Spicy Horse Founder Offers Tough Criticism of EA's Marketing over Alice Sequel

January 21, 2013 -

Spicy Horse founder American McGee isn't pleased with EA's marketing team and the way it handled the sequel to one of his best games after his exit from id Software. Speaking at an "Ask Me Anything" over at Reddit recently, McGee complained about the way EA's marketing team has handled Alice: The Madness Returns. He claims that EA's demands led to the game being presented in trailers in a way he felt was trying to "trick" consumers into thinking the game was something it was not.

"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 the Reddit AMA session.

"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," he continued. "That resulted in trailers that were much darker and gorier than the game ... and that was a calculated disconnect created by EA."

"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)," he continued.  "It's all a part of the race."

McGee announced the game in 2009. It was released under the EA publishing label in June 2011. Ultimately the game garnered a middling Metacritic score of 70.

Source: GII


Comments

Re: Spicy Horse Founder Offers Tough Criticism of EA's ...

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, we are talking about EA here...

"If it cannot break out of its' shell, the chick will die without being born... If we don't crack the world's shell, we'll die without being born. Smash the world's shell. For the Revolution of the world!"

Re: Spicy Horse Founder Offers Tough Criticism of EA's ...

Ah yes, the old "marketing is evil and is intentionally misrepresenting my precious game" complaint. 

In this particular instance that is a load of total crap. I played the game and just went back and watched a couple of the trailers (I was curious since this comment seemed so bizarre). The tone of the trailers is very consistent with the tone of the game. 

If he wanted to appeal to "more casual customers, like female gamers" then he should have made a different game. First of all, that's an incredibly sexist and ignorant premise to begin with - there are plenty of female gamers who would appreciate a WELL MADE but dark game like this. Secondly, the game is NOT a casual, light game. At all. Not 1%. The tone is incredibly - almost painfully - dark, and the gameplay includes lots of annoyingly difficult sections that seem to want to punish, rather than reward the player.

I really wanted to like this game and love the idea of a sophisticated, mature reinvention of the source material, but the "aren't we so goth" style that they went with was not at all appealing to me in the end. And the gameplay was unpolished and unimaginative, at best. (Given that it ended up as a 70, I don't think I'm alone in that assessment.)

The trailers - drawn primarily from in-game material - don't misrepresent the game at all, so this just sounds like "boo hoo, I don't like how EA treated me" whining. 

Re: Spicy Horse Founder Offers Tough Criticism of EA's ...

Eh, in cases this can be correct. Back in the PS2 days there was a cult hit known as Metalarms: Glitch in the system.

wonderful, people loved it, but it was intentinally under marketed.

Re: Spicy Horse Founder Offers Tough Criticism of EA's ...

They should have made her eyes bigger.

 

Andrew Eisen

 
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