American McGee is one of a handful of designers whose names are instantly recognised, but according to the man himself, it wasn’t his idea to become a brand.
“It’s certainly less intentional than most people seem to think,” McGee told Gamespot in an interview feature.
“Initially, the decision was driven by marketing and legal at EA. They were simply looking for a way to protect (make unique) the title for the original Alice game.
“Odd to think a ‘big evil’ publisher would have any interest in promoting an individual developer, but desire to protect one’s IP apparently outweighs inadvertently assigning name-brand recognition to a guy who, by most accounts, hadn’t earned it. So there we were.”
McGee said it makes him laugh when commenters suggest he doesn’t deserve to have his name thrown around with the likes of Ken levine, John Romero and Cliff Bleszinski because he’s been associated with a number of “stinkers”.
“To this day it’s remained a sometimes useful, often distracting [issue] for me. It’s not all bad though. While it appears to serve as a ‘warning label’ to some gamers (useful huh?) it’s also helped attract a loyal core group of fans – and still helps to open doors with publishers and other potential business partners,” he added.
The full interview feature is an interesting look at McGee’s successes and failures, his motivation for moving to Shanghai, and his connection with fairy tales.
He hasn’t had anything positive to say about EA lately, recently accusing the publisher of deliberately misleading gamers with Alice: Madness Returns’s marketing.