Unknown (possibly Spicy Horse)
Electronic Arts (possibly)
|Image gallery (17)|
Because Electronic Arts is difficult and is very protective over IP rights, Asylum will probably need to be crowdfunded. McGee is aiming at October 2018 for the launch of the crowdfunding campaign and will spend the months leading up to this date preparing art, writing story/design, and sharing all of this with the fan community of the series.
McGee said having EA as publisher isn't necessarily their goal: "We're working to self-publish or publish through other channels. Licensing the IP from EA and developing/publishing independently is the goal."
If successful, McGee estimates it will be released around 2020 for PC and for next generation PlayStation and Xbox. He also mentioned the possibility of Nintendo Switch. However, he also stressed that it really depends on which companies are willing to help with the project - as many platforms as possible is ideal.
Asylum is a chronological prequel to American McGee's Alice. Asylum would likely be designed in a way so that it does not contradict the canon established in American McGee's Alice and Alice: Madness Returns, nor spoil the plot points of those games. In the most ideal situation, any of these playthrough orders would be fine:
- AA > AMA > AMR
- AMA > AA > AMR
- AMA > AMR > AA
Part of the game will focus on the treatment (or perhaps more accurately, "mistreatment") of Alice Liddell during her 10-year stay at Rutledge Asylum, and Alice dealing with the tragic deaths of her family in the fire. Suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, Alice acquired catatonia and was mute in reality for the majority of her treatment (although she most likely could still speak in her mind). She views her "reality" in a very abstract and distorted way, trapped in a warped comatose dream-like world, fighting to regain control of her mind and body.
Alice's age is unknown, although 13 years old has been floating around. Asylum may be set over a period of years.
Since Alice is a child with a hyper imagination, she probably does not fully grasp the concept of death in the earlier stages. However, even if Alice is 13, then she may still not understand death due to being in a coma.
It is unknown if Wonderland will appear, or if it will be replaced by another world, or hallucinations. If Wonderland appears, then it would retcon American McGee's Alice as her fourth return to Wonderland instead of third.
In Asylum, Alice is envisioned as going through the Kübler-Ross stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and, finally, acceptance. Therefore, Wonderland will be extremely affected by this, with each of its domains being influenced by one of the stages. The domains and stages include:
- Hatter's Place - Denial: Alice will be in denial about the fire. Characters she encounters in Wonderland during the denial stage of grief will insist everything is fine, or that the loss of her family isn't that big of a deal. This part of Wonderland will be beautiful, wonderful, and "safe". The realm may contain elements of illusions and delusions, such as Alice seeing images of her house before the fire, or puppets of her family members. However, Alice will eventually be forced to confront what happened due to the absence of her family, and the reassurance the characters provide her with will gradually sound hollow, meaningless and fake.
- Queen's Castle – Anger: In this domain, Alice will reject the reassurance given to her in the previous domain, and believe she has been "wronged" and that it is "unfair" for her family to suddenly "disappear" and never return. American McGee: "I imagine an interior space of dark/burnt corridors filled with smoke and flames. Pools of fire and jets of flame erupting all around. It would be like walking into the brightest point of pain in Alice's psyche - all recalling the night of the fire which killed her family. An eternally burning building filled with burning enemies and traps, echoes of distant screams... excellent." This will likely be the domain where Alice obtains her "fire" supermode, similar to Rage/Hysteria from the other games.
- Bargaining: During this stage, victims of grief often seek to bargain with a figure, often "God" or a higher power, to make everything better, or give them a chance to see their deceased loved ones in an afterlife such as Heaven. Alice may encounter her envisioning of "God", as children often have abstract reasoning of "God". A possible stage for this is Alice's idea of Heaven, or potentially be Alice reaching her idea of "heaven" or perhaps only its gates. Another idea is that instead of "God", Alice may seek answers from the "wise" figures in her mind, such as Caterpillar or perhaps the Mad Hatter.
- Endless Home (After Fire) - Depression: As its name imply, victims of grief go through a stage of depression and melancholy, and often, "emptiness" and a "void". Concept art (seen below) implies it may be a void and foggy world. Alice's mission is to likely find some sort of happiness or joy while wandering through the depression domain, which may be represented by toys and balloons as a means of coping with the loss. The image shows the "joy" stuck in a tree which Alice can't access because it's too far up, showing the difficulty that comes with finding joy when one is depressed.
- Acceptance: During this stage, Alice will accept the loss of her family. The ending of the game will likely be bittersweet, as Alice is still trapped in a coma for a few more years, leading up to American McGee's Alice. Alice also shows signs and hope of recovery from her coma.
These characters may appear and be fleshed out more:
- Alice Liddell - Self-explanatory - she is the protagonist. She is a curious child, and more innocent and naive than she is in the sequels. She will likely be less sarcastic and have less of an attitude, as Cheshire Cat notes in the beginning of AMA that she has "picked up a bit of an attitude".
