversial, since many fans were unclear exactly what it had to do with the proposed action adventure itself, causing an inordinate amount of confusion. The name of the project also proved to be a major sticking point, since American McGee's Oz has already been made and the rights lie with Atari. Finally, of course, they just weren't making any money.
"The Oz campaign has to end," McGee wrote. "There are two realities driving the decision.
"First, we’re facing a challenge with the Alice film rights. Since working to remove it from the Oz campaign we've been unable to launch it as a separate campaign here on Kickstarter – the submission has been rejected multiple times and our appeals have failed (multiple campaigns are not allowed). To launch a campaign for the Alice films rights means we must first shut down the Oz campaign."
"Second, we wouldn't consider shutting down the Oz campaign if it were trending towards success. As it is, we've reached 15% of our goal with 20 days left in the campaign. Projections suggest we’ll hit 30% of our goal by campaign end. I've been telling myself to remain optimistic and see this thing through – but when the reality of our funding trend is combined with the pressure of the Alice film rights situation..."
McGee continued to suggest that they'll now concentrate on securing the Alice film rights in the short term rather than "creating confusion" by merging it with the OZombie campaign.
"I sincerely appreciate all of the support and feedback you've provided us via the Oz campaign," he concluded. "It’s been an interesting ride and one that has taught me a multitude of valuable lessons. While we’re ending it early, we’re certainly not walking away empty handed. When Oz makes a return you can expect it to be better and stronger."
"Now we turn our attention to Alice. Securing these film rights would be nothing short of a major coup. We’d control a significant portion of Alice’s future. Being able to produce animations, feature films and related merchandise means keeping Alice’s world fresh, no matter what else might happen with the game portion of the property. I hope you’ll join us in making this a reality."
It's likely, then, that OZombie will re-emerge at some point after major rebranding and a serious rethink. Here's hoping that Spicy Horse actually do their homework next time.