American McGee | designer announces retirement as EA cans Alice: Asylum

American McGee

American McGee, veteran designer of the Alice games, has announced his retirement from game development after EA cans his proposed sequel, Alice: Asylum.


The games industry has just lost one of its biggest names, as veteran designer American McGee announces that he’s to step away from game development.

McGee broke the news on his Patreon page (via, where he also revealed the catalyst behind his decision: after pitching the Alice sequel, Alice: Asylum to EA, the publishing giant declined to go ahead with the game. Nor will it licence the Alice IP to McGee so he can develop the game independently.

“On the question of funding, they have ultimately decided to pass on the project based on an internal analysis of the IP, market conditions, and details of the production proposal,” McGee wrote. “On the question of licensing, they replied that Alice is an important part of EA’s overall game catalog, and selling or licensing it isn’t something they’re prepared to do right now.”

The Alice games began in 2000 with American McGee’s Alice – a third-person action adventure that took a macabre perspective on Lewis Carroll’s novels and characters. Alice: Madness Returns followed in 2011, and while it wasn’t a huge hit, both games have since enjoyed a cult following.

McGee had fought hard to make a third Alice game in the years that followed, with a lengthy pitch document and production plan assembled thanks to a crowdfunding campaign on McGee’s Patreon.

EA’s latest knockback, however, means there “is no other way forward with this project,” McGee writes. “As such, we will be hibernating this Patreon page and related pre-production activities. The content will remain in place but we’ll no longer present options for funding Alice: Asylum efforts via this (or any other) platform. Alice: Asylum is at an end.”

The project’s cancellation also marks the end of McGee’s career in game development, he writes. “For my part, I have also reached an endpoint with Alice and with game production in general. I have no other ideas or energy left to apply toward getting a new Alice game made. Nor do I have any interest in pursuing new game ideas within the context of the current environment for game development.”

McGee’s career began over 30 years ago at id Software, where he was closely involved in some of the most influential games of all time, including Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake. McGee writes that he will now focus on his “family and family business” – Mysterious, a company that specialises in macabre plushies and artwork.

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