Appearing on Reddit to answer questions is a great way to raise awareness and funding for Kickstarter ventures, and the latest is former id Software programmer American McGee. On the subject of his last game, Alice: Madness Returns, McGee revealed he felt EA intentionally misrepresented the game, in what he calls the big publishers' "race to the bottom".
Don't you just hate it when the game doesn't look like the trailer?
The former id Software ace, now with Spicy Horse studios in China, claimed on Reddit that EA wanted Madness Returns to look like a horror game, belying its true, more casual, nature.
Having gone to EA's play sessions for the game, and interviewed McGee, I interpreted Alice's nature as an aesthetics-over-gameplay approach, and I was very aware that it was only the first few levels. Indeed, with only a half hour experience of the game, it's hard to call it out for being a different product than that being sold - who's to say the "madness" doesn't return later on?
But according to the Ask Me Anything post on Reddit, McGee claims there was an intentional effort on EA's part to mislead gamers, mainly by retaining creative control of the game's trailers, which were outsourced to another company.
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 A:MR was a hard-core horror title, even though we refused to develop it in that tone.
As evidenced by Valve's Greenlight program, horror games are very popular at the moment. More popular than the supposedly wider casual games market? Who can say. Popular enough to trick your own customers? Probably not.