American McGee Admits 'Tricked' Was The Wrong Word

American McGee Admits 'Tricked' Was The Wrong Word


EA was not happy about American McGee's Reddit reveal.

Remember a short while back, when American McGee claimed that EA's marketing for Alice: Madness Returns had tried to trick gamers into thinking that the game was gorier than it was? So does McGee, and he's now taken a step back from his previous position, thanks in part to what he describes as "a few pissed messages from EA."

"Allow me to expand on my original post while at the same time making a correction," McGee now says. "'Tricked' is the wrong word. I take that back. Apologies to EA and anyone else whose feelings were hurt."

"We live in a world of marketing," McGee goes on to say. In that world, companies like EA may pick on, or over-emphasise, attributes of a product that the company thinks will make it sell. That's not tricking people, McGee admits; marketing is designed to elicit a particular customer response, and companies which don't master marketing go under.

Even if, as creator, McGee didn't agree with the direction Alice's marketing was taking, that didn't mean the marketing was wrong, or lying. The attributes that EA used were definitely in the game; they just weren't what McGee thought was important.

"Maybe I don't agree with where gaming content seems to be going," says McGee, "but isn't that the prerogative of aging creators? To complain that things are too loud, too bright or too fleshy?" He then goes on to admit that "I also recognize my own faults, and actions which are to blame for things not being 100%... or for inadvertently igniting firestorms."

Whether this mea culpa will extinguish the firestorm has yet to be seen, but - at least at EA - it's possible some glowing embers will remain.

Source: American McGee


The way he describes the messages made me laugh, since I read the previous article too. I loved this game, and as most I dislike EA. I don't think I saw much commercial for it though, just bought it because the first game was fun.

Amazing. This guy throws a fit when it's suggested that China may be censoring creative expression, and then he turn around and gets angry when EA markets his horror game by suggesting that it involves violence and disturbing gore.

Anyone else get the impression he got a phone call that could be summarized as

"We no like what you say! EA SMASH!"

Forget China censoring and controlling game creators EA has the commies beat by a long shot.

Believe he was bothered by the fact that that is all they made his game seem in ads, not a quirky whimsical adventure game with platforming elements and some cool levels, blood guts gore horror horror.

Even in the comments the other day someone said they were put off buying the game despite liking the first one because of the ads.

Its not shocking when corporations want to market something and either do not know how to, see a movie like fight club, or they want to try and make a grab at a demographic and the product they got they feel will not cut it, i think trick or lie is a wholly appropriate word.

because if you market a game like this as a gore fest, horror game and someone wants to buy a gore fest horror game and buys it because of that they are more than likely to utterly hate it. people that want quirky platformers wont buy it because they are not getting told about it. so they choose the absolute worst option end up selling few games period.

as a developer i would be upset also, as a director i would be upset, taking your work and trying to pass it off as something it isn't basically trying to trick people into seeing it.

also see this game mentioned in some underrated lists, no worst of lists, so did he make a shit game? or did he make platforming action game with good level design and some gothic horror elements that was fun to play?

i think all the games i have played of his were ok, not great but not bad, but i am also not a platforming guy so any time i like a platforming game it is pretty impressive, so to me he made good games that should have sold better, and could have given they marketed it properly and sold it to people that might have enjoyed it.

Mislead, Tricking, not much of a difference. From the comments on the original story, there were quite a few gamers who played the original that were rather put off by the way EA tried to market it, only to find out later that wasn't the game the thought it was. The problem is that Alice: Madness Returns was only ever going to have a niche appeal, and that cuts both ways. EA's attempts broaden it's appeal by presenting it as gory-horror backfired, but it was only ever going to sell so much in the first place. Mostly to fans of the original or as a curiosity. The quality of the game itself is also an issue: like Lolipop Chainsaw it's not an exceptional title but still functional and entertaining to play.

Here's the thing though...

The game starts off rather bloody and gory, and actually remains that way for quite some time before switching over, and then back again to the violence. It would be one thing if the violence was only present in one chapter and that was the only chapter the marketing focused on, but when you start off from the gate like that, you're giving players the impression that the gore and violence has importance enough that it sets up the adventure. To then say that that section wasn't really the importance of the game is misleading, because clearly you found it important enough to start off with and then return back to it later.

I am convinced that, had the marketing for Alice been different, that sales wouldn't have gone up, or at least not by any big difference. Playing the game it definitely seemed like a very niche title, one that I don't think would've garnered any larger support had it only presented the middle levels where blood and gore isn't as omnipresent (even though it still sort of was.)

It's still trickery. Why does he have to back down like a little bitch on the end of EA's whip!

Way to stand by your own ideas, American.
I'm sorry, but what a massive coward you are, I suggest you take all of your anger at EA ASAP before the videogame industry crashes again and EA quietly dies there.

This is BS. To suggest that ads that misrepresent what something is about in order to appeal to a different crowd isn't an attempt at tricking people is just disingenuous. I'm sure, however, that EA's lawyers suggested they were ready to land McGee with a huge lawsuit...

How did McGee dare to insinuate that EA marketing is to blame for the lack of his game's success!?
I am sure EA and EA marketing work very hard at making the worst marketing and economy decisions for all the games they publish and not all of them lack success even after that treatment. Origin, Dead space 2, new Sim city just to name a few examples, I mean they really try to make customers feel like slaves and parasites and people still buy games from them, so you only got yourself to blame I guess, mr. McGee.

On a serious note, I'm sure both parties are somewhat to blame and both think it's the other one's fault.

See, THIS is how discussion should go.

His first rant was him just getting pissed at EA like most people on the Escapist (le gasp).

When he had the people who he was talking about step in and say something, he was able to go back on his words and come out with what he really needed to say.

EA was doing what they do best... sell copies to people who wouldn't expressly buy them. This is EXACTLY what they are supposed to do.
Now this guy stated the truth. Its stupid to try to sell a niche game to a larger audience by only showing one aspect of the game.

"I know they were doing what they were supposed to be doing, but I dont like it"
^Exactly what he meant, and to me, exactly the right statement to say about this situation, because I share the same view.

Major props to this guy. Alot of people many think he 'Backed down' from a position against EA, when in all truthfullness, he just elaborated on a clear mind. This is what complaints/debating should be like, but to many people just want to see the side they dont support burn.

Don't worry McGee, trickery may have been the wrong word, but given that you are talking about the company who advertised Dead Space 2 as "Yo momma won't like it" we understand exactly what you mean.

Don't worry McGee, trickery may have been the wrong word, but given that you are talking about the company who advertised Dead Space 2 as "Yo momma won't like it" we understand exactly what you mean.

I actually liked that campaign.
It was so terrible that it rolled back to awesome, like old action movies.

So... basically he got b****-slapped by EA after speaking out... I suspect this latest statement was made while a hired goon kept a tight grip on his shirt collar...

Somebody got a very important phone call, if you know what I mean.


this smacks of 'change it or we won't play with you any more' which is apparently a bad thing, >.> I donno, it's EA if they're gonna get pissy like that i'd see about getting my stuff published elsewhere (barring how they'd have gotten me to publish with them at all mind you)


Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
Register for a free account here