After shutting his then-company The Mauretania Import Export Company, game designer American McGee flew to Asia to seek business opportunities. From there, he met a pool of talented people in China who have been working and outsourcing games for western developers for many years but did not have any creative control over the IPs. American saw this as a favourable circumstance and decided to form a company in Shanghai to not only provide job opportunities to local talents but to also offer a healthy work environment.
American established Spicy Horse in 2007 along with Anthony Jacobson and Adam Lang; and it was currently the largest independent Western developer in China.
Back to Wonderland
Spicy Horse's first project was American McGee's Grimm, an episodic game released on GameTap (now available on GoG) in July 2008. It met with favourable reviews. Their next big project was Alice: Madness Returns, a sequel to EA's American McGee's Alice. It was released on June 14th, 2011 for Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and PC and it met with mixed reviews. The game was praised for its creative visuals and presentation but was criticized for its repetitive gameplay and questionable level design. Since then, Spicy Horse had shifted their focus from making AAA titles to Free to Play games for Windows and mobile devices.
American and his team launched three game projects on Kickstarter to be crowd funded. One of which was Alice: Otherlands, a computer animated film and a sequel to the Alice series. It was created solely due to the lack of interest from EA to create a followup to Madness Returns and the big demand from fans. Both Alice: Otherlands and Akaneiro: Demon Hunters were successfully funded in 2013 but the other game, OZombie, did not.
Spicy Pony is a sister company that produced mobile games for the iPhone. Their first title, Dex IQ, was released in 2009. As of 2014, majority of these apps have been removed from the App Store with no official statement given.
End of the Line
On July 22nd, 2016, American announced the closure of Spicy Horse after 10 years of development. He is now pursuing game development on a smaller scale, using Patreon as means of support and working in a mobile environment like his sailboat.