EA ‘tricked’ customers, says American McGee

Alice Chess Run

Alice-maker says publisher miss-sold his title deliberately to boost sales.

Global games publishing giant Electronic Arts has been accused of deliberately misleading customers in order to shift copies of American McGee’s Alice, according to the titular creator.

Speaking to Reddit users during a community interview (via Games Industry International), American McGee said his former publisher marketed his game as having a much darker tone than his team was working towards.

“What was frustrating was how EA Marketing interfered,” he revealed, saying that they were informed that all creative direction would come from the publisher, not the game’s creators.

“That resulted in trailers that were much darker and gorier than the game,” he added, describing the move as “calculated discontent”.

Calling out the publisher’s marketing tactics, he said they aimed to “trick” gamers into believing American McGee’s Alice as a hard-core horror title, stressing: “even though we refused to develop it in that tone.”

The game-maker continued: “Their thinking is, even if the game isn't a hard-core horror title, you can market it as one and trick those customers into buying it (while driving away more casual customers, like female gamers, who might be turned off by really dark trailers).”

Sparing none from the scolding, he explained that the fault lay with all the big publishers, specifically naming Activision, saying that it was likely to get worse before better.

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