Life-Changing: Molyneux Pegs Curiosity For August

By Nathan Grayson on July 7th, 2012 at 9:00 am.

Guys, I know what's inside the box! It's the color green! What do I win?

Here at RPS, we consider all of our posts to be small, mysterious boxes with things of life-changing significance inside. Especially this one. So it’s a bit flattering to hear that fabled Fable-er and god of god gaming Peter Molyneux is totally stealing our format. Yep. That is definitely what’s happening. On August 22, Molyneux’s cube-tapping opus is coming to PC (and the tiny, rectangular PCs that can make phone calls), and he claims whatever’s inside will be “life-changingly important.”

Also in the category of instant-classic Molyneux-isms is this choice bit: ”It’s so amazing I think it will appear on news reports – though it’s not a dead cat, by the way.” So that’s good.

During E3, I had the good fortune to speak with Molyneux about Curiosity, which he described as “a fascinating experiment with just the power of mystery and curiosity” that’ll see thousands of people chipping away at a single cube. The twist, however, is that only one person will actually get to see what’s inside. So what will they say? Who will they tell – aside from major news networks, apparently? And will anyone shell out £50,000 for the almighty diamond chisel, which will probably cleave both the cube and our humble planet in two?

Aspects of this social experiment, then, will eventually be rolled into a larger final project built on the groundwork of 21 other experiments, with the ultimate goal of connecting people on a global scale.

Will it actually be life-changing? To be frank, given Molyneux’s overall track record, it seems unlikely. But who cares? Personally, I’m simply happy that – even after all these years – he’s still overwhelmingly head-over-heels in love with the possibilities games present. That, to me, is pretty damn magical.

OK, Peter, I said some nice things. Can I have a peek inside the box now?

Thanks, Eurogamer.

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105 Comments »

  1. HexagonalBolts says:

    Bizarre. Absolutely bizarre.

    Practically speaking, what on earth could be ‘inside’ the box that could be that life changingly important? If it’s digital content, I can’t think of anything that would be simultaneously interesting and worth the £50,000, most software that expensive is uninteresting to the average Joe and if the cube just contained another game then that certainly wouldn’t make world news. If it’s physical content, Molyneux would have to be very creative with the funds he has available to make it as interesting as he claims. If the cube contains an abstract idea or nothing, or if the whole thing is an experiment to prove that people are stupid, then there are going to be a lot of very angry internet people.

    Although I suppose he’s actually relying on that mystery. This is also probably the ultimate test of his infamous tendency to not deliver on promises.

    • Salt says:

      £100,000 has been established as the smallest large amount of money, also conveniently digital. Although boring.

      Maybe it’ll be the sum of all money spent on the various “microtransactions” in the game?

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      I’m pretty sure what’ll happen is the PR company Molyneux has hired for this venture will by the $50k DLC at a strategically newsworthy time.

    • Xerian says:

      I think its Half-Life 3. Why? Because I’m paranoid. Or perhaps its a dick in a box?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhwbxEfy7fg – Nuff said.

    • alilsneaky says:

      This is Molyneux we are talking about… Undefeated world champion of blowing hot air out of his ass.

      Don’t take anything he says seriously, ever.

      I can’t believe people are dignifying this ‘game’.

    • Drakale says:

      From what I gather I find it pretty likely that whoever wins the cube will get to lead a team of 21 other lunatics in designing 22cans next game. Chances are it will be about ponies.

    • FunkyDarkKnight says:

      It’s actually a giant, digitized Peter Moleyneux in the nude. He takes a massive dump on all the players, flipping the bird as he does so. The players who spent more money on chisels get the largest quantity of faeces dumped onto them. Well, at least this is probably the equivalent of what’s inside.

  2. CaspianRoach says:

    >life-changingly important
    new Fable 3 dog skin?

  3. NecroKnight says:

    So the main idea is that only one person will actually see whats in the box and the rest will have to do with descriptions. The thing is that this one person could easily take a screenshot and spread it around the Internet for everyone to see.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      But WILL HE?

