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Alice Marketing Madness

By Bobfish22-01-2013

It seems that American McGee, the mind behind the recent critical underachiever that was Alice: Madness Returns, has taken to Reddit to air his views about it. In a Reddit Ask Me Anything thread, he had some very pointed things to say about EAs marketing team, and the company as a whole. It seems he, shockingly enough, isn't a fan. Now, before you start pointing fingers of accusation about him being bitter that the game drastically underachieved, hear him out. This isn't the unnamed CEO of a certain Quantic Dream, pissing and whining about how people just don't "get him" and his style. There are some extremely important things that must be acknowledged. Especially regarding EAs agreement with animation company Shy the Sun.

"What was 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). 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 hardcore horror title, even though we refused to develop it in that tone. Their thinking is, even if the game isn't a hardcore 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."

For those familiar with the game, they will immediately see the truth of this shining through. I myself was instantly turned off by the highly stylised, grim and pretentious images of Alice hacking at weird creatures with a kitchen knife and grinning manically with blood sprayed on her face. I can appreciate the desire to push the envelope as much as the next man, the use of violence as an artistic expression. I have, in fact, employed the latter in my own literary pursuits. But this was too much. It was a classic example of shocking for the sake of being shocking.

To then find that the finished game, whilst still dark and incredibly gothic in tone, enough to rival even the master of the bizarre himself, Tim Burton. To find it was more akin to a typical hack and slash platformer, albeit after imbibing copious amounts of absinthe and laudanum (Lewis Carrol did a lot of that, so it's not too surprising) it left me hanging my head in my hands, yet again, with a moan of "oh EA, where did you go wrong?"

This isn't the first time we've seen such childish and shameful tactics from them of course. There was the "your mom's gonna' hate it" Dead Space 2 campaign, which was admittedly more moronic than shameful. Shamefully bad perhaps, but ultimately coming across as dumb. And don't even get me started on the "sin to win" nonsense with Dante's Inferno. The entire thing is spiralling way out of hand. And this is precisely the kind of behaviour that we're trying to move away from. At least, we're supposed to be. It's time to drop the no publicity is bad publicity mentality.

Anyway, enough of that. Mister McGee (don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry) also went on to talk about how he came to be head of the largest, Western, development studio in China. As well as a whole slew of other things that I won't go into now (this article is long enough already). McGee also has a Kickstarter (what a shock, he doesn't want to work with EA anymore) for his next endeavour, Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, which currently stands at just short of half its pledge. A game that, ironically, seems to be far more in line with what EA tried to claim Madness Returns would be. Go figure. And leave your thoughts below.

Comments (5)
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Posts: 3290

EA have gone so far past losing all credibility they're like a dog, taking a shit on the lawn right in front of you. You know you should look away, but some bizarre, masochistic urge compels you to stare at its bollocks swaying in the breeze

Posts: 1317

Yeah I remember that too, Stuntman. They went overboard with the Battlefield 2 packs, Sims 2 and a bunch of other shit. Then they went down the shitter financially, and swore to start doing better service to the customers and produce more quality games. Then came Crysis 1, Mirror's Edge and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Quality games with free content updates and everything. Trust was slowly restored in the company.... and now, they're fucking it up all over again. It's just that it seems gamers are getting tired of rebelling against big companies nowadays. They don't like the paid DLCs and the horrible market practices.... but they just NEED to play the next Battlefield, the next Mass Effect and the next Crysis. So they sacrifice their rights and their dignity, for some over-priced electronic entertainment.

Posts: 1548

I remember about 5 years ago (maybe more) they were pretty shit too but they stood up and said from now on we will do good games. Canceled a bunch of games and then we got Dead Space 1. Now games like Syndicate, HoH: W, nickle 'n' dimming and other stupid shit is all we are getting out of EA.

Posts: 3290

I wish I knew, I really do. They were the paragon of the industry when I was a child. And now...it's sad :/

Posts: 1548

What happened to EA? I mean is the whole company full of pricks or is it just one person?