”I want to be Walt Disney, but only evil.” The creative path of Americana McGee. Part Two: Dark Days (Topic)

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”I want to be Walt Disney, but only evil.” The creative path of Americana McGee. Part Two: Dark Days


We continue to tell you who American McGee is and how he contributed to the industry. Last time we talked about the life of a game designer, the beginning of his career, and American Mcgee's Alice. Today we will talk about his projects, which have a more infamous reputation. If you have not read the first part of the material, it is waiting for you at this link.

American McGee Presents: Scrapland

After the phenomenal success of his first game, a dark streak slowly began to appear in Americana's life. After the film adaptation of the game was canceled due to production hell, another unpleasant thing happened - the devil showed his horns. The fact is that EA fired creative partner McGee and R.J. Berg, and then closed the studio Rogue Entertainment, which developed Alice. After that American left the company.


He founded the short lived studio Carbon6 and shot a video for Dredg's Same Ol 'Road. As a result, in 2002, he entered the studio at Mercurysteam, where he began working on his second project American McGee Presents: Scrapland .

Despite the fact that his name is again present in the title of the game, the story with Alice was practically repeated here. As American McGee himself said, the true father of this game, who was responsible for all aspects of development, was Enrique Alverans. McGee himself, as he called himself, was a "marketing tool." In the project, he was a producer and if you look closely, this game stands out significantly from the work of a game designer. So what was Scrapland about?


We played as an android on the planet of robots Chimera - a cyber dystopia with violence, corruption, gambling and other filth. The entire economy of the planet revolves around a great database that contains copies of the inhabitants of the entire planet. If someone dies, they can be resurrected using the database, just not for free. So, the government speculates on this, and can arrange massacres in order to replenish the budget from the money spent by the robots on the resurrection.


We're playing as D-Tritus, a reporter who will investigate the death of Bishop, whose information was stolen from the database and he cannot be resurrected.

The world of the game is filled with black humor and it pleases, at such moments you really feel that American had a hand in the project. The game received average marks. But compared to McGee's next project, she was a masterpiece.

Bad Day LA

“At one time I and the team were very inspired by South Park,” a game designer once said. I think the Bad Day LA project perfectly captures this phrase. In words, everything sounded pretty interesting. It was supposed to be an absurd end-of-the-world game where we played as a homeless madman who once worked for the FBI. According to the plot, one day in Los Angeles occurred: a chemical attack by terrorists, a flood, an earthquake, a flood, a meteor shower and a zombie apocalypse.


“I was inspired by the infamous billboard on Sunset Boulevard from the Department of Homeland Security:“ Biochemical attack! You are ready?" Sitting in the midday traffic jam and feeling a pleasant breeze blowing through the window, I thought: “No. I'm not ready, like no one else. " And why should we be ready? If you look at the situation, you will realize that you are more likely to be killed like a pig in any form of terrorist attack by the United States.


For me, this billboard became a straw from a proverb that broke a camel's back. Suddenly, I felt an irresistible desire to somehow play out this stupid question from the banner. If I were a filmmaker or author of a political blog, I would have been inspired to make a film or write an article ... But since I was developing video games, I felt that I had to make a project with the main idea that we had nothing to fear but fear itself, ”said game designer in an interview for IGN.

To show the absurdity of the situation and at the same time cover up the high level of violence, American invited the art duet Kozindan to the post of chief artists, which would give this political satire a humorous character. Alas, the game turned out to be terrible: in terms of the plot, stereotypical characters, jokes below the belt, poor optimization, graphics, management. Bad Day LA is considered one of the worst games in the world today ...


I completed this game completely and I can tell that American tried. Many developers have projects they don't want to think about and this one is just that. After such a failure, McGee left the studio and returned to the concept that once brought him success.

American McGee's Grimm

“When EA offered me to move to Japan, I really wanted it, but I was scared. I could not leave the world I knew, so I stayed in the USA. Then I regretted it. And so, when the opportunity arose to move to Hong Kong, I jumped on a plane and flew to the other end of the planet ... Besides, I had friends there. I decided that China has huge potential for making games. ”¬¬ - American McGee on his move to China.


After leaving Mercurysteam, the game designer moved to Shanghai, where he founded Spicy Horse studio. It was originally a small outsourcing company that worked to support Western games. After the arrival of Americana, it became the largest indie studio in the entire country. And her first project was American McGee's Grimm.


The project is a set of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault from 23 episodes, where we play as Grimm - a vile dwarf, with a frantic desire to dilute fairy tales with lewdness and filth. American himself spoke about his project, saying that fairy tales always teach some kind of morality and are perceived as something light and childish. However, there are also darker versions of these tales, showing what happens to those who do not follow these "fairy" rules. Grimm is talking about that.


All the crap was removed from the fairy tales, the stories were made cute and sugary [how they would be read to stupid kids], and then the players were given the opportunity to dirtiest them themselves. For example, to turn the story about "The Boy Who Wanted to Know What Fear" is from a fairy tale about a daredevil into a story about a mentally retarded asshole who is always lucky because of stupidity.

As a result, we run through the level and turn the fairy tale into a nightmare. In it, heroes become murderers, princes become freaks, and morality is always distorted.

The importance of this project was that RJ Berg returned to the team and became a screenwriter. After this game the title of the dark storyteller was fixed for American, because his team literally turned them inside out. True, the game had a problem - after 10 episodes, it became monotonous and annoying. However, the community accepted it.


After that, American began working on the largest project in his entire career. A sequel to American Mcgee's Alice subtitled Madness Returns. We will tell you about him and what the game designer is currently doing in the last part of our material about the work of American McGee next week.

The Topic of Article: ”I want to be Walt Disney, but only evil.” The creative path of Americana McGee. Part Two: Dark Days.
Author: Jake Pinkman