Spicy Horse Games, co-founded by American McGee and RJ Berg, is no more. The Shanghai-based studio, responsible most notably for Alice: Madness Returns, is closing. The company itself, however, will continue to exist to “explore new business opportunities.” Spicy Horse was a rare breed of a developer. Independent, multi-cultural, and focusing at times on a chiefly Chinese audience, the studio played around with episodic game design, free-to-play mechanics, and mobile games. Though not nearly the first to do so, the company is 10 years old now, so they weren’t exactly newcomers to mobile design either.
Still, McGee is clearly proud of what the studio was able to accomplish. “When we started, there were no other large-scale Western indie developers in China,” he stated in a press release he posted on his Twitter. “Out of this we grew a great culture, developed unique games, and were witness to monumental changes in the Chinese economy, culture, and arts.” Berg also expressed pride for their accomplishments in the release, stating that “we’re moving on to the next episode.”
Though this might cause people to question the possibility of a third Alice game, the release ensured that McGee and Berg were not going away forever and that they would continue to support Alice should new developments in the EA-owned franchise arise. In the meantime, American McGee intends to slim the focus of Spicy Horse down to produce new indie game and video content. He also intends to host floating game jams he calls “Pirate Jam,” and then sail around southeast Asia. (Author’s Note: A fascinating future for the man with the fascinating name.)