American McGee's Alice is finally getting a sequel eleven years after its release in Alice: Madness Returns, and both the creator, American McGee himself, and the original writer/executive producer, R.J. Berg, are returning as well. Berg is serving in the same roles this time, and when I discussed the game with Joel Wade, a producer at EA, he asserted that the story that Berg has written for Madness Returns will awaken the English major within all of us.
According to Wade, Berg "has done an amazing job of making this, I think, probably one of the most literary, interesting game stories that have come out in years and years and years." Wade said he expects Madness Returns' narrative to be a hot topic of discussion, producing analytical blog posts in which people debate questions such as, "What does the symbology on her dress mean? What does that one memory mean?"
This doesn't seem unreasonable. Madness Returns concerns a young woman trying to come to terms with a childhood trauma -- the death of her family in a house fire -- and her mental instability as she learns that the fire may not have been, as originally presumed, an accident. And of course, the game's fiction uses Lewis Carroll's classic novels, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, as a jumping-off point; Wade pointed out that many players might be given to investigating the references that Madness Returns makes to those original works.
See if you agree with Wade when Alice: Madness Returns launches for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC on June 14, 2011.
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