Interview: Peter Molyneux On Curiosity’s Failings, GODUS

By Nathan Grayson on November 22nd, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

Last time I spoke with Peter Molyneux, he was practically abuzz with renewed vigor. He’d left Microsoft, started his own hand-picked studio, and ascended back into the high-concept realm he so loves to call home. But reality has a way of dousing even the most excited of flames, and Molyneux knows that better than just about anyone. But the godfather of god games was different when we spoke today: insanely thrilled to be launching a Kickstarter for his Populous meets Dungeon Keeper meets Black & White god opus GODUS, yes, but also wearied, frantic, and tremendously apologetic. It’s been a rough few weeks for 22 Cans, and it showed. And then something crazy happened: Molyneux cried. Openly. Without reservation. But not for the reason you might think. “I just,” he winced, his voice audibly cracking, “I still believe so much.”

Maybe it all only welled up because this was the first time he’d spoken about GODUS in a semi-public forum. Maybe it was exhaustion after weeks of struggling with Curiosity’s exceedingly rocky launch and resulting rage from an increasingly incensed fanbase. It’s tough to say, and I have no way of knowing. Personally, I think it came from the exact same place as Molyneux’s childlike excitement from earlier this year. He loves games. He loves the possibilities they present. He loves his creations. And even if they destroy him, he’s going to keep investing his heart, soul, and reputation into each and every one. “I think I will be doing games until the day I die,” he said. “At this rate, the way I’m burning through my life, I don’t see that I’ll be alive much longer.”

RPS: It’s been a pretty crazy couple of weeks at 22 Cans. How are you holding up?

Molyneux: It’s crazy, it’s mad. We’ve got Curiosity going on and we’ve just launched this Kickstarter for a project called GODUS, which is… One of the reasons I started 22 Cans was to create and invent and do slightly crazy things. Taking on this thought of the genre of god games, which for some bizarre reason I luckily stumbled on and kind of did the first of the god games – why not reinvent that?

To my mind, the god game genre is now defined by titles like CityVille. It was always supposed to be more than that. It was supposed to be far, far more than that. Why not take that challenge on? I feel like Populous created me, I didn’t create Populous. Why not use Kickstarter as a medium of involving people in the re-creation of a whole genre? Does that sound mad? What are we doing? Does it sound crazy? I suppose it does.

RPS: Not necessarily. It’s interesting, because a lot of games that were made around the same time you made things like Populous had this very overt ambition to them. They had a very large scope that’s been narrowed as time has gone on, which is kind of weird. You’d think people would build up and out – not narrow the focus of these things.

Molyneux: Yeah, I agree. I think the original principles of Populous were… It was an okay single-player game, but it was a wonderful multiplayer game. It’s been wonderful here, over the last few months, to replay Populous with loads of people in the office here. That’s where it really sung.

A lot of what we call god games now seem to be these narrow-focused things. They aren’t about the excitement of what it used to be. For me it was about influencing this world and seeing how this living [place reacted]. This is one thing I really want to explore, this real, living world which is at your fingertips, in a very real sense now. It’s going to be on PC and it’s going to be on mobile. Especially with touch, it really is at your fingertips. Those people are at your mercy.

I think there’s a lot to explore there. I don’t think there’s ever been anything like Populous, and there certainly hasn’t been anything like taking bits of Populous and mixing it with crazy things in Dungeon Keeper, like digging. I loved Dungon Keeper. I loved digging out stuff. I’d love to explore that. I think Dungeon Keeper’s multiplayer, again, was really good. It was probably stronger even than the Populous multiplayer. Looking at some of the Black & White stuff and mixing that together – those three games had a huge number of mistakes in them. But the community of Kickstarter can tell us and obsess about those mistakes and help us to reinvent the genre. That’s the reason to do Kickstarter.

We could have done a thing that I’ve done on every game I’ve ever made. We could have gone to a publisher, and maybe we should have gone to a publisher. Maybe that’s the sensible big-boy thing to do, signing up to a publisher. But I’ve always said, I’m exploring a way to make a really good, really well-balanced game. One of the great things about Kickstarter is you’ve got people that care enough to spend money. There’s a lot of talk about alpha and beta and people coming in and helping us with the design.

The reason that Dungeon Keeper and Black & White and Populous were so good, I think, back in those days, is because we played it a massive amount. We played Populous again and again. Same with Dungeon Keeper. We played it loads. I want to do that with these Kickstarter people. I want to play this game. We’ve already got a prototype we can fiddle around with here. I’m hoping to get to a state where we can have a public beta or alpha as soon as possible. Refine it and make it just fantastic. If we’re going to reinvent this god game genre, it’s got to be great. It’s got to be great on PC – obviously, that’s where it was kind of born – but reinvented for touch.

RPS: On Kickstarter, you talked a lot about reinventing the god game genre. But I guess that’s really the only sense I got – that you said you’re going to make a god game. Specifically, what makes GODUS unique and modern?

Molyneux: We’re releasing a lot of the design and concepts next week. Americans are all celebrating how much they hate the British at the moment. Is that what it’s about? I think that’s what it’s about [laughs]. It would be a bit of a waste. There’s a lot of those details coming out. But essentially, there’s no game I can think of at the moment where you feel like you’ve got a living world. A really true living world, that every time you come back to it feels like it’s more alive. There’s no game at the moment – this is unbelievable in my book – that really feels cooperative and combative on a mobile platform.

