The lights are on
American McGee, the creative director of the Alice video game series and the upcoming Kickstarter project Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, wasn't fond of Electronic Arts' marketing focus for Alice: Madness Returns. In his most recent Ask Me Anything Q&A on Reddit, he said that EA was trying to mislead gamers into thinking Alice: Madness Returns was a hardcore horror game.
McGee says Shy the Sun, the creators behind Alice: Madness Returns' trailers, were "fantastic in terms of creativity," but followed EA's instruction more than Spicy Horse's.
"What is 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)," McGee says. "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."
McGee isn't all doom and gloom in his answers. Most of the questions he
fields provide great insight into the video game creation process.
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Frankly, the statement about driving away casual gamers I think is weird. Don't you want to try to get the whole spectrum no matter what kind of game you are producing? Sure it's not easy (or possible in some cases), but why drive people away?