If you want, creative independence, then don’t merge with a mega corporation.

Dangdoggo avatar

EA was hardly a mega corp when they published the first game though. Where is Taylor Swift when you need her?


What? EA has been a mega corp in the game industry since forever.


This prompted me to look into their history, and yeah, looks like they were basically a super-group formed out of employees from names like Apple and Atari and were big right out of the gate.


I was mainly just thinking how EA Sports games have been a thing for as long as I can remember. Even when video games was a small industry, they were still a big fish.


The EA has been a gaming mega corp for at least 30 years.


The original was released by EA over 20 years ago. It's not like its something they bought up.

Jaysyn avatar

You said this so much more diplomatically than I was going to.


Oh you must know my friend Johnny Silverhand too.

LoafyLemon avatar

Ironic how much CD Projekt RED resembles Arasaka nowadays.

wizardbeard, avatar

When did they start a war? How did they get their hands on that nuke they set off in the city center?

This is so far past exaggeration

LoafyLemon avatar

Baby steps, they have to start somewhere.


I enjoyed Madness Returns but the main problem was that some of the chapters just dragged so much. If they’d cut it down they could have made a really really good budget game and nothing of value would have been lost. It’s a 14 hour game with 6 hours of content.

schwim, avatar

I loved the Alice games, they were so well done.

FfaerieOxide avatar

They can't touch IP based on a public domain work??


He can make something based off of Through the Looking Glass, but he can’t make something called American McGee’s Alice or use any established characters from that IP.

Pxtl, avatar

Realistically he should just switch to another public domain fantasy. Kickstart “American McGee’s Oz”.

FfaerieOxide avatar

He can make something based off of Through the Looking Glass

And he should. Give the characters a dye job, spell their names different, and have at it.

umbraroze avatar

They can't touch an IP derived from a public domain work. If they want to make a new IP, they have to go through all the effort of re-deriving it from the public domain work. Hope this makes sense, I'm just a creative person and not a lawyer.

Edit: If derivative works from public domain were not protected, WOO BOY would Disney be in trouble.

Semi-Hemi-Demigod avatar

Make it a happy fluffy game where you beat things to death and stuffing goes everywhere while little children cheer.

That could be even creepier

FfaerieOxide avatar

Right but what's the problem? If you've still got stories to tell, tell them about a "different" Alice.

umbraroze avatar

I mean, if EA wants to reboot the whole franchise, they can do so. But they can't use any of the stuff in American McGee's Alice IP, or anything too closely resembling that stuff. The question then becomes this: do they want to use their creative budget to do that... or do they want to use their budget for something else entirely? In other words: Is American McGee's Alice an IP that's financially worth it to rebuild from scratch? Answer: Probably no.

tal, avatar

I haven’t seen the sequel, but the original is basically taking a children’s story and making it twisted and gory (kind of the reverse of what happened to Grimm Brothers fairytales, now that I think about it). If that’s the magic sauce, I’d think that it’d be possible to do something similar with any children’s story.

FfaerieOxide avatar

Who's talking about EA?

I thought American McGee was complaining they sold "Alice" and now EA doesn't want to make more.

If AM wants to make more, make more and file off what markers you have to.

umbraroze avatar

Well, if American McGee wants to rebuild the franchise from scratch, then he faces the exact same problem, doesn't he?

If EA wants to remake the franchise, they're basically saying "Look, we filed the serial markers off, here's a new Dark Alice in the Wonderland IP", and they know nobody will buy it.

If American McGee wants to remake the franchise, it's basically "Look EA, we can't actually remake the Dark Alice in the Wonderland IP, but here's Wark Dalice in the Anderland IP", and none of the EA's lawyers will buy it, and he get sued to oblivion by EA.

It's an extermely uncomfortale stalemate regardless of the fact that the original stories were in public domain.

Sure, American McGee can go "well fuck it, here's a super fucking cute and lore-friendly happy trippy Alice in the Wonderland remake that totally goes to a whole different direction this time, HEY BACK OFF DISNEY LAWYERS, I said totally different direction", but that's no longer American McGee's Alice, now is it?

