Disney Vs Tim Burton: Alice In Wonderland

By Jim Rossignol on July 23rd, 2009 at 9:45 pm.


A darkly grown-up Alice In Wonderland game? There’s an original idea for a videogame, right? Okay, so we’ve been here before, but this time around it’s the interactive accompaniment to Tim Burton’s Johnny Depp vehicle, Alice In Wonderland, which sees an older Alice return to the scene of her original surrealist romp. The Disney Interactive Studios announcement explains that: “With an upgradeable combat system, players collect “impossible ideas” to replay levels and unlock Underland’s secrets. Players must carefully select the supporting characters and their abilities to defeat the numerous enemies set forth by the Red Queen and her army of cards, destroy the Jabberwocky and restore Underland back into Wonderland.” We do like impossible ideas round here: strafe jumping, portable holes…

Alice will apparently arrive along with the film in “early 2010″, and it’s being developed by Etranges Libellules, or “Strange Dragonflies”, who have developed a number of uninspired third-person games over the last decade, including the last (and not too awful) Asterix game on PC.

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49 Comments »

  1. PaulMorel says:

    It’s funny how, even relatively popular games, like the Alice series, may have no mainstream penetration.

    Or maybe Disney is just embracing the art of imitation.

  2. Sagan says:

    For a second I was hoping this was Warren Spector’s game. That would have been awesome.

  3. Sovietmudkipz says:

    Lol owned.

    Yea, I don’t get why Hollygreed won’t get A+ guys to produce their games.

    Sure, sometimes it happens that a unknown will produce gold (in the sense of movie to game port) (Riddick!) but more often than not, the game will be mediocre at best and shit as the status-quo.

    Lulz, when will they learn?

  4. Lambo says:

    I’m going to put this quite neatly into my “Hmm” category of games which I’ve heard of.

  5. TheColonel says:

    Whatever happened to American McGee? He seemed to lose his genius entirely after Alice. That is definitely in my top five games of all time, even though the gameplay was awful beyond belief. I wonder if Tim Burton will be able to better the game for style, if not for concept?

  6. rei says:

    What’s wrong with Alice as envisioned by Carroll, anyway? I don’t understand the compulsion to make “gritty, grown-up” versions of the story.

  7. Heliocentric says:

    I wonder what kind of self harm will be inferred as the cause of this adventure. I’m holding out for self-water boarding, keep it relevant i say.

  8. Urthman says:

    What’s wrong with Alice as envisioned by Carroll, anyway? I don’t understand the compulsion to make “gritty, grown-up” versions of the story.

    As usual, Old Man Murray said it best:

    The problem with making a dark and disturbing version of Alice in Wonderland is that it’s pretty dark and disturbing to begin with, which gives it little training wheels that help cultural firebrands ride it into geniusdom once every eighteen months or so. Masterminding a trippy reinterpretation of Lewis Carroll is like making a version of Crazy Traxi, only crazy!

    http://www.oldmanmurray.com/longreviews/56.html

  9. TeeJay says:

    Far more interesting:

    American McGee’s Alice II
    http://alice.spicyhorse.com/alice-announce.html

  10. hydra9 says:

    Old Man Murray’s right.

    By the way, for something truly twisted and horrifying, look at the developer portraits on Etranges Libellules’ front page.

  11. LewieP says:

    I was just twittering today about how I am not going to watch another Tim Burton film with Jonny Depp and/or Helena Bonham Carter in.

  12. Gap Gen says:

    9 looks better. Although it already is a free short film on YouTube.

  13. Tei says:

    It just don’t make sense.

    Is like someone tryiing to make The Schindler’s List again… in B&W.

    It … just… has.. been.. done.. before… The Right Way [tm].

    Theres probably a 9.499.230.555.122.999 billion other ideas, take another one at randum, please.

  14. mpuncekar says:

    A this point I just can’t look at another Alice reinterpretation. There have been just too many, and I’m getting pretty sick of seeing that dang cheshire cat and mad hatter. American Mcgee hit at the perfect time for his game. Burton missed his chance, and now it will be pretty hard for him not to make a tired movie. So I guess I can expect a tired game.

    Although I am intrigued by American McGee doing a sequel as I love his art team. They make some truly imaginative concept art. First time I’ve heard that announcement. But I’d say this would have been a fun announcement 7-10 years ago.

  15. Taillefer says:

    ACE Team would have been a more interesting choice. They have the card thing going and everything.

    There’s no doubt an awesome game within Wonderland somewhere. I’m not sure it’s a third-person-action-platformer with upgradable combat mechanics.
    (Note: I’m not a fan American’s Alice)

  16. Taillefer says:

    + “of”

  17. Railick says:

    The only good thing to ever come out of Alice was the fantastic X-rated comic based on it, sorry.

