Calling a game, movie, or some other form of media a “cult classic” is often a misused term. It’s often used to describe media that was popular for a specific audience, but isn’t as mainstream as say Mario or Call Of Duty. However, there are some games that truly are deep cuts, that a very vocal minority of people have played that are held in high regard. One such game is Alice: Madness Returns, which was released back in 2011 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Developed by Spicy Horse which was led by American McGee an eccentric former developer who had previously worked at ID Software as well as EA. The game’s dark and horrifying telling of the world of Alice In Wonderland was a stand-out action game when it was released. It represented an era when EA who was the publisher at the time was taking a variety of big risks in different IPs.
Fast forward to 2023, almost 12 years after the release of the previous title. McGee has been attempting to crowdfund a sequel titled “Alice: Asylum”. McGee has put in a massive amount of work and collaborated with several artists to create a 414-page pitch for the game. After revealing as well as posting the 414-page pitch publicly, Mcgee stated he was in talks with EA in regards to this material. Unfortunately, despite Mcgee and his team’s best efforts, it appears we might just never get a sequel to Alice: Madness Returns after all.
Alice: Madness Returns Sequel Denied By EA
In a letter launched on his Patreon Mcgee broke the news that EA had ultimately declined his pitch. Mcgee stated in his post “On the question of funding, they have ultimately decided to pass on the project based on an internal analysis of the IP, market conditions, and details of the production proposal. On the question of licensing, they replied that “Alice” is an important part of EA’s overall game catalog, and selling or licensing it isn’t something they’re prepared to do right now.”. What does this mean for McGee and his team you might ask? Without being able to gain funding from EA for the project, there was a slim chance that they could garner financing elsewhere. As long as they were able to get EA’s blessing to do so as EA owns the IP. With EA not budging on either front, this means that Alice: Asylum simply isn’t legally possible.
This is a heartbreaking result for both the team, as well as the fans who have been holding out hope for this project to get off the ground. It certainly has seemed to crush McGee personally as he stated he will be stepping away from game development for the foreseeable future. Stating “For my part, I have also reached an endpoint with “Alice” and with game production in general. I have no other ideas or energy left to apply toward getting a new Alice game made. Nor do I have any interest in pursuing new game ideas within the context of the current environment for game development.”
To see McGee step away from creating games is certainly disappointing. As a massive fan of Alice: Madness Returns, I had always hoped that perhaps EA could see the potential behind this title. Especially with the company’s interest in so many of their more legacy titles lately. I hope that McGee can find peace as he steps away from the gaming industry and that he gets to enjoy much-deserved time with friends and family.