EA’s Reprehensible Treatment Of The Alice Franchise Still Haunts Me

We were truly robbed of greatness, multiple times.

Story Highlights

  • American Mcgee’s Alice — a twisted, mind-bending take on the Alice story was a true marvel.
  • Following Madness Returns, the series’ life has been full of obstacles, cancellations, and eventual death.
  • EA never cared for an IP as creative and entertaining as Alice; it never deserved the gem.

As evolved as video gaming has become, it came at the cost of many creative gems that didn’t get the appreciation they deserved. With games becoming more and more of a business, insane profits are the only thing that matters these days. Games that break new ground or carry creative mechanics are worthless as long as they don’t make big bucks. Just look at Microsoft’s massacre of Hi-Fi Rush.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time unique and imaginative games weren’t appreciated. Let’s look at another example, the brilliant Alice series.

YouTube video

Alice And Madness Returns — A Highly Underappreciated Journey

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a very well-known and widely appreciated children’s story, presenting a nonsensical fantasy setting to charm young minds. Now, take all you know about Alice’s cheerful and happy adventures, and throw them out the window. Put in the cruel reality and logic, and the dark recesses of a traumatic mind and its delusions, and you get the story I’m now going to discuss.

American Mcgee, the id Software veteran, put this cruel and tragic twist on this childish story and gave us a more realistic and mature take on this concept, for which I’m ever grateful. Utilizing the id Tech 3 engine, he crafted the game called American Mcgee’s Alice when he joined EA. Alice, traumatized by the tragic death of her parents in a fire suffers from a mental breakdown, and recluses herself to a fantasy world of her mind’s creation.

Anyone remember American McGee’s Alice?
byu/hospitalcottonswab increepygaming

The game tackles the cruel reality of mental illness and excruciating trauma changing a person’s perception, warping it into a distorted fiction where those fears manifest in an even uglier way. But that’s not all. It features a highly unique art style, a creative level design that relies on artistic appeal and mechanical variety, and a fictional world filled with versatility around every corner. Mcgee’s Alice is an amazing experience.

A fairy tale turned bloody and twisted, simply brilliant | Source: IMDB
A fairy tale turned bloody and twisted, simply brilliant | Source: IMDB

It wasn’t long before the game got a sequel, which is Alice: Madness Returns. A continuation of the tragic tale with a little more mixed in, the game builds upon the mechanics of its predecessor while introducing new weapons, which are just a crazed-up version of everyday items like a pepper shaker, improving upon the gameplay mechanics, bringing unique elements like Alice shrinking down, and even more puzzles to keep you entertained.

EA’s Disregard For The Brilliant Franchise

With a fascinating art style, creative gameplay combining puzzle solving, platforming, wacky combat scenarios, and a story that turns a fairy tale into a horror fest, I do not doubt that the Alice games are among the most unique gaming experiences out there. However, it is also a fact that they are criminally underappreciated and overlooked. And this is the point EA decided to focus on, not the series’ potential.

Tell me Madness Returns is not a highly entertaining journey | Source: Steam
Tell me Madness Returns is not a highly entertaining journey | Source: Steam

Mcgee wanted to continue the series beyond the second entry, and pitched the idea to EA multiple times, only for it to be ignored. Countless times we were given new hope, only for it to be eventually crushed at the hands of EA. Mcgee relied on Kickstarter projects to create Alice-related video materials and concept works while continuing to push forward for a possible sequel.

I really feel bad for American Mcgee that EA recently declined him for the new game of Alice Asylum.
byu/Vindaya_ inPS4

First, it was Alice: Otherlands, which was planned to be a game but then ended up being a series of short animated films. Then, it was Alice: Asylum. Over the years, Mcgee never gave up the efforts, trying to make a third Alice game a reality. However, EA had other, more cruel plans.

Alice in Otherland could've been a game, but EA had other plans | Source: Alice Wiki
Alice in Otherland could’ve been a game, but EA had other plans | Source: Alice Wiki

EA continued to crush his plans, and when the last pitch was rejected back in 2023, McGee gave up hope. He was heartbroken and even angry, as he announced that he was no longer interested in working on another, even if EA were to change its mind now or anytime in the future. And can you blame him? He gave his all to a creative, genuinely entertaining adventure, only to be stopped at every point.

EA Didn’t Deserve Alice

In the end, EA deprived us of greatness on more than one occasion. It’s truly a shame, considering how impressive the two games that we got were. If you haven’t played these, I urge you to give it a try. Then, you’ll realize the extent of EA’s cruelty.

Greedy EA in a nutshell
by inmemes

Imagine the good a modern-day Alice game designed with the same core formula can do. Third-person character action games with a lot more than just action are always a fascinating bunch. However, just like McGee, I’ve given up hope. Being in EA’s hands is this IP’s curse and the cruel fate. All EA cares about is making money with microtransactions and the most ridiculous of paywalls. If it didn’t give Alice a chance when the time of right, there’s no way it’s going to give it one now

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Hanzala is a dedicated writer who expresses his views as opinion pieces at eXputer. He's always been fascinated by gaming and has been an avid consumer of many different genres for over a decade. His passion for games has him eager to encounter the latest RPGs and actively look for new Soulslike to challenge. He puts forth his experience and knowledge of gaming into captivating opinion pieces.

Experience: 8+ months || Education: Bachelors in Chemistry.

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