    • Apples says:

      Except no, because what’s to stop someone photoshopping something emerging from the cube before the legitimate winner’s screenshot becomes widely seen, or to take the legitimate winner’s screenshot and photoshop it and claim that the winner was lying and THEY have the REAL screenshot? Spreading mass confusion on the internet probably isn’t that hard.

      • ColOfNature says:

        Spreading mass confusion on the internet is practically tautologous.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I very much doubt it will be something that a screenshot can do justice to

    • Big Murray says:

      If you were that one person … would you degrade your completely unique status as “the special one” just to satisfy everyone’s curiosity?

      I doubt you would.

      • nearly says:

        you don’t use Facebook or Twitter, do you? ever been on Reddit gaming?

  4. gschmidl says:

    I hope the life-changing thing is “I just spent X hours/amount of dollars to find out Molyneux is full of shit.”

    Except we all know that and somehow he still gets press.

  5. NathanH says:

    Sounds like orc-mischief to me.

    • callmeclean says:

      I wish this site had a like/thumbs up button right now…

  6. SkittleDiddler says:

    If anyone else in the gaming business had come up with this, RPS would be screaming “HACK!!!” at the top of their lungs.

    Molyneux comes up with it? Endless coverage.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      To be fair it isn’t so much RPS as specifically Mr Grayson doing this.

    • Unaco says:

      Endless coverage? It’s 1 article, reporting on a release date, and it got a mention in a large 2-part interview with Molyneux. Hardly endless now, is it?

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        A news item like this would normally not warrant the kind if attention it’s already received. But it’s PETER MOLYNEUX, therefore RPS must post about it.

        We’re no doubt going to be seeing an article about this every time Molyneux changes his diaper or blows snot into a kerchief.

        Endless? Not yet really, but it’s already starting to feel that way to those of us who don’t worship Molyneux as some kind of god.

        • Unaco says:

          RPS post about what they want Shocker!

          RPS post news about game Shocker!

          Starting to feel endless after 1 article and a mention in an interview article? How do you feel about Endless Space? It’s had 4 times as many posts dedicated to it in the same length of time. Or Diablo 3? That’s had, like, 10 times the coverage! The Amazing Spiderman game getting delayed got 2 articles!?! That’s twice as endless as the coverage of this… Clearly because John Walker is biased and wants to confirm his Walker principle, right?

          You know, there’s plenty of stuff I don’t want to read about on RPS… but I just skip over it these days, and don’t post about how ‘it shouldn’t be on RPS’. Maybe you should just ignore articles on this in future?

          There’s nothing egregious or out of place with the article… A Release date has been announced. This is news. RPS report on it. Directly beneath this, there is an article on the release of ‘The Walking Dead Ep3′. Is it biased that RPS have reported on that?

          Molyneux is an Industry veteran/legend… He might have a patchy history of late, but his early impact on the Industry is extensive. When the Hivemind write those lists of ‘Games wot made me’, a large number of them are Molyneux titles (Syndicate, Populous, Theme Park/Hospital, Magic Carpet, Dungeon Keeper). If the Hivemind want to post articles about what he’s doing these days, it’s their prerogative. Especially if he’s doing something ‘different’, which he clearly is here.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            RPS are allowed to publish what they want, and as a regular reader I’m allowed to comment.

            You seem a little oversensitive when it comes to Molyneux, so let me explain something to you: he hasn’t done anything close to relevant for the last fifteen years. When you take that into consideration, the amount of coverage he gets at this blog is excessively bloated.

            Why does RPS have such a hard-on for the guy? Is it because he’s one of the few British game developers that’s ever gained slight prominence?

            Anyone else trying to sell a digital box to the highest bidder would be laughed out of the business, and rightfully so. Molyneux is a hack, industry legend or not. Why should I cut him a break because he made stuff like Populous or Magic Carpet?

          • Unaco says:

            “You seem a little oversensitive when it comes to Molyneux”

            No. You do. I was sensitive to the claim that this has received ‘endless coverage’. It hasn’t. This is the first article about the game/project, specifically.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            I’ll point you to http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/06/11/interview-molyneux-in-the-moment-pt-1/#more-111382.

