American McGee dissatisfied with EA’s marketing
Update: American McGee has corrected this statement after what he described as “a few pissed messages from EA”. “‘Tricked’ is the wrong word. I take that back. Apologies to EA and anyone else whose feelings were hurt” he wrote.
American McGee has been making a lot of news lately. First there was his new Kickstarter Project, then an interview with our very own website and now the man has raised his voice to speak out against the EA Marketing Department.
In a recent AMA (Ask Me Anything) topic on Reddit, McGee revealed that EA attempted to trick people into buying his game and went for completely the wrong audience in doing so. It’s fairly well known that Alice: Madness Returns was met with overall positive reviews, but never sold as well as expected. McGee blames this on the trailers that depicted the game as a violent and gory slaughter-fest as opposed to the dark reimagining of a whimsical tale (one of the early teaser-trailers was even called “Violence in Wonderland”).
“What was frustrating was how EA Marketing interfered – telling STS from the start that ALL creative direction and final say would come from them, not from us (the developer/creator of the story/tone). That resulted in trailers that were much darker and gorier than the game … and that was a calculated disconnect created by EA. They wanted to “trick” gamers into believing A:MR was a hard-core horror title, even though we refused to develop it in that tone. Their thinking is, even if the game isn’t a hard-core horror title, you can market it as one and trick those customers into buying it (while driving away more casual customers, like female gamers, who might be turned off by really dark trailers). It’s all a part of the race to the bottom EA, Activision and the other big pubs are engaged in. Expect to see it get worse before it gets better.” he wrote.
Having played the game myself, I can confirm that it’s indeed not as violent as I expected going into this title. The opening cinematic proudly presents the finale of the original American McGee’s Alice, followed by some very bloody scenes that I can’t quite describe with words. The actual game however has more of a focus on exploration, platforming and painting a beautiful world. In the interview with Rely on Horror, American himself stated that he was dissatisfied with the pacing of the game and I can confirm that it often went on for several minutes without a challenging foe in sight.
I have to give it to McGee, though, nothing gets you fans in this world faster, than taking the piss out off EA. Clever move if you just so happened to be throwing a fundraiser.