By: Jonathan Williams
If you were a teenager with an affinity for all things spooky growing up in the early 2000s, then it’s likely you’ve played AMERICAN MCGEE’S ALICE. The third-person computer game where you play as an older Alice, who, after witnessing the death of her parents in a horrific fire, tries to commit suicide, and is placed in an insane asylum. There she once again encounters the White Rabbit, and she journeys back to Wonderland - only things have gone from strange to terrifying and gory. Alice, armed with her butcher knife, must defeat the hellish hordes corrupting Wonderland to save herself and her friends.
AMERICAN MCGEE’S ALICE became a video game cult hit in the early 2000s, appearing as a PC-only game. Then, for years fans were teased with rumors of sequels and spinoffs of equally spooky fairy tale game titles. McGee reportedly been working on Oz: Adventures, a similarly spooky game based on Frank L. Baum’s Wizard of Oz, for years. To this day, it is still allegedly in development.
For years American McGee remained dormant until, finally, in 2011, fans received a sequel to ALICE entitled Alice: Madness Returns, packaged with a remastered version of the original ALICE - and playable on PC, Playstation, and Xbox it exceeded all expectations.
Now, after a little over 10 years, word has come out that AMERICAN MCGEE’S ALICE will finally be adapted into a TV series. For many die-hard fans of the game, news like this has bounced around since the original game debuted. It was announced Monday evening that Ted Field’s Radar Pictures (Jumanji, Riddick, Wheel of Time) has acquired the rights to AMERICAN MCGEE’S ALICE with writer David Hayter (X-Men, Watchmen, Warrior Nun) on board. While this news marks the start of the project’s development, there is no news yet of which streaming platform will carry the terrifying series. However, with shows like The Last of Us and HALO premiering on the horizon, one can only hope that after over 20 years, fans of AMERICAN MCGEE’S ALICE will finally get to see their beloved, terrifying tale come to life.
Along with Oz: Adventures, McGee has also announced that the third installment of his Alice series is on the horizon, but seeing as fans have been waiting over 20 years for Oz, we will have to wait with bated breath to see if Alice: Asylum premiers any time soon.
UPDATE: Radar Pictures has secured the television rights to AMERICAN MCGEE’S ALICE, the acclaimed third-person action adventure game based on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, published by Electronic Artists (EA). The drama series will be developed as the first adaptation of AMERICAN MCGEE’S ALICE franchise, Alice and its 2011 sequel Alice: Madness Returns.
As active development on the series begins, McGee beamed: “David Hayter brings imagination, experience, and stealth sneaking skills gained through successful missions in film, TV, and video games - a unique combination sure to make this adventure into Wonderland a successful one for the franchise and the fans. I am excited to be working with him and know the ALICE fans will welcome him with mad affection."
The project is a collaboration between Radar Pictures, Abandon Entertainment and writer-producer David Hayter (X2, Watchmen, Netflix's Warrior Nun). Hayter will write and produce the series. Anthony Tringali, Maria Frisk and Michael Napoliello will produce for Radar. Karen Lauder and Marcus Ticotin will produce for Abandon.
With over 23 years game industry experience, American McGee has been involved with the development and creation of projects across the globe. He began his career developing and designing the games DOOM and Quake with id Software, and following the success of ALICE, went to Hong Kong to create Bad Day LA. He then founded the company Spicy Horse Games in Shanghai where he developed Alice: Madness Returns as well as Akaneiro: Demon Hunters, and Grimm. Now, with his company Mysterious Inc., McGee is developing the highly anticipated sequel Alice: Asylum and Oz: Adventures, a narrative game based on the L. Frank Baum classics.
Shortly after Alice returned from the miraculous trip through the Looking-Glass, her house was burnt down, and her parents died in the fire. Alice was the only survivor of the terrible accident. After repeated attempts at suicide, she gets locked up inside a mental institution and is slowly wasting away there before she is summoned to Wonderland again by the White Rabbit. But this time it's a Wonderland gone seriously bad and gory. The only chance for Alice to restore her peace of mind and find out more about the death of her parents is to fight through Wonderland and free it from the evil powers.
Hayter said, "AMERICAN MCGEE’S ALICE and Alice: Madness Returns game series is a groundbreaking reimagining of the classic tale. It takes you into the heart of a corrupted Wonderland and throws light into shadowy corners the world has never seen. I am beyond excited to bring this world of madness and wonder to a global audience.”
The series will be executive produced by Radar's Ted Field, whose 30 years in the film industry have led to worldwide box office grosses topping $8 billion. He has produced more than 60 films, including the Jumanji franchise, the Riddick franchise, Amityville Horror (2005), The Last Samurai (2003) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). He is an executive producer on The Wheel of Time, the new Amazon Prime Video fantasy series based on Robert Jordan's novels.
Speaking of the upcoming collaboration, Field shared, "David Hayter is a writer Radar has long admired who has a deep fanbase in the video game space. His take on AMERICAN MCGEE’S ALICE was so bold that we felt his vision is a series anyone would have to see."
Radar is repped by Buchwald. David Hayter is repped by Fourth Wall Entertainment and attorneys David Feldman and Ariela Moskowitz at Brecheen Feldman Breimer Silver & Thompson.