            You’re arguing semantics, but you’re right — the contents of this particular article have not been seeing endless coverage, although you’d be foolish to think that we’ll never see anything else again about the subject. It’s PETER MOLYNEUX, therefore RPS are going to keep writing about it no matter how vapid it is. That was my point to begin with.

          • Jay says:

            And I’ll point you to lesson 7 in this article. That covers it pretty comprehensively.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            @Jay: that article was tl;dr. Seriously, could you give me a synopsis of what you’re trying to say here?

          • Jay says:

            Read the part about 3/4 of the way down (look for the bolded headline “why the hell do they always quote Peter bloody Molyneux?”). It’s a direct answer to the question.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            OK, gotcha. So Molyneux is talkative and British. That excuses RPS’s sloppy journalistic obsession with him?

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      It’s an interesting experiment, though. But I agree a bit too much like a sham considering it’s again all about money.

    • Chris D says:

      I’ll take people like Molyneux who are trying out new stuff however crazy it may seem over soulless cash-in franchises that only try to appeal to the lowest common denominator any day.

  7. Jimbo says:

    I had a dream about Peter Molyneux last night (I hope because I played too many hours of Theme Hospital yesterday) and let me tell you: Dream Molyneux is every bit as crazy as IRL Molyneux.

    • DiamondDog says:

      That happened to me too. In the dream my head was the cube and Molyneux directed hundreds of thousands of people to dig inside my skull and find the life-changing prize.

  8. Ice-Fyre says:

    Would be funny if the one person who finds it, never tells anyone lol

    • Chaz says:

      I was just going to say, if I found it I’d keep it to myself just for the hell of it.

  9. bear912 says:

    Inside the cube? The only copy of Half-Life 3 that will ever be released, of course.

  10. Beelzebud says:

    This is the work of a man surrounded by yes-men and ass-kissers.

    Either that or he’s simply gone insane.

    This POS concept doesn’t deserve coverage.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Eh, it was newsworthy the first time, in a “Molyneux’s latest fit of the galloping crazies” way.

      Don’t know what this particular article adds, though.

  11. Soon says:

    “Life-changingly important” is an interesting phrase to use. Life-changing is one thing. But important implies something necessary. Maybe he’s secretly tainted the water supply and we’re all infected with various amusing-but-fatal diseases. The only cure, of course, being inside the box. He’s gone mad!

    • Apples says:

      The thing inside the box is Videodrome. Videogamedrome?

    • Torgen says:

      Bloaty Head disease, and it’s the only safe Inflator machine inside the box.

  12. Zeewolf says:

    The one who finally cracks the cube will get an error message.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Or Rickrolled.

      #We’re no strangers to love#
      #You know the rules#
      #and so do I #

    • genearious says:

      It’ll be a picture of a potato, which, as I don’t need to explain, has a message encoded in it leading to and ARG, the end result of the ARG being the location of a penny with a scrap of paper under it saying a penny saved is a penny earned.

      Alternately it’ll be the amount of time money people spent accomplishing this and how much they could have accomplished if they had all just done something productive.

  13. Njordsk says:

    I’ve got respect for what he did in the past, but please, make him stop.

  14. Raziel_Alex says:

    Inside the box? Skynet.

    You’ve been warned, although you’ll still open it, damn it.

  15. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    It’s gonna be a sign that just says “Eat well, sleep well, exercise.”

    Important and potentially life-changing, surely.

    • genearious says:

      It could be a reveal that all the money spent is going to charity, and include some general statement about the human spirit and motivation, or they managed to make a computer that automatically makes statistical analyses, this is how they chose to fund it, and the winner gets the result of the analysis along with the schematics/source code used to make the machine.

  16. Jackablade says:

    So were assuming that this is a free game, right?

    • Taedirk says:

      Oh no, that’s the glorious part. We start with the assumption that people are idiots for anything called “social gaming” and will pay money to help speed the process along. It’s rather late here, so these are just hand-waiving numbers, but the idea is the same. The aforementioned idiots can tap along at the box at 1 hit per tap for free. Idiots with cash can pay $0.99 and tap away at 5 hits per tap for 10 taps. Bigger idiots with more cash will get more hits per tap all the way up to the chief idiot (or spokesman for the Consortium of Idiots) and pay a whopping $50,000 for the Uberpick and break the box in one tap.