  18. Railick says:

    Tried to look up on wikipedia what I was talking about, it isn’t listed there but there were a lot of other x rated Alice related things created over the years O.o The one I’m talking about was a Japanese magna type thing called Alice in Sexland I believe with 2 series. Fantastic stuff :P Thank God I kicked my addiction to that kind of thing for the time being.

  19. panik says:

    i’d much rather have a game where you have to persuade a young alice to take her clothes off so you can photograph her.

  20. bhlaab says:

    I’d buy a reverse version of folding@home that gives tim burton cancer

  21. Klaus says:

    @ bhlaab
    Some part of me thought that was awful, though I still lol’d anyway. Nice to know I still have some feelings, even though they lose out.

    But really. how much more dark does Alice in Wonderland need to be? I will support, if they take the Cheshire Cat and make him more sociopathic.

    As a matter of fact just make everyone mean, unlikable, prone to outburst.

  22. Hulk Hogan says:

    Tim Burton’s Johny Depp’s American McGee’s Tom McClancy Jr’s Alice in Wonderland 2: Revenge of Count Blackula

  23. TeeJay says:

    ——>>>>tangent:
    re. literary adaptations…
    Has anyone ever made a videogame based on Shakespeare?

    Gulliver’s Travels would make a good basis – you could redo it as a sci-fi satire on current western society and have the protagonist getting marooned on 4 different planets.

  24. TheColonel says:

    It wasn’t really the “extra” dark edge, it was just being able to play around in Wonderland. I’m sure there are 9,499,230,555,122,999 billion other ideas, but I’m yet to play a game that comes close to Lewis Carroll’s idea. Alice doesn’t need a film, it doesn’t need a TV series, it doesn’t need more books, porn, retelling, or a musical, but a game… that might just be interesting. And in fact was. I agree entirely with mpuncekar: the art direction behind it was fantastic, whether making it grittier was necessary or not. Playing it again recently reminded me that I’d never heard the term or concept “emo” back when it came out.

  25. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    upgradable combat system(unlocks)
    collectables(more unlocks)
    unlock secrets
    carefully select(sigh…)

    Really, this was another one where some people said: okay we’ve got this upcoming movie that will probably generate a big hype, let’s quickly make a game. What can we do within the year?

  26. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    I am waiting for that movie, by the way. That’ll be good. C’mon, It’s Tim Burton!

  27. Antistar says:

    You know… apparently my ex-girlfriend knows the girl playing Alice in the upcoming movie: they went to dance school together. Small world… sort of. Since I can’t remember her name and I’ve never met her myself.

    Yeah.

  28. MeestaNob! says:

    Any word on American McGee’s Alice sequel?

  29. Tei says:

    We need another LOTR movies, and another Star Wars LEGO (with better graphics). And maybe a book about the LOTR movie!. A book about Lord Of The Rings whould be.. kick ass!
    It could be “Lord of the rings: The Movie. The book”.
    Also, a low production cost version of all Star Wars movies.
    And a CGI version of “Terminator 1″ and “Alien, The 8th Passenger”!.
    Also we need a comic about Watchmen and V for Vendetta.
    “Watchmen: The Movie, The Comic Book” sounds just in.

  30. bhlaab says:

    Any word on American McGee’s Alice sequel?

    yeah apparently its going to be a huge failure

  31. Über Nerd says:

    How about “Alice in Reichstag”? Because we shouldn’t judge games, just because they are set in WWII.

  32. Christian says:

    Talking about franchises: Why isn’t there a Futurama MMO-something yet?
    That would be quite nice I guess. A bit like Eve, but with fun ;)

  33. Cedge says:

    Does anyone seriously think that Burton’s Alice looks rightly “dark”? Really now, does this term mean the same thing anymore?

    Cant’ speak much for their gameplay credit, but Etranges Libellules have made consistently very pretty games so far, so, I’ll at least give it a chance, if I have nothing else to do come March.

  34. cheeba says:

    “Alice doesn’t need a film, it doesn’t need a TV series, it doesn’t need more books, porn…”

    You clearly haven’t seen the tremendous 70′s porno musical version. Quite, quite mad, but strangely charming.

  35. Count Zero says:

    I like Tim Burton, and I loved American McGee’s Alice when it came out, so I’m intrigued about the movie, but not that optimistic on the game. Judging by the production stills on imdb the movie seems to have the right tone, so let’s see. Do you guys remember that at one point there was a movie based on the American McGee’s Alice game with Natalie Portman set to play Alice? Last time I heard of that the lead changed to Sarah Michelle Gellar and then the project just died.

