Alice: Madness Returns - 'Zelda, BioShock and Half-Life are all influences'

American McGee talks about Alice's latest adventure

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What other games have you taken inspiration from mechanics and gameplay wise?

The core of the mechanics you could probably look to something like Zelda, like pretty old-school, to understand where we were trying to go with how we built the weapons and the combat systems. In terms of narrative, and presentation I think we'd always looked to titles like Bioshock, Half-Life or any game that does a decent job of presenting, not so much in the mechanic of the narrative presentation but in the humanness of the characters that are being dealt with, so I think those are always gonna be inspirations and the same thing holds true if you're reading a book or watching a film where it's a very human presentation of the material.


Do you think games will always struggle to tell a story in the ways a film do?

I think it's a question of resource and tools, I think that as the tools and the use of them become more ubiquitous and it's easier to use, that'll free the creatives up to have more ability to express in a film-like fashion.

It's important to keep in mind that film has had many generations of storytellers who have been able to grow up in an industry and really cut their teeth on and establish how the style works and how the presentation works whereas in gaming we haven't had a full cycle of a generation, of a complete tool set that's been sat there, ready with everything that you would need to tell a story without having to every single time to turn around and reinvent the camera, reinvent the lighting and that's the sort of where these larger budget games.

Even the smaller budget ones are going these days is that the issue of tools is starting to become secondary and so now the creatives can focus on the storytelling in a much better way."

Is Alice purely a single-player experience or can we look forward to co-op or multiplayer?

It's not a franchise that lends itself very well to online multiplayer modes but there will be DLC in the form of dresses that the player can download and Alice can wear and those dresses come with special abilities and enhance how you play through the game and there's also going to be pretty significant release which is the original Alice brought over to the consoles so that a person who's purchased Madness Returns gets a download code and is able to bring Alice 1 onto their console and play through the entire original game alongside playing Madness Returns.

What is your thinking on the new crop of handhelds, would you like to bring Alice to them?

That'd be great, I'm not sure in this generation they're going to be powerful enough but certainly next year, something like that, but I think the handheld market in general and especially the Android environment is a real boon to the industry and to developers and to consumers and I think it's going to open up a lot more possibility for a very creative, exploratory ideas around gaming and around social platforms and the mobile platforms all link together so yeah, I think its really awesome.

It's actually where we're pushing our studio to go next. PC online, you know, multiplayer games and also mobile as a function of that so Alice may be the last retail sort of box product that we do for some time but you know for the next couple of years were going focus very exclusively on free to play PC downloadable games and then also pushing those other mobile platforms.

Do you think the iPad has the ability compete directly with consoles?

Absolutely, I think we're going see... I mean, where's the next console rev, right? Where is the next big console coming from? I actually think PC desktops - there's a good chance they'll become a thing of the past and we're going to start to see a blurring between what's considered a phone versus PC or PC versus a phone and all of these have a potential to be really decent gaming platform.

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