American McGee apologises for EA “trick” statement

Wednesday, 23rd January 2013 12:30 GMT By Dave Cook

American McGeee has posted an apology on his blog, after stating on Reddit that EA had ‘tricked’ the public into thinking the Spicy Horse game Alice: Madness Returns was a hardcore horror game. McGee has now retracted the statement and apologised to EA.

We covered McGee’s initial statement in full here. I suggest you take a wee gander at it before proceeding to see where the issues lie.

Over on McGee’s blog, the developer has addressed the media shitstorm that followed his statement.

“To my surprise,” he wrote, “this ignited a firestorm of press coverage from the game media. It attracted a few pissed messages from EA. Some readers have even suggested this has killed any possibility of my ever being employed by a game publisher again.

“Allow me to expand on my original post while at the same time making a correction (call it a retraction if you like). “Tricked” is the wrong word. I take that back. Apologies to EA and anyone else whose feelings were hurt. Electronic Arts doesn’t trick customers into buying things.

“They carefully apply proven marketing techniques to achieve the desired customer response. If they were bad at this sort of thing they’d have been crushed by their competitors long ago and you’d be playing Madden Football from Activision or Atari or something.”

McGee then goes on to explain that the relationship between marketers and developers often leads to disagreements and that we now live in a world where the big marketing buck and flashy promises are commonplace.

“Beyond that,” he continues, “there has always been and likely always will be tension between publishers and developers over stuff like this. Truth is, publishers are giving audiences what they want – again, if they weren’t they wouldn’t stay in business very long.

“Maybe I don’t agree with where gaming content seems to be going – but isn’t that the prerogative of aging creators? To complain that things are too loud, too bright or too fleshy?”

“At the end of the day, I’ve got (well, had) a good relationship with EA. They helped put my name on the map. They funded two of my favorite creations. And they helped me bring strikingly original content to a gaming world that often seems dominated by bullets and boobs.

“I can’t and don’t fully fault them or their marketing for whatever the “Alice” games might or might not have done sales-wise. As a developer, do I grumble into my beer about how it could have been different if only… ? Sure do! But I also recognize my own faults, and actions which are to blame for things not being 100%… or for inadvertently igniting firestorms.”

What’s your take on the issue? Was Alice: Madness Returns marketed untruthfully by EA, or is this now the state of the world we live in? Let us know below.

Thanks Eurogamer.



  1. unacomn

    “Electronic Arts doesn’t trick customers into buying things.”


    #1 2 years ago
  2. SplatteredHouse

    “They carefully apply proven marketing techniques to achieve the desired customer response.” How diplomatically put! But, it remains a mere rewording of the initial opinion stated to press. Looks like that particular buzzword stang.

    If they hadn’t saught to push this as the marketing vision (who can forget:, then they wouldn’t have had reason to be called out on it – now that we find the developer had no intent to create a game along those lines – no matter how succintly the message was lifted. It wouldn’t surprise me that the same people are currently handling Dead Space next.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. LuLshuck

    I personally think the guy is talking shit about ea, i for one never thought the game looked like a horror

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    EA: Take it back or we will sue you for every penny you have, or ever will earn.

    AM: Shit.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. viralshag

    Sounds like biting the hand that feeds you in my opinion. It’s not like in the last 10 years or more EA has been anything but a mega corporate publisher. Same goes with Activision.

    Yet developers and gamers, often talk as if they’re surprised by the way EA handle things. Like they were expecting to be working for some nice old guy ready to throw money at whatever dreams they have for games. Often in spite of actually getting these devs to a level where they’re quoted by news sites.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. deathm00n

    Not much of a apology. “They carefully apply proven marketing techniques to achieve the desired customer response” is just a fancy way of saying trick into buying.

    Anyway, he’s right, the trailer has nothing to do with the game, it’s an awesome game, I really liked it. But when i downloaded it I thought it was going to be way more darker because of those trailers, so yeah, I fell in their trick.

    As I did with spore like @1 said.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. SplatteredHouse

    @4: This “statement” reeks of legal running interference, absolutely.

    @5: Fine, but the thing is that they control the message. The pubs control what we read. When I look at it, examine the point of a publishing business, I don’t know that I blame them. I see why they may behave in a restrictive way. But, I enjoy playing games. I don’t want; it doesn’t interest me to too much consider the machinations at work. I don’t want to spend my money on tat. I don’t want to, through so doing, enable and progress cynical/destructive practices that harm my interest (and of others) as a consumer, to know what is on offer and decide how to proceed from as informed a perspective as possible:

    So, how are people supposed to satisfy their reasonable business to make sure that they are buying and supporting games that are worth that, if the developer’s getting strong-armed out, and marketing playing fast-and-loose, with a safety net of “belief” for cover (that could only diminish after the cash rolled in), pubs have cut back on demos increasingly, so that’s another chance for players to see the way things are removed (Extra Credits did an informative video, I thought it really good, but let’s not bring that in every time we discuss the effect in the reduction in demo offering)

    So, then you might look to the media, but there’s typically a bit of a symbiotic relationship between pub and them with games, to where the message remains controlled – is that information even yet been made available to them.
    I often think the best talker about a game is the game once it’s available. But, to get its say, there’s a price. Publishers are (and have been) burning too many bridges. If I don’t KNOW it. I don’t want it. Being up-front. Is that too much to ask, for “$60″?

    #7 2 years ago
  8. KrazyKraut

    what a wuss.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. viralshag

    @7, And the best way to avoid needing to run everything or be controlled by a publisher is being an indie. Which obviously isn’t easy but then not every dev gets picked up by a major publisher and some people have no choice but to make their game independently.

    I just wish people would accept the work they have done as well as the money and recognition they’ve probably received from working with a publisher.

    Most of the time statements like this strike me as headline grabs to get themselves some media attention. Strange he makes this comment now while he has a Kickstarter that needs funding. Very similar to the story by the ex-Harmonix guys that left a corp and also currently have a Kickstarter.

    All I’m saying is that it’s not just publishers that trick or manipulate gamers. This is indies way of advertising by promoting the “stick it to the man” attitude that anti-publisher gamers lap up all day long.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. YoungZer0

    I still think most of EA’s marketing fucking sucks.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. ps3fanboy


    #11 2 years ago
  12. Samoan Spider

    @4 I smell male bovine excrement and I think you have the measure of it.

    And his careful paraphrasing is a poke in the eye for EA to conform.

    Peter Molyneux is a prime example of why some devs need publishers, but some honesty wouldn’t kill them surely.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. manamana

    Yep, he definitely got a call.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. mobiugearskin

    This game wasnt sold than anything other than what it was.

    And people saying we “dont need EA” etc… Wake up. They pump millions into development. Into marketing. Into distribution.


    #14 2 years ago

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