Spicy Horse

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Spicy Horse
IndustryVideo game industry
FounderAmerican McGee
Anthony Jacobson
Adam Lang
HeadquartersShanghai, China
Area served
Key people
American McGee
Ken Wong
R. J. Berg
ProductsVideo games
Number of employees

Spicy Horse (simplified Chinese: 麻辣马; traditional Chinese: 麻辣馬; pinyin: Má là mǎ) was a Shanghai-based independent video game developer started by American McGee, Anthony Jacobson, and Adam Lang in 2007. It was announced on July 23, 2016 that the company is closing its doors to focus on smaller indie development.[1]


After shutting his then-company The Mauretania Import Export Company, American McGee flew to Asia to seek business opportunities.[2] 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.[3]

The studio was established in 2007. It was called a studio "leading the way" in episodic games.[4][5] It was the largest independent Western developer in China.[6]

Spicy Horse employed more than 70 people at their studio in Zhabei District, Shanghai.[7] The company's development process utilizeed a "core team" methodology and 100% outsourced art asset production to conserve energy directed at the core competencies of game development.[8]

Following rumors regarding the studio's closure, on March 29, 2016 McGee acknowledged that there had been some layoffs but they will continue to operate and will look to move away from F2P mobile games in the future.[9]

In 2016, McGee announced the closure of Spicy Horse after 10 years of development. He plans to focus on indie development using Patreon and work on a different work environment like his sailboat.[1]


Their first title, American McGee's Grimm, was released on GameTap in July 2008 in an episodic form and ran through March 2009. It was built using Epic's Unreal Engine 3.[10]

Spicy Horse developed the sequel to American McGee's Alice for Electronic Arts, titled Alice: Madness Returns.[11] It is the first console game entirely designed and developed in China for export.[12]

Spicy Horse spawned a childcompany, Spicy Pony, for creating digital mobile media games for the iPhone.[13] Their first title, DexIQ was released in early December 2009. Their second was a Little Red Riding Hood adaption for the iPad called Akaneiro. Their next project was to be an adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, OZombie, financed by a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign was cancelled on July 14, 2013 in order to focus on a series of Alice short films[14] and due to lack of support for the OZombie project.[15]

Title Year Platforms Developer Publisher Notes
American McGee's Grimm 2008 Windows Spicy Horse GameTap Episodic McGee takes on various Grimm tales.
DexIQ 2009 iPad, iPhone, iPod Spicy Pony Puzzle game
American McGee Presents Akaneiro 2010 iPad Spicy Pony Little Red Riding Hood in Japan
American McGee's Crooked House 2010 iPad, iPhone, iPod Spicy Pony Puzzle game
Alice: Madness Returns 2011 PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows Spicy Horse Electronic Arts Sequel to American McGee's Alice
BigHead Bash 2012 TBA Spicy Horse TBA Side scrolling/battle multiplayer. (Unreleased)
Crazy Fairies 2012 Mobile, Facebook Spicy Horse TBA Currently in the Closed Beta Stage. (Unreleased)
Akaneiro: Demon Hunters 2013 Browsers, Tegra-powered tablets Spicy Horse Spicy Horse A Japanese/McGee take on Little Red Riding Hood.


  • ^ "Gametap announces American McGee's Grimm".
  1. ^ a b c American (2016-07-23). "Closure of Shanghai Studio, Start of New Adventures". American McGee's Blog. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  2. ^ Romney, Jason. "American McGee has worked on the world's greatest games". YouTube. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  3. ^ BigWorld Technology. "BigWorld E3 2012: American McGee Talks Play-Anywhere, Platform/Market-Agnostic, the Future of Gaming". YouTube. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  4. ^ Scott Steinberg. "Experience the power of PC gaming". microsoft.com. Microsoft. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  5. ^ "Spicy Horse IDed as leader in episodic games". spicyhorse.com. 2009-03-06. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
  6. ^ "Spicy Horse". gamewise.co. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
  7. ^ "Alice 2: Return to Madness". unrealengine.com. Retrieved 2013-03-17.
  8. ^ "All about Spicy Horse". Retrieved 2013-02-17.
  9. ^ "Alice Developer Spicy Horse Is Not Shutting Down, McGee Says". GameSpot. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Spicy Horse using Unreal 3 Engine".
  11. ^ "EA and Spicy Horse Return to Wonderland for All-New Alice Title". ea.com. 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  12. ^ "Asia Pacific Arts: American video game developer Spicy Horse taps into Chinese market". usc.edu. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Spicy Horse spins Spicy Pony". Archived from the original on 2010-12-22.
  14. ^ "Alice: Otherlands". Kickstarter. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  15. ^ "Oz Action Adventure (Canceled)". Kickstarter. Retrieved 30 March 2016.

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