Quake Meets Alice in Wonderland?

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It isn't often that the worlds of literature and hard-core, pulse-pounding, rocket-launching action gaming meet, but they're about to. Yesterday, after a months-long campaign of hints and rumors, Electronic Arts announced its intention to publish a new horror-themed computer game built around technology developed for Quake III and designed by one of Quake's original architects. The game will be based on Lewis Carroll's classic children's book "Alice in Wonderland." Will it take gaming to a new level — or drag a literary classic down to a new low?

The buzz about the new game — which will be known as American McGee's Alice, after the game's creator — is huge, and that's exactly what Electronic Arts hoped for. The announcement was preceded by 13 weeks of more or less cryptic hints — music boxes, the sound of children laughing, portentous poems. Even now, little hard information has been released. The game's official site carries an image of a Cheshire Cat with an earring, a skeletal neck, and a more sinister smile than Carroll probably originally envisioned. It also features scraps of verse along fairly predictable lines:

Smash the looking glass to bits But take care not to slash your wrists Your brutal death has all been planned, My precious waif of Wonderland.

Other snippets mention "toodstools, hookahs, harts and hares", "rabbits and hatters, queens and hearts, " but few details have been revealed, and the production is being carried out with an unusual level of secrecy. McGee spent four years at id Software, the phenomenally successful Texas-based game company that has done more than any other developer to simultaneously push the boundaries of game technology — with such groundbreaking titles as Doom and Quake — and the industry's tolerance for bloody, ultraviolent content. MORE >>