      • SiHy_ says:

        Taking the ‘pay-to-win’ model to new and expensive heights.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          No, it’s the “pay to pay”. You don’t win anything (unless it’s a really clever trick and you do). Most times you win the same thing you get when you throw money on the street, acknowledgement you’ve no longer got the cash. It’s just in writing on the screen this time. :P

  17. Pop says:

    I think whoever opens the box becomes Peter’s wife, for life.

  18. StickyNavels says:

    Maybe the money’ll go to charity. £50,000 or £100,000, or whatever, could be used to save a lot of lives in a lot of places. I don’t think it’s been stated that it’s YOUR life that would change if you buy the cube.

  19. Sixosaur says:

    Well, obviously, it’s just going to be a trailer for ‘Curiosity 2: Let’s all think inside the box for a moment’.

    Because what’s better than over-hyping a game? Over-hyping the hype for the next game.

  20. Beelzebud says:

    Drink more Ovaltine.

  21. SiHy_ says:

    Is this going to be the most elaborate fortune cookie ever made?

  22. rustybroomhandle says:

    I’m all for experiments, but it bugs me that their first one is all about monetisation.

  23. Skystrider says:

    What happens if the person who gets to see what’s inside the box dies of a heart-attack a few seconds later?

    Just askin’…

  24. CrookedLittleVein says:

    Sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether Molyneux is a genius who has somehow managed to hoodwink the gaming press with this type of absolute rot or whether the gaming press as a whole has a serious problem with misplaced hero worship (see Romero or McGee for similar cases).

  25. ten_six says:

    Everyone knows that what’s in the box is a sleigh

  26. GameCat says:

    It kills your cat. :(

  27. TehK says:

    What about the guys who put this thing in the cube in the first place? Surely they know too…

    • Chris D says:

      I heard there’s a clause in their contracts that after they’ve finished coding they are induced into a coma and have their consciousnesses digitised and sealed inside the box to await the day someone opens it, unless no one does, in which case they will remain there until they earth is dinally consumed by it’s dying sun.

      It may seem that those terms are a bit harsh but apparently it’s still better than working for Activision.

  28. Eukatheude says:

    I’m fairly sure this will be hacked to death.

  29. CiderPunk says:

    wow a virtual bubble wrap popping game for mobile phones! why didn’t anyone think of this before?!?! i can see me spending ages playing this and I’ll certainly invest $50,000 in an extra big virtual thumb so I can squish more bubbles at once!

  30. Kohlrabi says:

    It’s his dick in a box.

  31. mcwill says:

    Cow. Clicker.

  32. Bobtree says:

    This is not a game.

    • ocelot113 says:

      No, it’s a pissing contest, and the guy in charge of it would sell his own mother for the cash. But people are easily amused, and Molyneux knows how to take advantage of the ill informed. If people actually followed this guys career they would steer clear. He never delivers. How the hell are you supposed to deliver on “life-changing”. People that knowingly follow this guy deserve Molyneux.

  33. stahlwerk says:

    OMG, people, don’t you realise? We’re already playing!

    Damn you, Molyneux!

    (Dolyneux?)

  34. ocelot113 says:

    I’ve gone from loving this guy (Fable 1 & Black & White) to absolutely despising anything he says. The guy is just a marketing machine. Nothing he says is truthful and all his revolutionary ideas are absolutely empty. He is great at convincing you of a vision, stating he can create it, and NEVER delivering.

    I love a good sales pitch, but there is a difference between innovators and swindlers. But, swindlers will swindle as long as stupid people with lined pockets and short memories still listen.

    He reminds me of the scorpion and the frog. Pitching a great adventure and big ideas and then when you get stung in the neck with a mess of a game that delivers on nothing, he goes “Well it wasn’t going to be exactly like I said.” THEN WHY THE HELL DID YOU SAY IT!!! lol, at any rate, Molyneux = washed up.

