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American McGee Back To Free-To-Play After Alice

American McGee says console AAA games aren't really the intended focus of his Shanghai-based Spicy Horse studio, and that the team plans to focus on the free-to-play online space once Alice: Madness Returns ships.
Although China's free to play and social market's booming and the country is home to many thriving outsourcing firms, there are few AAA games for Westerners made there. American McGee's Spicy Horse studio, currently developing the multiplatform title Alice: Madness Returns for Electronic Arts, is a prominent exception, but the game is no roadmap for the developer. "This will be the first ever console triple-A game that's been developed from beginning to end in China, for the Western market," McGee tells consumer weblog Joystiq, explaining how they had to "invent" an entirely new process for the studio. But doing package-centric games like the new Alice -- the sequel to McGee's defining 2000 PC game -- is not really in Spicy Horse's long-term plan, says McGee, which most recently finished episodic PC serial Grimm. "We actually are trying to make games that are online, free-to-play, 3D advanced casual games, so as we finish this we're going to transition the company back to where we were intending to be when we finished Grimm," McGee says. Perhaps such a pipeline will be more suitable to working in China, whose audiences and development talent are largely focused on similar models. McGee says the Alice team is wrapping up the project -- and whether or not the team will have to change plans should EA want a sequel is up to the publisher, he suggests.

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