A decade after Alice: Madness Returns, American McGee is still trying to make a third game in his edgy fantasy platformer series. He's been running a Patreon so goths can support this dream, and on Friday he shared a 147-page script and 'narrative outline' with the bones of what he wants Alice: Asylum to be. If you're curious, it's free to download and learn about the horrors potentially waiting if he gets to continue the Alice In Wonderland fanfic: more murder, more child abuse, and more platforming.
Alice: Asylum, if it gets made, would see Alice once again exploring and fighting manifestations of her trauma. A spooky circus. An asylum. Familiar folks and critters. Clockwork. Meat. Black goop. Broken dolls. Pedophilia. Places representing stages in the Kübler-Ross model of grief. You know the stuff.
Version 1.0 of the 'potential game script & narrative outline' for Alice: Alysum is available now from Patreon in PDF format. It briefly explains different levels and boss battles, has the dialogue, and yeah, lets you know what the plan is. It's not final, of course.
"The narrative contained within is still very much a Work In Progress," McGee says. "Some elements (dialog for example) may seem downright clunky. The polishing phase for those things will come next as part of the Crowd Design process. After that, this content will be used to drive the production of the Design Bible. And keep in mind that this content is not an exhaustive collection of everything we imagine will be in the game - but the minimum amount required to convey the main story. Once this document is locked, there will be a need to craft additional dialog, locations, and scenarios in greater detail."
Do bear in mind that a script is a long, long way from a finished game - in terms of time and money. But he wants to make it. He's been saying for years that he wants to make it. Since 2016, he's run a Patreon to help fund words and art and plans and documents and such to pitch the game to series owners EA. As he explains, "My goal is to build a production/design plan, have that plan approved by EA, and then raise funding to develop a new game." A long way from being made. But hey, 3282 people are helping support that with their own money.
I don't remember much about either of American McGee's Alices, but looking at screenshots of Madness Returns now, cor that was a pretty one at times, wasn't it. And then I remember why I don't remember much.
"My motivation to keep going was only to see what it might paint upon my monitor next, not because I craved any more jumpy-stabby," Alec Meer said in our Alice: Madness Returns review, calling it "a formulaic, flair-free jumping and fighting game". Pretty, though. Duncan Harris talked about that prettiness with its art director a few years back.
No Alice jokes for me, please and thank you. I'll only accept the one which Other Alice and I want printed on official RPS mugs: "You don't have to be Alice to work here, but it helps!"