Friday, March 22, 2002

American McGee's GDC Talk

I went to hear American McGee talk on the whole production process of Alice at the GDC today.

I helped prep him for his talk. "The game is absolutely beautiful," I said, "but the gameplay wasn't so good." Almost apologizing, he agreed. American was just so chill, relaxed, friendly, and very approachable.

The first thing we saw was concept art and models from "American McGee's OZ"! It was incredibly cool and beautiful, however, what little we saw has the same dark twisted look as Alice (but that's a good thing, imo). These are just concepts, but the creatures and enemies might include wizards, witches, Quadlings (one leg, torso, and arm, I think), monkeys, the Tin Terror ("garbage can" with chainsaw & claw arms), plus locations such as the ice castle and the witch castle. After apologizing publicly about the lack of gameplay in Alice, he mentioned that gameplay was being worked on much earlier on for Oz. As for the status of the game, they're in the pre-production phase (which will hopefully be done around mid-May).

American's work is strongly influenced by music. After spending some time trying not to name the big-name musician for Oz, it was pointed out that the artist -- Peter Gabriel -- was mentioned in the credits for the demo reel! Slightly embarrassed, he said that the contracts hadn't been signed yet, but then confirmed the deal.

He stressed getting contracts written and signed with musicians (and of course everything else) before depending on it. Apparently Marilyn Manson wrote five tracks for Alice but then later on they weren't allowed to use it.

The contract between Id and Nine Inch Nails for the music for Quake wasn't signed until the day before the game appeared on store shelves. Had the contract not been signed, Quake would have had to be pulled from the shelves and all the already printed copies would have been destroyed. The story for Quake was written at the last minute (yeah, I know --Story? What story?!) just because they needed something to write on the box to describe what the heck Quake was.