Monday, March 12, 2012

The surreal world of Alice: Madness Returns

One of the first games that came to mind when I decided to design a fairytale game was American McGhee's Alice and Alice: Madness Returns. Set years after the events of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass, it follows Alice who's mind has become twisted following the deaths of her family, and this has been reflected onto Wonderland, which has become similarly warped. She becomes increasingly insane as the game progresses.

Although the idea of taking a fairytale and subverting it into a horror-filled alternative isn't entirely original - here's an interesting page from TVTropes to give a detailed view on how widespread the theme is used - I'm still very much intrigued by this idea and the sorts of visuals that can be created. Admittedly I do believe that many fairytales tend to be disturbing enough without any over-the-top "scary" embellishment...

But back to Alice, I haven't played it but the concept art is beautiful. Familiar elements of the story have been emphasised to surreal and fantastic proportions, as seen here where the tea party has grown to become a vast floating array of ornaments, tea plates and tea pots. The fact that the whimsical sides of the story have been inflated and given a nightmarish quality offer a unique opportunity to explore a twisted, insane and unpredictable world, which is something I'm always interested to try.

There is the possibility of taking my environment down a completely unrealistic route. The fact that sweets, biscuits, chocolate are the dominant material would give the possibility of creating some gruesome, surreal candy world. This would be much more in-depth modelling-wise and involve animation to bring these fantasy elements to life. I'll have to explore different levels of this in my concept art.

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