Eurogamer: What's your reaction been to the Alice: Madness Returns reaction?
American McGee: It's great. It surprised a lot of people at EA just how big the response was. We, being the creators of it, always expected that our fans were a little bit rabid and always waiting in expectation of something new.
We've been able to see over the last 10 years how interest in the IP hasn't really gone down - if anything it has increased and people would put a higher value on the game. I won't say I'm too terribly surprised, because we saw the same thing first time around, but it has definitely surprised a lot of people.
Eurogamer: Were there any misconceptions about the announcement that you'd like to clear up?
American McGee: I've read a few comments from people who are concerned about the general horror level of the content. We want to make sure that people understand that for the sake of a trailer to grab people's attention, it's always worthwhile and reasonable to really shock and throw as much of that in there as possible in as short a time as possible.
The final product is going to be like the first game: very diverse. There's a huge range of content from the whimsical to the extremely dark.
And in terms of the gameplay: a mixture of things that feel somewhat like a survival-horror game in some sections, but then also relying very heavily on puzzle, on platforming, on action and of course a heavy amount of storytelling and adventure as well. The teaser we put out hit a single note, but it's important to make it clear that the final product will be extremely diverse.
Eurogamer: How does Madness Returns compare to the original Alice game?
American McGee: We've had the opportunity to listen to the fans for the last 10 years to get a pretty good understanding of what it is they liked and disliked about the first game. This is a narrative sequel to the first game, and that means that the story does pick up where the previous story left off.
The gameplay is very closely modelled to the gameplay you found in the first game, except that this time around of course we've gone in there and cleared up places where we heard people expressing frustration about the variable difficulty or elements of the platforming that weren't that much fun. Or elements of the combat that didn't have enough strategy in them.
This time around you're going to get much of the same in terms of really brilliant art, really deep story with lots of twists. We're going to present a similar mix of gameplay elements but with a lot of improvements.
Eurogamer: Will Alice: Madness Returns be a single-player experience?
American McGee: Yeah. It's a single-player action adventure platforming game, third-person perspective, very heavily story driven. Again, it's very similar to the first game in most respects. Where its differing is a completely new story, whole new adventure and significant update to the mechanics inside the game.
Eurogamer: What did you think about Tim Burton's recent adaptation of Alice in Wonderland?
American McGee: I didn't like it, but clearly a billion-and-a-half-dollars worth of people did, so it probably doesn't make sense to speak out too strongly against it. I did feel that it had a lot of really nice ingredients, I just wasn't a big fan of the way they were blended together.
The main problem I had with it was it didn't feel like enough of Alice's story. Our approach has always been to emphasise Alice as the main character, whereas in the film it felt like you had five or six competing main characters and Alice's story was really diminished as a result.
Eurogamer: Does that film affect your project in any way?
American McGee: No, you know, we started work on our Alice before that film was even announced, so it was interesting to see it come and go. More than anything it reaffirmed our belief that this is a huge IP that's globally recognised and appeals to a really massive audience.
If anything, its helped us convince others that the game we're making doesn't have to be super horror or super scary in order to appeal. It can be true to itself and it's going to capture a pretty big audience.