American McGee announces spiritual successor to Alice, focusing on free-to-play

After spending two years working on Alice: Madness Returns, American McGee and his Shanghai-based studio returned to what they’ve wanted to focus on all along, AAA downloadable online games.

“It’s a decision I made long ago,” said CEO and founder of Spicy Horse, McGee. “As to why, it really comes down to the evolution of gamers and gaming platforms. During this console cycle we’ve all witnessed a dramatic shift towards online and mobile games – a function of player demand more than anything else. While I think there will always be a place for big console games, we all like the freedom provided by shorter session online games and access anywhere mobile games. And for us as developers, it’s nice to build something we know can evolve post-launch for years to come – as opposed to traditional console/PC games which are more launch-and-forget.”

BigHead Bash is one of Spicy Horse’s new projects, a free-to-play online multiplayer action game using colorful, street art inspired avatars set in a virtual toy store. Players can purchase toys, some of which are based on real-world licenses, and pit them against each other in various arenas.

For those looking for something along the same vein of Alice, keep an eye on Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, which has been described as a “spiritual successor” to Alice. It has a gorgeous sumi-e style look, plays like a lite version of Diablo, and is based on the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Akaneiro will be available for PC and tablets.

Last, but the not least, the game that was teased a few weeks ago ago is Crazy Fairies, a turn-based multiplayer game, similar to Worms, set in multiple fairy tales from around the world. To get an idea of what the gameplay is like, check out the trailer below. There may not be any trace of a console Alice game anytime soon, but her character is sure to make an appearance in Crazy Fairies.

As to whether we’ll ever see another game like Alice again, McGee responded with, “We might consider it, but I doubt we’d do another ‘like’ Alice: Madness Returns. That product had zero online content (aside from some basic DLC) – and no co-op or multiplayer online functionality. If we were to do another console game it would have to contain all those things – and more. For the moment though, we are perfectly happy to focus our attention on mobile/PC F2P online games and our own, original IP.”

No release dates have been confirmed for the three titles but for more information, head on over to Spicy Horse.

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