American McGee’s Akaneiro: Demon Hunters

By Jim Rossignol on January 9th, 2013 at 4:00 pm.


We mentioned a while back that American McGee’s Shanghai-based studio, Spicy Horse, was developing an ARPG with an odd theme. That theme is Japanese feudalism and the tale of Red Riding Hood. If you’re not sure how those two concepts merge, then you can see in a video below for Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, which pitches McGee and chum’s proposal to the all-funding eye of Kickstarter. Given that the game is free-to-play the rewards for this are based in in-game stuff, right through to a game-themed tablet. They want $200k, which doesn’t seem too outlandish.

So yea, not a bad pitch I suppose. And the game looks rather attractive. I’ve not had a go on the beta, but that looks like a surefire way to figure out if Spicy Horse’s claims about “real ARPG meat” are true, or not.

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43 Comments »

  1. Totally heterosexual says:

    Meh. American McGee’s stuff never was that good in my opinion.

    The dude has a bitching name though.

    • cowardly says:

      He’s got a sister called ‘Tits’.

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    • President Weasel says:

      (wahey!/oh dear)

      It’s always found the inclusion of his name as a big selling point “American McGee’s Alice”, American McGee presents an American McGee game by American McGee” before he’d really made a name for himself a bit off-putting. That said, maybe Alice was really good – I was put off by the name.

      • TCM says:

        I’ll say this about American McGee: He sure does have an ego.

      • wu wei says:

        I was more put off by the frothy “ZOMG American McGee has made Alice all dark!” as if the source material wasn’t. Jan Svankmajer also managed to do it without cramming his name into the title.

        Akaneiro itself is okay, but the monetisation feels very similar to mobile games.

        • LintMan says:

          Exactly. From the classic Old Man Murray review:

          “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! At this point, about the edgiest thing you could do with Alice in Wonderland is try to make it a little less fucking insane.”

          http://www.oldmanmurray.com/longreviews/58.html

          Damn, I miss OMM.

          • asshibbitty says:

            That is such a shitty review. I remember being pretty mad about it :/

          • 2helix4u says:

            But can you imagine a dark and violent version of Red Riding Hood hmmm?
            GENIUS

          • Hulk Handsome says:

            Sometimes I think anyone who thinks Alice in Wonderland is dark hasn’t actually read the book and just based their opinion on movie adaptations which tend to be darker for whatever reason. It’s a fun, whimsical adventure involving a lot of word play! There’s nothing dark about it at all!

            Also, the best thing about Alice was the soundtrack. The game itself was a very mediocre third-person platformer with some cool imagery and a very shallow story that tried too hard to be dark.

            Of course, I was 17 or so when I played it, so I lapped it right up.

          • The Random One says:

            I agree with Hulk; the two Alice novels are pretty much children’s stories. Not only are they suitable for children, but they have the kind of strange stuff that skips common sense and makes a different kind of sense you hear children saying sometimes. In some ways it’s like a Victorian Axe Cop.

          • wu wei says:

            Well, I’m sorry if I think the Red King dreaming is a moment of pure existential horror…

            Really, if you can’t see the darkness in the original books, then its your own imagination that’s impoverished, or you’re too guided by the fact that it’s published as a children’s book now when that was never its original intent, being very much social satire at the time.

            Goodness, I’m so tired of people saying how dark it is.

            Right, everyone else is wrong and lying about having read the originals. If you have access to the inner states of everyone else, all of economics & marketing would love to have a word with you…

          • Hulk Handsome says:

            It was written for children! Like, he literally wrote it for three children he went on a boating trip with! Please don’t tell me that you believe those urban myths about him writing the book while on drugs and that the “falling down the rabbit hole” scene is an allusion to the author sexually assaulting a minor. Certainly there may be some satire in the tale, but it’s hardly “dark.” I’d even go as far to say that it sugar coated certain topics.

            I also don’t mean to say that children’s literature can’t be dark, as that’s clearly not true, but I don’t feel Alice is an example at all. It’s an example of intelligent children’s literature, though.

          • GameCat says:

            I don’t know, Alice in Wonderland books are like some kind of dreams (which is true in general, Alice is dreaming almost all through the first book and her wake up at end is fake) that are inch away from nightmares. Eat too much before sleep and you’re fucked up. :)

        • GameCat says:

          Jan Svankmajer’s Alice
          Have a virtual cup of tea, sir. This is my fauvorite movie ever and it’s rare to see someone mention it at videogames blogs. Hell, it’s rare to see someone mention it at all.

          BTW – I played Akaneiro beta. Pretty medicore, but it have nice atmosphere. I wonder how much they changed since my last visit.

    • Deathmaster says:

      I never really got it with this guy. Now mentioning a developer in the title should be promising. Sid Meier’s [game], you immediately expect something worth playing.
      Whenever I see this it’s like… oh, right. Bad Day L.A. in NYC this time? I’ll pass.

      • Arglebargle says:

        Sid Meier seems to be just a name now. I don’t think he does much real work or oversight on things. Even by Alpha Centauri, it was his name, but Brian Reynolds did the actual design and production.

    • CommanderZx2 says:

      He’s worked on games such as Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Ultimate Doom, Doom 2, Quake, Hexen, Quake 2, etc… betore he starting doing games with his name before the title.

