"tricked" gamers into thinking it was a bloody horror action game, and not just a dark and twisted journey down the rabbit hole, said American McGee.
However the creator would now like to 'take back' his criticism of EA as his publishing partner for Alice: Madness Returns. McGee was surprised his words "ignited a firestorm" and irritated EA.
I would think accusing a publisher of 'tricking' gamers into thinking your game was something else was right up there among things most likely to evoke a heated response.
In his blog, McGee explains he was having a chat during a Reddit AMA over his Kickstarter campaign when he commented about EA and their 'tricky marketing' for Alice: Madness Returns. "To my surprise, this ignited a firestorm of press coverage from the game media. It attracted a few pissed messages from EA. Some readers have even suggested this has killed any possibility of my ever being employed by a game publisher again," he .
McGee expands his meaning with a correction/retraction: “Tricked” is the wrong word. I take that back. Apologies to EA and anyone else whose feelings were hurt. Electronic Arts doesn’t trick customers into buying things. They carefully apply proven marketing techniques to achieve the desired customer response."
"We live in a world full of marketing. Marketing tells us the “2013 Land Yacht” is more stylish, powerful and awesome than last year’s model. Or that a certain toothpaste is going to get us laid more often. That a wrist watch will finally force the world to understand just how adventurous and manly we are. Or that a game contains lots of blood and guts – even when the creators don’t think that’s the primary selling point," he continues.
“Alice: Madness Returns” does contain a lot of the stuff you see in those trailers, but my concern was that the main character was being portrayed in a way I felt didn’t align with her character as I understand it."
The 'aging game creator' is grateful to EA: "At the end of the day, I’ve got (well, had) a good relationship with EA. They helped put my name on the map. They funded two of my favorite creations. And they helped me bring strikingly original content to a gaming world that often seems dominated by bullets and boobs."
"I can’t and don’t fully fault them or their marketing for whatever the “Alice” games might or might not have done sales-wise. As a developer, do I grumble into my beer about how it could have been different if only… ? Sure do! But I also recognize my own faults, and actions which are to blame for things not being 100%… or for inadvertently igniting firestorms."
"Call this a mea culpa, an apology, a clarification or a cop-out if you like. My feelings around these topics are nuanced and complicated enough that I myself barely understand them most of the time."
Check out American McGee'sblog post for his full explanation.
McGee retracts 'trickery' accusation, EA "doesn't trick customers into buying things"
23 January 2013 | By Simon Priest