American McGee cancels OZombie Kickstarter, focus now shifted to Alice: Otherlands film rights (UPDATED)
Authored by Rob Newberry
The Oz Action Adventure game Kickstarter from Spicy Horse has been cancelled. In the final update to backers this morning, McGee revealed he was pulling the plug on the struggling crowd funded Oz project that had seen its fair share of negativity, misunderstanding and criticism since it’s launch late last month.
“The Oz campaign has to end,” said McGee in the 19th update entitled, ‘End of the Rainbow’, “we wouldn’t consider shutting down the Oz campaign if it were trending towards success. As it is, we’ve reached 15% of our goal with 20 days left in the campaign. Projections suggest we’ll hit 30% of our goal by campaign end.” Exact numbers from the Kickstarter page show the project had raised $141,513 of the $950,000 goal from 2,607 backers. However, McGee was also quick to point out that while the Oz project was ending, he was focusing squarely on obtaining the film rights for his Alice: Otherlands project that was once tied to OZombie as a stretch goal.
We’re facing a challenge with the Alice film rights. Since working to remove it from the Oz campaign we’ve been unable to launch it as a separate campaign here on Kickstarter – the submission has been rejected multiple times and our appeals have failed (multiple campaigns are not allowed). To launch a campaign for the Alice films rights means we must first shut down the Oz campaign.
For Oz, we can always launch another campaign in the future. On the other hand, the Alice film rights are only within reach during a rapidly closing window of opportunity. We’ll sacrifice Oz today in order to have a real chance with Alice.
With the clock ticking on the Alice film rights, McGee said he will now turn his attention to a new Kickstarter to raise funds to purchase the rights from a group of independent film producers in Hollywood who initially purchased them from EA. It’s unclear why EA would option off the rights to one of their most popular original IPs, but McGee has an opportunity to acquire the film rights before they put them on the open market and sell them to the highest bidder. McGee said about the potential sale:
This was a kindness on their part, recognition of the fact that a property’s creator should have greater involvement in the decision making process that leads to exploitation of the property. Our mutual expectation was that fans would recognize and agree with this fact. I guess the question is – who would you rather have controlling the film rights? The concept’s creator or some faceless corporation?
If I’m unable to raise the money needed to purchase these rights then they’ll end up in someone else’s hands – who knows, maybe EA will buy them back? I wouldn’t be surprised.
Securing these film rights would be nothing short of a major coup. We’d control a significant portion of Alice’s future. Being able to produce animations, feature films and related merchandise means keeping Alice’s world fresh, no matter what else might happen with the game portion of the property.
In an effort to prepare as much as possible for Alice: Otherlands, McGee has produced a new backer video which will be on the Kickstarter page when it launches later this month. No dates or fund requests have been mentioned yet, but we’re expecting the date to be soon if the deal for the rights is to go through.
McGee signed off his update with a thanks to backers who were part of the project saying:
I sincerely appreciate all of the support and feedback you’ve provided us via the Oz campaign. It’s been an interesting ride and one that has taught me a multitude of valuable lessons. While we’re ending it early, we’re certainly not walking away empty handed. When Oz makes a return you can expect it to be better and stronger.
For more updates on Alice: Otherlands, you can check out their FaceBook page and keep an ear out for the upcoming Kickstarter. Also, check out our exclusive video interview with McGee that took place just a few days ago where he talks about this exact scenario and what might happen should the project fail to achieve its goal.