FfaerieOxide avatar

There is no way EA owns the rights to every implementation of "Lewis Carrol but macabre!" any more than Rhys Frake-Waterfield could stop me from making a film where Winnie The Pooh kills people with a chainsaw.

umbraroze avatar

That's a good angle to speculate on it. But the main thing to take away is this: Do they want to pursue this angle, or are they more willing to sit on this IP until the end of the time? I mean, sitting on an IP is a whole lot more legally safe than, you know, attempting to make some new wild legally-distinct numbers-filed-off things from it. (PROTIP: EA does this really well.)

And more importantly, is American McGee willing to rework this whole thing from the ground up?

Speaking as a random creative person: If I was in American McGee's position, I'd drop this stuff right away and go think of other ventures. The moneybagmen sadly won.


It’s very likely that as a part of whatever existing deal he has with EA, he had to specifically sign some form of non-competition clause that made it so he can’t just leave and make “shmalice in shmonderland” and say it’s technically distinct, despite being the obvious follow up to the games owned by EA. Greedy? Yeah. But it’s not like he didn’t know what he was signing up for. There’s plenty of other options for publishers out there who are perfectly willing to not give a fuck about your IP, and just want up front cash and/or a cut of sales. The downside being that, unlike someone like EA, theyre going to have a much more limited reach in terms of getting your game on store shelves, and getting ads in front of eyeballs, if they even do that much.

1hitsong, avatar

“Also, there’s a tv series in production.”

Yeah, right. I’ll believe it when I see it.

BroBot9000, avatar

I’d rather have the property say dead than reviving it into another fucking show that is put out just to cash in on some nostalgia only to be cancelled after the first season.

BolexForSoup avatar

"I penned a pilot"

SamXavia avatar

That sucks, I would have loved to see Asylum come to the surface. Sadly as it's been so many years I don't think it's going to get around to much that it's no longer happening or was happening in the first place.

dohpaz42, avatar

Well hopefully American McGee will make a come back with some other great video game series. There are plenty of ideas out there outside of Alice in Wonderland. Though that was a great game! I hope he doesn’t give up quite yet.


Didn’t he announce his retirement back in April?


Ah they nailed him with a noncompete for that public domain IP. Crafty.


For what it’s worth, you can’t use public domain to make a copy of someone else’s take on that public domain character. It’s like how Winnie the Pooh is public domain but you can’t make a Winnie the Pooh with a red shirt and no pants since thats clearly Disney’s version which isn’t public domain.

BolexForSoup avatar

He nailed himself when he took people's money, spent all his energy on the "game bible," and then promised he would make a game he did not have authority to make. It's not like it was a surprise to him. He's the victim of his own decisions ultimately here.

Alice was a cool game. The 2nd one was...we can say good. He got two at-bats for the game, it never took off, the second sold particularly poorly. The cult following isn't enough and frankly he has demonstrated very little of what would make this new game so special. He had one cult hit almost 25 years ago and ansolid but not special, kind of buggy follow-up. I just think this entire project is all audience hype at this point.


I mean, I get it. Its a cool idea, a cool world, and its his brain child.

Tbh its kinda bullshit he cant make a game for a world EA will literally never ever ever use. Theyve just shoved it as far up their own asses and plan on keeping it there.

Id rather a shitty 3rd game than never getting another shot at a cool world.

twistedtxb, avatar

I feel the same way. It must be absolutely miserable to work on a game for so long and then be shut down by a legal department, but he knew the risks.

BolexForSoup avatar

Exactly. He counted on his clout to carry the day. I get it, you love the project man, but that was reckless and a known risk. I mean he basically counted on building enough momentum to convince the publisher and he didn’t achieve the goal.


Yeah, I don’t get it, the 2nd one is also kinda meh compare to what other contemporary games were already doing at the time. (tech/style/game mechanics). Like yeah you don’t have to follow the trend, but it still feels like a quake era game in the Assassin’s Creed era(don’t know what other games to better show the 2010s open world trend).

BolexForSoup avatar

Great example with AC. AC2 came out a year prior and brotherhood around the same time as A:MR. Say what you want about the series, those 2 games were excellent. Leaps and bounds ahead of what we saw with Alice.


Incapable of learning from his past mistakes because he is incapable of admitting he was wrong, American McEgo fails again.


I replay madness returns every year or so. Such a fun platformer.

SamXavia avatar

It's one of the games that I've been meaning to play on my backlog. It does suck that it's not going to have a sequel.


I keep trying to play it, but the levels are so fucking long. I just want the story now.

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