- Alice's mother, father and sister - Given how the entire game is about Alice coping with their deaths. There may be a lesser focus on Lizzie, as she wasn't mentioned in American McGee's Alice, so if someone plays in the AA to AMA order, her absence may not seem strange. They will probably appear in the game in flashbacks or illusions in Wonderland.
- Nan Sharpe and Wilton J. Radcliffe - They visited Alice in the asylum many times.
- Angus Bumby - Given that he sometimes visited the Liddell family, Alice would have vague memories of him, although the game would make him inconspicuous to prevent spoilers.
- Dinah - It is possible that Dinah will be shown in a series of flashbacks, given that Dinah was Alice's beloved pet and confidant.
- Heironymous Q. Wilson, the Orderlies, Nurse D-, Cratchet, and Nurse Pris Witless - Likely considering how the game is called Alice: Asylum. Parts of the game may be from their perspectives.
- Cheshire Cat - He is envisioned as being cuter and plumper, and perhaps a bit more kitten-like, although he was called the Cheshire "Cat" in the first novel, not the Cheshire "Kitten". Concept art shows him with a mangy form, although this contradicts Alice telling him that he has become mangy at the beginning of American McGee's Alice.
- Mad Hatter - He is envisioned as being non-mechanical, and far saner than in American McGee's Alice, more akin to his personality in Madness Returns. However, he may show signs of increasing insanity through the game.
- March Hare and Dormouse - Given that they are associated with the Mad Hatter, they are likely to appear, as they have also been depicted in concept art.
- Jabberwock - Concept art shows the Jabberwock as a hatchling in an egg, as this is a time for Alice's seeds of guilt to be implanted into Alice's psyche and gradually grow and fester. May overlap with Pris somehow, if Pris is included.
- Queen of Hearts - Given that Alice is imagined as visiting her domain to represent anger, the Queen is certain to appear. This may be the time when she transforms from a human to a tentacle monster, and plots/begins to seize control over Wonderland, as per American McGee's Alice.
- Red Queen - McGee mentioned on a livestream the merging of the Red Queen and the Queen of Hearts may be explored in this game.
- White Rabbit - Given how popular he is and associated with Alice, the White Rabbit will likely appear.
- Tweedledum and Tweedledee - Given that the game takes place during Alice's stay at the Rutledge Asylum, and the Orderlies work there, it is likely that Tweedledum and Tweedledee will appear, since they are their Wonderland counterparts.
- Caterpillar -
- Mock Turtle -
- Gryphon -
- Duchess -
- Bill McGill -
- Humpty Dumpty -
Since the Alice series teaches players about the original novels, some "new" (albeit "old" to those who read the original novels) characters may include Mouse, Eaglet, Lory, Duck, Pat, Father William, Puppy, Pigeon, Frog Footman, Fish Footman, Lion, Unicorn, etc.
Asylum is envisioned by McGee as a third person action-adventure, although he also entertained elements of stealth. It will likely contain platforming elements like the other games. Puzzles and mini-games are also intended.
Asylum will likely continue "Alice using toys are weapons" concept. A Pocket Watch (perhaps the Deadtime Watch) is shown in concept art, and could be used to slow down time and help with combat and puzzles. There may be an upgrade system like in Madness Returns.
McGee stressed that aspects like microtransactions and lootboxes do not fit the game.
McGee said that multiplayer is not of the question. There could be a co-op mechanic with one playing controlling Alice and another controlling Cheshire Cat to solve puzzles, or as a means to give Alice support. However, given how Cat doesn't help Alice physically in the sequels, it does not make much sense for him to be a physical fighter. If playing alone, then Cat could be controlled by an AI, and there could be a character switch function.
Ever since the release of Alice: Madness Returns, fans of the series have been wondering when Alice 3 would be released, or rather, the next Alice video game. Fans created a petition directed at Electronic Arts, entitled, "Let American McGee make a new Alice game", which gained over 25,000 signatures since its creation.
McGee has had difficulty working with Electronic Arts. Since then, the majority of Spicy Horse disbanded, so if Asylum is made, then it may be outsourced. However, he also mentioned the possibility of creating a new team from scratch, as McGee has connections with many game developers.
McGee created two short films, Alice: Otherlands, with fans donating to it on Kickstarter. However, McGee was still being flooded with e-mails about the next Alice game.
In 2017, McGee decided that Alice's time in Rutledge may be more interesting. He announced Alice: Asylum. McGee is currently trying to promote Asylum, get fan support, and will present a proposal for the game to Electronic Arts. If the proposal is successful, he plans to launch a crowdfund next year. McGee is also collecting donations on Patreon in order to hire concept artists to create concept art for the game to boost popularity.
- In concept art, Alice's dress symbols are sulfur and fire. Her necklace is a variant of the Symbol of Chaos.