Alice Returns New Trailer, Notes, Make-Up

The trailer's much more messed up than this.

More on Alice: Madness Returns from the Tokyo Game Show. It’s been quiet since its announcement, but the there’s new “stuff” including a genuinely somewhat messed up trailer, which you’ll find below. And since it’s been ages since I’ve done one, I’ve written a second-by-second analysis of the trailer for your delectation. Also, linked to someone doing Alice Make-up. And the Sisters’ of Mercy, because I just can’t stop myself…


00:00 “May include content inapporpriate for children”. Splendid. I hope they don’t mean really long words and sophisticated analysis of relationships and other boring grown-up-stuff.
00:08 Slow fade on a snowy street. Where’s Alice?
00:09 Here’s Alice! In her party dress. Hence a little cold, because it’s snowy and she’s in the street.
00:13 And Alice comes across a sort of glass-fronted amusement-arcade “thing”. It’s glowing. It’s spooky Alice, but Alice is a bit of a spooky girl, so goes and has a nose.
00:17 Alice has a good peer. Peer, Alice, Peer. What is it?
00:19 It’s a little marionette-show of the Mad Hatter’s Tea-Party. Be careful, Alice. In the immortal words of Jamie McKelvie’s Suburban Glamour, “Marionettes Are Creepy”. They will inevitably fuck you up.
00:25 Wait – what’s that in the reflection? Blue ghosty things.
00:26 Which aren’t there when Alice turns around. “Mother?” says Alice, which probably makes the (presumable) ghost of her dad feel a bit pissed off.
00:29 Wait… no, behind you again Alice. It’s on fire! That can’t be good.
00:31 Alice finally realises something’s up. Oh, Alice, you droopy goth lady.
00:32 But she hasn’t noticed that the Red Queen – possibly – seems to come to life and…
00:33 She still hasn’t turned around when the whole thing explodes and bursts with Tentacles. Moral being: less moping time, goth girl, more BEING ALERT AND TURNING AROUND.
00:36 And she’s dragged in to the fire by the tentacles. She’s trying to break free? Can she?
00:37 No! She’s can’t. She’s a fire-grilled whopper.
00:40 And title in the flames. Spooooky.

In short: spooky, unusual world game action-horror thing… which makes me suspect that this was commissioned as a direct response to Bioshock’s success. If you see what I mean. Oh, okay. Let me elaborate. Bioshock “proved” that a quirky world could actually be of use in terms of selling a game to a market. Equally, it perhaps also showed how fondness for an old-IP can be turned into attention for a new game. In other words, a return to McGee’s Alice was made much more likely by Bioshock’s success.

So, if you’re especially moved by that, you can perhaps make yourself up in that style. Like so…

What do you think, Andrew Eldritch?

Well, exactly.


  1. Scott Kevill says:

    Love the twitter account mentioned at the end!

    Follow @thewhiterabbit

  2. Eclipse says:

    “In short: spooky, unusual world game action-horror thing… which makes me suspect that this was commissioned as a direct response to Bioshock’s success. If you see what I mean.”

    You know this is a sequel and the original game is quite older than Bioshock, right?

    • Sobric says:

      Since the screenshot at the top is from the original, I’d guess that yes, he does know.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      And who cared about it until after Bioshock – itself a reprise of the same period riff?


    • Sobric says:

      Actually it’s not from the original, my bad.

      But, as KG is a games journalist, I’d still guess he knows that this is a sequel. His comments still stand though, since American McGee’s Alice was ages a go, and thus the SEQUEL is a response to Bioshock’s success.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      (I swapped the shot to a better one anyway)


    • Sobric says:

      I just noticed; now I feel as though I’m going slightly mad.


    • Eclipse says:

      “And who cared about it until after Bioshock – itself a reprise of the same period riff?”

