The new teaser for American McGee's creepy adventure game shows how a rich vibrant imagination can go horribly, horribly wrong.
Eleven years have passed both since Alice was published and the events that took place in that game. American McGee's gothic horror game set the table for many reinterpretations of Lewis Carroll's trippy "childrens" story, and if Tim Burton doesn't send McGee a fruit basket every year, he damn well should. In the sequel to Alice, dubbed Madness Returns, the eponymous English girl is grown up and living in London. She uses the fantasy world of Wonderland to piece together the events leading up to the death of her family, in what McGee describes as a mystery-meets-Memento plotline. But given the horror nature of the subject matter, McGee has actually clashed with publishers about not including enough blood and gore. Alice: Madness Returns is due out for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 in late 2011.
"This game is much more like a murder mystery, it's her going back into her past again, using her mind as a tool, using Wonderland as sort of a conduit into her mind, and trying to piece back together the events that lead to the death of her family," McGee told MSNBC's In-Game.
The player has to help Alice put the fragments of memories and events in Wonderland together. "[Madness Returns] picks up in a day in the life for her, and that's actually central to how the story is told. I don't want to give too much away but the idea that this is something that she is dealing with and has been dealing with is critical to how we present her exploration. I think if you look at a film like Memento, that might be similar to how we are dealing with the story's timeline."
For those who don't get the reference, Memento was a film where the central character could only remember the last five minutes of his life and has to figure out his past based on notes and tattoos that he leaves for himself. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend that you do.
Even though the trailer for Alice: Madness Return has some violent images like Alice repeatedly knifing a teapot-Beholder-crab thing, McGee said that he tries to stay true to the character and the story. "We often get pressure from outside to make things more violent than we think they should be," McGee said. "So the battle is actually the other way around, it's not about trying to have more gore and blood in there, but trying to have what is in there be reasonable and maintain some sense of contrast between the moments of light and the moments of dark. I don't think people are going to view this game as overly violent or bloody - though it does have some pretty mature themes in it."
Based on the images in the trailer and all of what Mcgee is saying about the game, Alice: Madness Return just might be the game that washes the taste of that horrible Tim Burton film off my tongue. Blech.
This game is what madness should taste like.