Carbon6, the Hollywood-based studio founded by American McGee, has finally announced its first project, an Xbox and PC project due for release in 2004, called American McGee's Oz. Like Alice before it, Oz is set in the world of the author (L. Frank Baum)'s classic novels, but during an earlier, darker period dreamt up by McGee and co.
In the game, Oz is filled with war and destruction, as the familiar races of munchkins and wizards find themselves locked together in combat, with an even distribution of witches swallowing up battlefields at the flick of a wrist. As the munchkins raze the wizards' strongholds with horrific, steam-powered war machines, the rules of the Realm send for one man, a messiah, who will become a wizard on his way to saving Oz from certain destruction. Ten bob says it's you.
McGee has been fiddling with the Oz world, altering a number of aspects (although, naturally, the flying monkeys remain intact), and has already established various elements to build the game into a franchise. Various tie-ins are said to be in place, including a line of toys (check here, here and here for confirmation), with a book and film deal apparently in the offing. It is also known that the soundtrack to the game will be produced by none other than Media Ventures, a company set up by Hans Zimmer and Jay Rifkin in the 70s, and whose film plaudits include The Lion King, The Thin Red Line and many others.
"Oz offers a diverse world and large range of characters to explore and meet. I'm really excited to be working with such rich material and amazing technology," McGee said in a statement. More details on the game are available on the Carbon6 website, and we've snagged a bit of concept art and an early screenshot for you to enjoy here.