Eurogamer: Alice: Madness Returns will be your first PS3 and 360 project. Didn't you once slag those consoles off?
American McGee: As technology platforms, our studio is pleased to have them there as a way to get into people's living rooms. The article that you refer to was one in which I saw what was happening in the market place and just thought that Nintendo had done it right by stepping out of the battle over processor power and features that all the consoles have always had, and instead bringing something new to the battle.
And of course they clearly won as a result of that. That dedication to innovation is something that's lacking not just from the console manufacturers but from game development driven by big publishing entities in general. They tend to be fairly risk averse.
It would be nice if we saw a few more bets taken, although I'm saying that as someone who's making a sequel to a game that was made 10 years ago. It's a nice wish, but it's not always the reality we get.
Eurogamer: How big is the team at Spicy Horse? Have you had any trouble adapting to PS3?
American McGee: We are 75 people internally and we use outsourcing for another 45 people to produce 3D art content for the game. This is the studio's second big project [the other being Grimm], so the team has enough experience under their belt to be able to attract the big projects.
We did that by virtue of really good production processes that we have in place for the team. The support we've received from Sony and Microsoft has been great. It's not that difficult for us to get hardware here, and it's not that difficult at all for us to get hardware expertise here.
China has in no way been a barrier, and being on console has in no way created any sense of concern for the team.
Eurogamer: What is the state of the Alice: Madness Returns project? It sounds like you've been working on it for a while.
American McGee: It's in a good state. We've been having a great time making it. So far we've hit every one of our milestones and all measures of quality. Working with EA people has been really spectacular: they come out here to visit us and give input on the project quite frequently. We really like having them as partners. We can't complain. For the studio, it's the best opportunity in being able to make a big game that we've ever had.
Eurogamer: What's your development cycle on the game?
American McGee: You know, I can't talk about the specifics of the timings of the development. I can only say that the amount of time we've spent with it, we'll be done sometime in 2011.
Eurogamer: What's your opinion of Move and Kinect - will Alice work with them?
American McGee: It's awesome technology but we started the project a bit late for us to take advantage of designing around it. I do hope that both systems find success. That sort of advancement in peripheral input technology like that is really important.
Eurogamer: You once said you wanted to be the next Walt Disney, only "a bit more wicked". Have you achieved that yet?
American McGee: The Grimm project we did was a version of it. We created a fairly expansive fairytale world and touched on many of the fairytales from the Grimms collection, which is of course where Disney pulled a lot of their tales from. In the broader sense there's probably still some way to go.
Also, I'll say that when I made that comment some years ago, my thoughts about where that might go were quite different from where they are today. Being a little bit older, I don't know if I'm so much inclined towards being the next Disney. I'd be happy to build a virtual theme park of some scale and then call it even at that.
Alice: Madness Returns is in development for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 and will be released next year.