      American’s McGee Alice is one of the most influential PC games of that period, nobody besides you think about Bioshock speaking about this new Alice, they think about the first game or the long story of American’s McGee with twisted fairy tales. Bioshock isn’t even visually similar to this new game, that instead closely resemble the first one in style.
      If you are a PC gamer and you started gaming at least in the end of the ’90s you know American’s McGee (ID Software member from doom 2 to quake 3) and you know Alice.
      Saying it’s something commissioned after Bioshock is just plain stupid

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Eclipse: I’m thinking like a publisher. One game proves a market, other games follow. Why would they decide that now was time to commission an Alice 2?

      You over-estimate Alice’s importance too. It was an 8/10 game. It wasn’t in any way definitive.


    • AndrewC says:

      You’ve awoken the goths, Kieron.

    • Eggy says:

      crawwwwwwwwwling iiiiiiiiiiiiin my skiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin

    • sigh says:

      “Eclipse: I’m thinking like a publisher. One game proves a market, other games follow. Why would they decide that now was time to commission an Alice 2?

      You over-estimate Alice’s importance too. It was an 8/10 game. It wasn’t in any way definitive.


      That made me LOL. System Shock 2 didn’t sell that well, but they went ahead and made BioShock… released almost a decade later.

    • jeremypeel says:

      @sigh: Well yes, but the point is that Bioshock was the initial risk; now publishers, being publishers, will follow in the new mainstream ground broken.

      And no one is suggesting that Alice and Bioshock have tons in common, but it wouldn’t be unreasonable for a big publisher to assume that they share much of the same Market (with a capital ‘M’).

    • Nick says:

      Alice had pretty much no impact whatsoever on the gaming scene, sorry.

    • MappyMousePD says:

      There’s long been interest in an Alice sequel. There’s even been a movie planned for some time. This isn’t something that came out of nowhere.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Well I am disappoint. Visually the original Alice was excellent. I don’t see what this has to do with Bioshock at all, they have nothing to do with each other visually or gameplay wise. I would say it could be argued though that the visual style of the original Alice was rather influential.

      Also, the original was slated by all the reviews I read at the time. In my opinion it’s an underrated classic.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Alice was an 8/10 game that was the only thing that stunted an otherwise 10/10 experience. The art, atmosphere and design were all inspired.

      What’s the betting EA will phone this one in? Apart from the usual “console tropes” of regenerating health, checkpointing and chest-high walls (yeah I bet they shove them in as well), it’ll be just as linear as the first game, but as a tardily written shlock-horror goth-fest.

      I would like to be proven wrong, honestly. But this is EA…

    • Bret says:

      Well, Alice did inspire one thing.

      A hilariously scathing review from Old Man Murray.

      Man. Old Man Murray. Good site.

    • Jahkaivah says:


      It’s similar in that it’s action combat in a overly fantastical horror setting.

      He’s not saying that this game is influenced by Bioshock he’s saying the market for the game was influenced…..

  3. AdamC says:

    Next time give us a link to Doctor Jeep…

  4. mlaskus says:

    Women are crazy! Crazy, I say! For the full length of the make up video I was expecting that girl to poke her out out!

    Oh, there is a game’s trailer in the article…

    • mlaskus says:

      poke her EYE out*

    • Dave says:

      My wife hates watching me shave my face because the razor goes so close to my eye sockets. I’d rather jab my eye with cosmetics than shave my cornea… but I don’t feel particularly daring while shaving.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Well you have made me feel a little insecure. I never have to shave near my EYES! What are you a wolfman?

    • mlaskus says:

      Maybe he is just very manly! Like I am, and watching that make-up video didn’t make me any less manly!
      Though, admittedly I also don’t have to shave anything near my eyes.

    • Thants says:

      Dave: You never should have had her watch Un Chien Andalou.

  5. coldwave says:

    Deutch angles are making me angry.

  6. Junior says:

    I really loved the original, but I just can’t muster any enthusiasm for this one, all the screenshots make it look like an HD remake, and the gameplay of Alice as never it’s strong point.