    The last time I was excited about a movie game was when Shiny was hired to make Enter the Matrix -you know, back when both Shiny and Matrix were still good. I learned my lesson after the game sucked, even if it was from a formerly talented developer. My take on movie games is that developers have to push hard to get the game in stores around the premiere of the movie, and also have to handle studio execs telling them what they can and can’t do with the property, resulting in a rushed game that feels designed by committee.
    Movie license games can be good, if they just use the license and are not rushed to coincide with the movie, but games like these are usually just a cheap ploy to get some extra revenue from the movie’s marketing machine. The actual quality of the game is incidental since people will buy them based on the movie’s buzz alone.

  36. We Fly Spitfires - MMORPG Blog says:

    Blast from the past! I completely forgot about that Alice game. The new one doesn’t interest me all that much but we’ll see.

  37. Katnip says:

    I’m a huge Alice in Wonderland fan, but I just can’t get excited for either this game or the Tim Burton film. I think it’s something about the character designs, how they simultaneously meld the cutesy with the Burtonesque. If you look at the original illustrations, the feeling is fussy and claustrophobic, but with hints of a lunatic fringe about to burst forth. It shouldn’t feel like epic fantasy in an unusual setting, it should feel surreal and disorienting, perhaps at moments even awe inspiring. I suppose I should add that my favorite portrayal aside from Tenniel’s originals is the series of pictures done by Arthur Rackham.

    As for the Mad Hatter, he’s traditionally portrayed as being exceptionally unfriendly, contrary, and he runs afoul of the kingdom’s justice several times, mostly to his detriment. If you want a powerful character, the Caterpillar, Cheshire Cat, Gryphon, or White Knight would all be better choices for a guide through Wonderland, though I’m sure the first three of those will show up anyway. Reading through the Disney press release, I’d say using the phrase “endearing friends” to describe the Wonderland cast quite misses the mark.

    Perhaps I’m wrong and the movie will be fantastic, but if you’re going to do another “Alice revisits Wonderland” plot, why retread nearly the exact same scenario that American McGee did? Fighting off the Red Queen, Cards, and Jabberwocky to restore Wonderland sounds pretty close, though it presumably loses the personal trauma and mental health elements.

  38. Tei says:

    Maybe Mad Hatter is popular because the old Disney movie.

    And now.. a total random quote:

    *** Alice in Wornderland and the number 42 ***

    Here’s a tricky one. On about the third page of chapter two, Alice starts speaking out some bizarre equations…

    “Let me see: four times five is twelve, and four times six is thirteen, and four times seven is — oh dear! I shall never get to twenty at that rate!”

    Alice is correct. 4*5=12… when expressed in base 18. Bases are different standards by which numbers are measured. We count in base 10, computers count in base 2 (a.k.a. binary). HTML colors are in base 16 (a.k.a. hexadecimal, like 1F(b16) is 31(b10)). So anyway, following this pattern…

    4*5=12 (b18)
    4*6=13 (b21)
    4*7=14 (b24)
    4*8=15 (b27)
    4*9=16 (b30)
    4*10=17 (b33)
    4*11=18 (b36)
    4*12=19 (b39)
    4*13=1A (b42) (or about 32(b10) short of 20). The equation falls apart here. Alice will never get to 20 at this rate. :)

    ( from http://www.eeggs.com/items/20350.html )

  39. Tei says:

    postdata:
    Lewis Carroll, a.k.a. Charles Dodgeson, was a mathmatician.
    The riddles in the book are math problems, that can all be solved using logic equations. It just make sense to make a puzzle game, much like Myst.

  40. Urthman says:

    Has anyone ever made a videogame based on Shakespeare?

    There’s a nifty, enormously polished, yet flawed Interactive Fiction version of The Tempest:

    http://jerz.setonhill.edu/if/tempest.html

  41. Kevin Jones says:

    looks like a blockbuster……

  42. Railick says:

    My favorite version of the Mad Hatter is the Batman Villian from the old cartoon series who used the cards in the hat to conrol people’s minds, awesome.

  43. john t says:

    So, uh most of what was in the two Alice books was just Lewis Carroll playing around with logic problems. To me, the ideal alice game would just be an old school lucas arts style adventure game.

  44. The Colonel says:

    Yeah it never made sense to be a violent action game. Though the billy club and cards were cool. When is a billy club not a billy club? You could do so much more with the characters, locations and weird ideas with an adventure game.

  45. Taillefer says:

    @Cheeba

    I can barely believe you didn’t just make that up. My mind is blown.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074113/

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