American McGee tells EA the “roadmap is waiting” on an Alice sequel

Everyone wants what they can’t have. Knowing something is out of reach always makes it more desirable, and videogames are no exception. Beyond Good and Evil 2, the full launch of Star Citizen, and even the fabled Half-Life 3. If there’s any chance we’ll get it, we want it. The sequel to 2011’s Alice Madness Returns is one such game, and while director American McGee says his part is done, he has a message for EA: “The roadmap is waiting.”

McGee confirmed EA turned down the Alice Madness Returns sequel last year, telling the director it wouldn’t fund the single-player game sequel or sell off the license to let anyone else have a crack at it. A 414-page design bible was presented to EA for the sequel, titled Alice Asylum, but McGee said EA “ultimately decided to pass on the project” while adding that “selling or licensing it isn’t something they’re prepared to do right now.”

Alice Madness Returns didn’t sell very well and had a mixed critical response when it launched in 2011. The dark version of the Alice in Wonderland tale is a 3D platformer that follows the titular Alice Liddell as she grapples with the death of her family in a fire. I’ve always found the game’s brooding world absolutely stunning, with its Henry Selick-inspired aesthetic and gruesome twist on Lewis Carroll’s tale truly gripping. That said, the infamous Alice sequel was one McGee was trying to get made for years, until he relented.

Now, McGee responds to an IGN article detailing how the fans have kept Alice Madness Returns alive since the news the sequel wasn’t happening, and the designer puts the ball in EA’s court.

“My apologies if fans feel I am giving them a ‘cold shoulder’ as the article suggests. It’s not that I don’t love them, the community, and the property itself. But my vision for a final chapter is contained in the design bible. That’s as far as I could take it but it’s far enough (for my part),” McGee writes.

“‘Madness Returns’ was a massive team effort led by people like Ken Wong, Ben Kerslake, Tang Ye Ping, Milo Yip, and others. Amazing artists and designers who followed a rough roadmap I provided them – one that was much less detailed than what we’ve done for Asylum.’”

The Alice Asylum design bible is filled with original art, game design concepts, and narrative details intended for the sequel, with Metal Gear Solid Delta: Snake Eater developer Virtuos Games brought on as a potential development partner at the time. It’s free to download and provides a look at the early stages of game development we never get to see. So for that alone, the effort was worth it.

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“It’s great that the fans are keeping the flame alive,” McGee continues in his response. “And it’s possible that EA will eventually see the light. When they do, the roadmap is waiting. My part is done. And happily so. And with full thanks to the community for supporting the effort.”

If you’ve never played the Alice games, Alice Madness Returns is 85% off in the Steam summer sale until Thursday July 11, so expect to pay $1.49 / £1.34 right here. You can also play it with a PC Game Pass and EA Play subscription at no extra cost.

There are plenty more incredible story games to sink your teeth into in 2024, and loads of upcoming PC games to get excited for this year and beyond.

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