American McGee reveals EA 'tricked' gamers and why he used his name in early titles
American McGee has told Reddit users in his latest AMA (Ask Me Anything) that Electronic Arts tried to mislead consumers of Alice: Madness Returns with false marketing.
Shy the Sun, the people who made the sequel's trailers, were "fantastic in terms of creativity," he said, but they listened a little to closely to EA. The final word did not come from his studio, Spicy Horse.
"That resulted in trailers that were much darker and gorier than the game ... and that was a calculated disconnect created by EA," McGee wrote. "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)."
He added, "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."
One user asked McGee whether including his name in some of his games' titles (eg., American McGee's Alice) was a cute attempt at self-promotion or a sign that the game wasn't a true team effort.
"There's a longer version of this story, but the short version is that I never had the power/control to force my name on a box of anything," he wrote. "EA legal and marketing decided it was a good way to establish a version of the Alice name which they could own and control. I signed a bit of paper giving them the right — and there you have it. Once that was done, other publishers came to me asking to use the name for marketing purposes. I did something akin to pure marketing use on Scrapland. You'll note that the games coming out of my studio today DO NOT include the use of my name. When I have a choice about it, I don't do it."
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