  35. Uthred says:

    I think my main issue with this is that its only very tenuously a “game”. Its much more Molyneux cashing in on his celebrity and peoples curiosity in order to make some easy money. This “game” cant possibly cost that much to make and assuming only a fraction of the maximum population opt into the DLC, say 10% opt for a single purchase of the cheapest DLC thats still an easy 50K. As for its life changing properties – Molyneux has consistently failed to deliver on any of the hyperbolic bollocks he spouts since what, Black & White? BC? After failing to deliver for a decade why would anybody believe him now?

    • Torgen says:

      What you and many others are missing is that he has stated repeatedly that this is an experiment in mass psychology, especially as it relates to games. All the rage and vitriol, the curiosity and discussion, is what he is after, to analyze. You’re lab rats in his experiment. Everyone discussing it is.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        That’s the sort of idea that sounds really clever when you’re a teenager, but is actually completely pointless. There’s very little useful data to be gained from such “experiments”, and it’s awfully trite as an art project.

        • Torgen says:

          You don’t hang around academia much, do you? Also, I’d hardly call Molyneaux a teenager.

          Unless of course you’re clumsily trying for a dig at me, in which case youve failed miserably.

          • Uthred says:

            I think he was trying to say that Molyneux’s pseudo-intellectual flim flam justification is pretentious and juvenile, which it is. I almost honestly cant believe someone typed “You’re lab rats in his experiment.” with a straight face.

          • Torgen says:

            But that’s what he thinks. I was just reiterating what he has publicly said, which is something people seem to be overlooking/ignoring with all their hand-waving and exclamations.

      • ocelot113 says:

        BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES BOOBIES

        You are all taking part in my mass experiment to see if guys will read the word “Boobies”.

        We know people like boobies, and we know people like surprises and this is why Molyneux lives his own diluted world where what he does, others have known, but he claims his brilliance and innovation anyway. Just because you just found out people like surprises and to show off, doesn’t make you smart. Actually, just the opposite.

        Reminds me of the government funding research into what the most common injury for the 4th of July is. Burns. Spare the brainiacs, my 6 year old nephew could have told you that.

      • LintMan says:

        All the rage and vitriol, the curiosity and discussion, is what he is after, to analyze. You’re lab rats in his experiment.

        In the interview I saw with him, the focus of the “experiment” seemed to be “Will someone pay 50K pounds for a mega DLC to help them win the “game”? and “How many are willing to pay anything at all, and how much will they pay?” In other words, “How can be best and most effiiciently extract maximum money from people?”

        And personally, I think that “experiment” sucks, because that mentality of using gamer psychology to maximize monetization is just awful and will just lead to the next generation of hyper-Farmville games designed to suck even more money out of gamer’s wallets..

        So Molyneux can take his “experiment” and shove it up his ass.

  36. Uthred says:

    Maybe its a Dread Pirate Roberts type thing, “There have been many Peter Molyneux’s in the past, now you are the new Peter Molyneux”

  37. Eddy9000 says:

    Maybe it contains all the fucks that people still give about anything Peter molyneux says or promises.

    I’ve always felt I’ve been missing something with PM, he gets loads of adulation but his games always seem to be middle of the road fare with a few half baked ideas tagged on that add very little and represent about 1% of the innovation that he’d promised.

    • Jay says:

      Well, if the alternative’s more of the same that doesn’t even try, I know what I’d prefer.

      I would like to see him really go for it more, though. Something really out there and all-or-nothing. We need more people with no idea of their limitations.

  38. Trinnet says:

    In earnest, why would anyone play this?

    I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that the emperor has no fun, but I’ve yet to hear anyone ask Molyneux “Just tapping? Won’t that be really dull? Why would anyone take part?”

    • Chris D says:

      Don’t underestimate curiosity as a motivating force. I’m not really intending to play this, but maybe I’d have a look to see what all the fuss was about. Maybe I’d click it a few times while I was there because “What the hell?” Maybe I’d look back to see how much progress was being made and maybe I’d click it a few more times. Maybe if it looked like it was close to being finished I’d stay a little longer just in case.

      Not saying I will do that. Just maybe. But maybe enough other people would be curious enough to do the same thing and make it work.