    And after Mr Mcgee’s other offerings, I’ve been forced to the conclusion that Alice was one of those flukes of gaming, where an invisible something gets caught in the gears of game development and breathes a spark of genius into the game.

  7. mandrill says:

    I ignored the game trailer and jumped straight to the song. \o/ Yay for Sisters of Mercy.

    I also salute the use of the lyrics in the notes :D

  8. Moth Bones says:

    So this game is about how awfully bad for you barbiturates are?

    I want a frock with a skull on the ribbon!

  9. jeremypeel says:

    I’m not one to sniff at new horror games as they’re fairly thin on the ground.


    I can’t help but associate Alice with the less sophisticated elements of gaming in the late ’90s. Pulp can be fun, but I’d like to think that post-The Cradle and Amnesia, horror gaming is visiting scarier, less cartoony places.

    • Flint says:

      I’m not sure it’s even supposed to be horror though. The original wasn’t – it had a thick and sometimes creepy atmosphere but as a game it was straight-up action; it even had a bizarre version of a comic sidekick. I can’t really see why the sequel would suddenly try to jump into a completely different realm.

    • Gabbo says:

      Alice being a horror game would be the mistake there. It’s not aiming for the same vein as Amnesia or The Cradle from Thief: DS (of which, I think your overestimating the actual influence of in the greater scheme of gaming anyway). It’s just trying to be grimy and dark or ‘twisted’ if you prefer, not actually scare anyone (Except maybe Lewis Carroll).

      Interested, but the trailer did nothing for me. Laughed at it actually.

  10. StingingVelvet says:

    Kieron is right, big companies do this shit all the time. One comic book movie turns into 100, but then as soon as a few flop you won’t see another for a decade.

    The width of Bioshock’s influence will be around for a while, until it isn’t.

  11. Birdman Tribe Leader says:

    Oh the Sisters of Mercy they are not departed or gone

  12. Angryinternetman says:

    I ignored the song and watched the girl.
    That’s because I’m a scary sweaty stalker. Not in Ukraine, but in my mom’s basement.

  13. Fumarole says:

    I am mildly disappointed that this is the only article tagged Make-up.

  14. Dave says:

    Sisters! Oh hell I have to buy some MP3s now.

  15. Lucas says:

    I borrowed Alice from a friend and found it to be entirely style over substance, and unbearable to play. American McGee hasn’t worked on anything I’ve cared about since leaving id.

  16. Adam Curtis' Freaky Jumpcuts says:

    Jesus loves the Sisters.

  17. jaheira says:

    Cool – I didn’t know the word “browbone” ’till I watched that video. Thanks RPS and thanks make-up lady!

  18. Sparks says:

    I think the announcement of a new Alice game is not a response to the success of Bioshock but a response to the success of the Alice in Wonderland movie. Which made a billion dollars and is one of the most financially successful movies of all time.

  19. Jackalope says:

    It’s hardly a new announcement, hasn’t it been in pre-production development for about three years now?

  20. Basilicus says:

    Alice had very little impact on gameplay, true, but it had a HUGE impact on art design in games. Bioshock’s gameplay was exactly what Looking Glass/Irrational/2K Boston/Irrational-again had been doing for years, but its visual flair owes a great deal to the strong push for better and more fairy-tale art design in games that were popular among developers and journalists, if not always players: Alice and The Longest Journey are the two that immediately jump to mind.

    So Bioshock owes Alice, but American McGee has been trying to do an Alice sequel for a decade with no success. Madness Returns owes Bioshock from a publishing perspective.

    Bioshock wouldn’t exist as it is visually without Alice before it. Madness Returns wouldn’t find a publisher without Bioshock’s success. LOVE OR HATE EITHER GAME, IT’S OK FOR THEM TO INFLUENCE EACH OTHER WITHOUT PEOPLE BECOMING PERSONALLY INSULTED ABOUT IT.

  21. Ted says:

    This is pretty much guaranteed to suck hard, like everything else American McGee has ever done.

  22. Eclipse says:

    but they did not, instead accelerating in the wrong direction.