American McGee says Spicy Horse is not closing, but is moving away from F2P

Alice developer Spicy Horse is not, as rumours have claimed, closing down.

Founder American McGee has confirmed, however, that jobs have been lost at the studio. He has also stated that it is moving away from the free-to-play sector.

No,” he replied on Facebook when asked if the closure rumours were correct. We reduced staff earlier this week, but the studio remains and will continue to support existing and recently launched titles. We’ll be pivoting away from F2P mobile games.”

The studio is best known for 2011 title Alice: Madness Returns. It was not a big performer commercially or critically, however – a fact McGee later blamed on publisher EA.

What was frustrating was how EA Marketing interfered,” he said in 2013. That resulted in trailers that were much darker and gorier than the game … and that was a calculated disconnect created by EA. They wanted to ‘trick’ gamers into believing Alice was a hard-core horror title, even though we refused to develop it in that tone.

Their thinking is, even if the game isn’t a hard-core horror title, you can market it as one and trick those customers into buying it (while driving away more casual customers, like female gamers, who might be turned off by really dark trailers). It’s all a part of the race to the bottom EA, Activision and the other big pubs are engaged in. Expect to see it get worse before it gets better.”

In 2014 the studio got into trouble with Early Access title Akeneiro: Demon Hunters. Despite being successfully Kickstarted, Spicy Horse decided to abandon the game before development was complete. Jobs were also lost then, too.

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