    • Nogo says:

      Calling it ‘just tapping’ is a bit reductionist. You could make the same exact argument for Diablo III or any adventure game ever: ‘you just tap things until something, possibly desirable, pops out.’ Maybe that’s the point?

      Perhaps, stripped of all it’s artifice, it can become an interesting statement on what motivates us to interact in online environments. Similar to the ‘Kill Everyone’ project.

      Alternatively they can go the opposite direction and push the overall design to such a stylized, impressive limit that the mere act of ‘tapping’ is wholly compelling.

      Honestly it’s kind of sad seeing RPS react to something like this with such hostility. This is an experimental project that you can experience for free. Please act like you actually want innovation in this industry by refraining from the type of rhetoric that makes publisher’s scared to touch anything but ShootBros:N+1.

      • Trinnet says:

        No, listen, my entire point was that I’m not being at all reductionist. The game, as described, is literally just lots of people tapping on a cube. There’s been no indication that there’ll be any kind of skill involved, and indeed there’s nothing so far to suggest there’s a game there at all.

        I can understand why Molyneux would make such a thing, and I can understand why people would be interested to find out what happens. What I can’t understand is whay anyone would play such a creation for any length of time.

        So explain what the appeal is to you. There’s a box on the screen. If you wish, you can click on it for hours at a time. If you do so, someone thousands of miles away will see a thing and possibly share it. If you don’t, it’ll take marginally longer for someone thousands of miles away to see the thing.

        It sounds like it might be interesting to read about after the event, but tedious to participate in. But you have a different perspective, you think it’ll be fun, and I’d like to here why.

  39. genearious says:

    It’s obviously one of two things:

    Either a link to a live feed from a camera. The camera shows a room with a live baby in it. If you had read the EULA(of course no one will) ,it actually reveals what’s in the box and the legal ramifications of being the opener. You would now realize that you have just adopted this baby. Congratulations new father/mother!

    or

    It will give GPS coordinates leading to a remote shack in the middle of a desert. In the shack there will be what appears to be a treasure chest. Upon opening the chest it will be discovered there is a remote inside. when the button on the remote is pressed a stairway will open up into the desert leading to the facility where the real Peter Molyneux’s brain is living happily in a tank. The Peter Molyneux in public this whole time has actually been an experimental humanoid robot where they accidentally set the excitement factor too high and it stuck there.

  40. Xocrates says:

    I’m amazed at the negativity on these comments.

    This is clearly meant to be a social experiment much more than a game, and it’s one I’m overjoyed it exists.

    I don’t give a crap about the game, but oh how I long to see a post mortem on the whole endeavor.

    • Jay says:

      I don’t see the problem with just letting him have a crack at it. Weren’t people complaining he was getting too safe lately with all those Fable sequels and such?

      Him releasing something I might not necessarily want to play isn’t a bad thing. There’s all kinds of shit I can’t be bothered with, at least this is something that might be worth reading about.

      • Torgen says:

        It’s cool to be part of the Molyneaux Hate Brigade. They don’t realize that every time they nerdrage that Molyneaux doesn’t “deserve” coverage in the gaming press every time he’s mentioned, they’re the ones building the 100-post threads and the visibility. If they just took their own advice and ignored him, these threads would be less than 20 posts.

  41. noogai03 says:

    This sounds like something out of a film or cartoon: someone famous has everyone working on a menial task, which then turns out to be something evil (which needed enormous power to achieve), like releasing some ancient bad guy.
    Perhaps Molyneux is a servant of the devil getting us to release him from his prison so he can have unlimited power?

    • Torgen says:

      Or he could simply be seeing how far one can take the Farmville-type “push a button” game before people catch on. Actually, unless he coerces people to pollute their friends’ Facebook profiles with requests to join, this would actually be better than Farmville.

  42. tranchera says:

    I can’t imagine anything emerging from this crap that the internet as a whole won’t just shrug their shoulders at and go about their days. I’d like to think there’s some good game ideas still rattling around in his head, he’s just too up himself to actually sit down and make a ‘normal game’ anymore.