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American McGee: EA tricked Alice customers

Spicy Horse dev isn't pleased with EA's marketing team

Alice: The Madness Returns developer American McGee has complained about the way publisher EA's demands led to the game being presented in trailers, suggesting it tried to "trick" gamers.

"What was frustrating was how EA Marketing interfered - telling [Shy The Sun] from the start that ALL creative direction and final say would come from them, not from us (the developer/creator of the story/tone)," said McGee in a Reddit AMA session, while discussing working with creative concept resource Shy The Sun.

"EA wanted to 'trick' gamers into believing Alice: Madness Returns was a hard-core horror title, even though we refused to develop it in that 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."

McGee announced the Alice sequel in 2009, and it was released with EA as a publisher in June 2011. It achieved a score of 70 on Metacritic. McGee and Spicy Horse's latest project is free-to-play title Akaneiro: Demon Hunters.

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Latest comments (11)

Andreia Quinta Creative & People Photographer, Studio52 London3 years ago
EA never failing to disappoint someone. It's like they actually have a set anual target of 'dissapointness'.
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Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios3 years ago
Marketeers (?) are idiots. They should never be allowed anywhere near the creative side and that includes trailers. And probably marketing itself.
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gi biz ;,pgc.eu 3 years ago
Now, EA is a notoriuosly bad company to work with (or to work at for what it matters). That's no secret. If you decide to work with them, be it for money or any reason, please don't start whining because they are what they are. It's like with Ryanair: you can't fly with them and then after you land complain about how they spammed you the whole time.
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Show all comments (11)
Carl Silvers Researcher, Electronic Arts3 years ago
<Now, EA is a notoriuosly bad company to work with (or to work at for what it matters).>

And you have obviously worked at EA, and have first hand knowledge of this? Personally, I rather enjoy working for EA.
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gi biz ;,pgc.eu 3 years ago
No, never. Please don't take it personally as my comment is not towards employees, and obviously different people enjoy different things. I'm merely referring to the frequent scandals involving EA, starting from the bride's letter, through the case of stalking reported a few months ago by GamesIndustry.biz, up to now.
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Kevin Clark-Patterson Lecturer in Games Development, Lancaster and Morecambe College3 years ago
Surely the marketing departments job is to maximise the potential catchment of the product...

Why not use the most attractive scenarios and tailor that towards the intended target audience and let them decide if the game appeals to them or not. Targeting one specific demographic of 'hardcore horror' fans will obviously leave other potential audiences in the dark...(!)
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers3 years ago
This criticism reminds me of what happened with Brutal Legend. While Tim Schaffer hasn't complained publicly like this, a lot of people noticed that the marketing for Brutal Legend seemed to position the game as an action title (even the demo showed off an early part of the game that was more like a third-person action title), while the final game was a hybrid real-time strategy game and I know a lot of people felt blindsided by that. I'm not sure if someone at marketing thought that something unique like what Brutal Legend was could sell, but they did themselves no favors by not getting in front of it.
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Mike Bale Database Developer 3 years ago
Because that's not what the game is?

And it will hit the developer a lot harder than the publisher if people don't trust his games?
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Stephen Woollard Online Infrastructure Specialist, Electronic Arts3 years ago
McGee retracted his comments and apologised apparently - story needs an update.

http://www.americanmcgee.com/2013/01/23/you-cant-escape/
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gi biz ;,pgc.eu 3 years ago
Fishy indeed.
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Helen Merete Simm Senior UI Artist, Ubisoft Reflections3 years ago
"(while driving away more casual customers, like female gamers, who might be turned off by really dark trailers)."

Ha! I'm one of those who was drawn to the game because of the gory trailers!
Having said that though, its not like I was disappointed by the game at all. It is one of the most beautiful games I've played in yonks.
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