When someone mentions the name American McGee, three game franchises automatically come to mind: Wolfenstein, DOOM and Quake. But he's also widely known for his dark spin on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, releasing the sinister PC game American McGee's ALICE back in 2000. Now with several additional titles under his belt, he's returning back to Alice's dismal Wonderland this coming June.
But this may be his last "boxed" product. American McGee, seated in his new-found Spicy Horse developer studio, said that over the next few years, his team will focus on free-to-play PC games-- and possibly titles for handheld platforms-- once ALICE: Madness Returns is on store shelves.
"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," he said in a recent interview.
Given his PC roots, he seemed rather elated over the idea. "It's actually where we're pushing our studio to go next. PC online, you know, multiplayer games and also mobile as a function of that," he added. "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."
He also indicated that he's all for a third ALICE should EA choose to produce it.
"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," he said. "Were we to push forward into another title after this, there's an opportunity there to show a blending together of those two things. I can't go into a lot of the thinking behind it but certainly there are some thoughts about what we would do if we did another product after this."
Unfortunately, McGee didn't elaborate on his upcoming free-to-play PC games or what's in store for the handhelds. For now, American McGee fans will have to wait patiently for ALICE: Madness Returns to arrive in June. As a bonus, those who purchase the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 version will get a free digital copy of the original ALICE.
EA did not respond when we asked about PC gamers also getting the ALICE digital download code.