      • Hulk Handsome says:

        Well, he was a tester for the Jaguar port of Wolfenstein 3D and has levels in the 32X version of Doom. He didn’t do anything substantial until Ultimate Doom, and that was only two levels for the new episode. He designed some pretty swell Doom II and Quake levels (and a couple really great ones), but that’s hardly enough reason to put his name on a box.

        Furthermore, apparently he had very little to do with Scrapland (probably the most mechanically interesting of games with his name on it, even if it didn’t reach it’s potential), but they slapped his name on it anyway to make it sell better.

  2. whexican says:

    Bad Day L.A. is perhaps the worst gaming experience I’ve ever had….and this coming from a person that has BEATEN the Atari E.T. game.

  3. Seraph says:

    I LOVED Alice, seriously one of my favorite games – so atmospheric. Only played a bit of Madness Returns, but I like what I’ve played so far, and I’ve heard Scrapland was pretty good too, so that leaves Bad Day LA which I’ve never even seen, just heard people moaning about; so that seems like a pretty good track record imo. I do think it’s funny that a game dev named American moves to Shanghai and makes a game set in feudal Japan, he seems rather confused.

  4. Network Crayon says:

    3:11 That guy looks lifted straight out of Okami, is he a reoccuring character in japanese art? (I’m not complaing as such here, im genuinly interested)

    • Premium User Badge Oozo says:

      The werewolf? Hm, I just had looked it up in a lexicon of Japanese mythology… Ôkami actually is the general word for “wolf” in Japanese, it seems, and human-animal hybrids are not that uncommon in general in Japanese folktales, werewolves included. So it might just be their take on “Japanese werewolf”, and the similarities might be a simple result of them going for an Ôkami[the game]-like visual style.

      But now I am intrigued: If somebody knows of a traditional painting resembling that guy, let me know.

      • Network Crayon says:

        Not the werewolf, the red armoured beast immediately afterwards, barers a complete resemblence to crimson helm in Okami, Okami does indead mean wolf though :)

      • Jae Armstrong says:

        Ah, well, yes, but also no. Ookami (狼) does indeed mean “wolf” in Japanese, but it also means “god” (大神), and it’s the latter kanji that’s used for the game. It’s a pun, you see. :P

        @Network Crayon: so far as I can tell from the video, that’s just a werewolf in samurai get-up and rendered in a sumi-e-esque style. Not particularly significant AFAIK, and Crimson Helm is a flaming cow besides.

  5. kwyjibo says:

    We don’t actually need the Kickstarter for anything, it’s all going to happen anyway – but we’d like to get sell some pre-release hats. So $200,000 please!

    • Cytrom says:

      That’s pretty much all successful Kickstarters in a nutshell nowadays.

    • LintMan says:

      Totally agree. And the rewards for donations suck, So it’s like “we’re so grateful for your support that we’ll give you a whole $3 of our fake money for you $10 of real money!”

      Sheesh. I hate F2P anyway, but crappy rewards is not a trend I want to see propagate.

      • wu wei says:

        There was a LOT of uncertainty over exactly what kind of model they were going for. Describing it as paid model that is free to play and then KickStarted confused the hell out of everyone who didn’t want to see it as a desperate cash grab.

  6. Baines says:

    I need to try the beta. I keep getting emails about it, but always forget about it later. (Beta access was a bonus in one of the Groupees bundles.)

    • Premium User Badge emertonom says:

      OH! Thank you. I got an email saying “Here’s that beta key you signed up for,” and my reaction was, “wait, what?” So it’s a relief to learn this was just me overlooking a “perk” rather than some idiot signing up with my email or the like.

  7. Brendie88 says:

    Wait, uh… did they just forget to mention anything Red Riding Hood related, or did I miss it?

    • kyynis says:

      It features a wolf in a forest… accompanied by twelve gazillion other wolves, some of which lug around sharp weaponry in their innards.

  8. MrDreadlock says:

    Silverfall anyone?

  9. gschmidl says:

    I was in the beta for this and it was pretty terrible.

  10. SkittleDiddler says:

    For a man claiming his newest creation has plenty of money, it seems rather odd that he’d be going to Kickstarter for funds now. A bad case of Molyneuxitis, perhaps?

  11. Jupiah says:

    I played the beta for a couple of hours. The art style is fantastic and I love the music, but the gameplay is pretty shallow so far and the user interface is terrible. I got 3 levels in before I even had to use a special ability and I still haven’t figured out if there’s any difference between light, medium and heavy armor besides the looks and each having a different skill you can buy to buff them. (They all have the same defense values and there doesn’t seem to be any class restrictions on what you can wear)

    Also for some bizarre reason 90% of the item drops I found were 2-5 levels too high for me to equip, so my inventory got cluttered up pretty fast with stuff I didn’t want to sell because it was good but I couldn’t use it yet.

    • AlienMind says:

      My thoughts exactly. They got the art, and they wasted it on a jump’n run (Alice:Madness Returns). Now they got the art again, and this time they waste it on a hack’n'slay. Why can’t they put their art in an equally un-boring gameplay?

  12. DK says:

    The Beta is open so anyone can try to form their own opinion. But mine is that it’s basically terrible. It has 18 different abilities total, several of which are passive. The gameplay is as shallow as it can possibly be, and hurray it’s another always-online-title meaning you get terrible lag even when you’re playing on your own. It’s terrible.

  13. NothingFunny says:

    If anything I would prefer more developers put their name on the game. But instead we have publishers on the cover ;/