It’s amazing that there isn’t more experiences where you can feel like you and I, as gods in GODUS, can battle against two of our friends or three of our friends or four of our friends. That living world, with mechanics really crafted around touch and mouse, and this delightful map mechanic, a very relaxing mechanic, which is kind of what we’ve been trying out in Curiosity. You’re going to see some of the Curiosity stuff come through in this. How you control that, blending that together with this feeling of digging and sculpting a landscape rather than a stupid cube. The belief that these little followers give you with the ability to be cruel and kind to them, and these awesome god powers.

That combination hasn’t really existed since the original Populous, Black & White, and Dungeon Keeper. It’s not as if many people have done a Populous. It’s amazing to me. There’s been some nods to Populous, but nobody has done landscape changing. Already, the little prototype we have… When you rip your fingers on the screen and you tear the landscape apart with your physical hands, it just feels amazing, man. It feels amazing. When you’re doing it in multiplayer, it feels incredible. I love that.

RPS: Your main platforms are PC and mobile. Obviously the project is hugely ambitious in scope, but mobile has a fairly limiting stigma attached to it. Like, you have to port up from mobile. You can’t design a game for the biggest, baddest PCs and then cram it onto a far less robust platform.

Molyneux: That’s a simple one. The mobile platform is unbelievably powerful because you’ve got it with you all the time. Most gamers probably have some kind of mobile device on them that’s powerful enough to be a great gaming experience. This project, GODUS, it’s going to be 21st-century resolution and graphics and amazing visuals, but the mobile platform is capable of doing that. There is a low water mark on mobile that we won’t go below. There is only a certain number of Apple devices that we will support and a certain number of Android devices we support, because we want it to be the experience that it should be. I think if you try and dilute or downgrade that experience to support the very low-end devices, you do end up with something you may not be as proud about. You can think of it as higher-end mobile devices.

But I love the touch. Populous was invented because of the mouse, and it can be re-invented around the mouse, but also a lot around the touch. The touch, the grab, the stroke, all of those things we’re going to be obsessed about. So I don’t think of that [platform separation]. My ambition – and again, it’s an ambition – is that you should be able to play a game on your mobile versus someone who’s on the PC. That would be pretty cool.

Nowadays – this is part of the experiment – can we do an experience that’s truly multi-device? Can you play one god on the PC… You and me cooperating together, you’re on PC, I’m on mobile. I think we should do that. The bar on PC is very high.

RPS: I was wondering where the 22 experiments fit into this. You’ve said that the experiments were leading up to one big final project. Is that what this is, or is this something else?

Molyneux: This is an experiment that is a game. It’s an experiment called Cooperation. We hinted at Cooperation about six months ago. It’s part of the plan. It’s another project. It’s an experiment in applying some of the stuff that we’ve learned from Curiosity – and we’re still learning masses from Curiosity – into this. It seems more like a game, but I don’t think experiments should be just experiments. They should start becoming things. If you look very carefully in the concepts, the first concept shots, you’ll see a big cube in the background. This is part of that journey that we’re all going on.

The next experiment in Curiosity is happening probably next week, as we release version two of Curiosity. So experiments are still going on in that platform. Does that make sense, or does it sound crazy again?

RPS: This is an interesting time to unveil GODUS on Kickstarter. Curiosity launched, and you guys had a few hiccups to deal with it on that end. People pretty vocally criticized you for it.

Molyneux: It was a disaster. The last two weeks have been the worst and the best two weeks of my life. Here, we launched Curiosity and we thought it would be a slow-burning thing. We thought we’d be climbing up to tens of thousands of people over a month, and it took a couple of hours. Then we panicked and we put a fix in to try and get Curiosity up and running on a distributed load, on a cluster basis.

We were tired and we made a mistake. The mistake, which was very hard to unravel, was that people started losing their gold coins. We have now, in Apple cert, a fix for that. If people put the update on – it should be out in a couple of days – then they won’t lose coins anymore. The service of Curiosity is much more robust. The actual ability for getting on and joining now is pretty seamless.

Our original plan was to launch Curiosity on the Wednesday, two weeks ago, and on Friday to launch GODUS. That was the original plan. But by the time Thursday came, we had so many problems that we delayed GODUS until we felt we had a solution. I can understand people being angry. I’m angry. I’m super angry. My wife is barely talking to me now, because she lost a million gold coins. I walked through the front door a few days ago and… Yeah. It wasn’t a pleasant conversation as you can imagine. We desperately want to fix that.

22 Cans is split in two at the moment. Half the team is working on GODUS, half the team is working on Curiosity.

RPS: Back before Curiosity launched, you talked a lot about the technology underlying it and the fact that you were trying to make something that could bear the load of so many people simultaneously tapping away at it. Why didn’t that work?

Molyneux: The main reason? It was my fault completely. The server guys here said, “How many people do you think you’re going to have coming online?” This is the reality of it. I’ve done three talks. I did a talk at Rezzed, I did a talk at Unite, and I did a talk at MIT. There was the Wired article, but that was back in mid-October. So I said, “Look, it’s going to be a slow ramp up. We’re not going to go out to the press, we’re not going to start talking about it until we’ve proved our tech in the marketplace. The only way to do that with this is to get people to start using it.”

So those poor guys, instead of implementing 15 servers as there are now, they implemented a solution which was only one server, because they thought that they would have at least a couple of weeks before that one server was being pushed. The reality was [very different]. I don’t know how. I don’t know why. I wasn’t even online when it launched. I was in Israeli security because I’d just given a talk in Israel and I was fighting my way back. I had done one tweet saying, “Oh my God, I don’t believe Curiosity is out.”

But by the time I landed and got back to England, it had had 200,000 downloads. And all those people hitting our server, a single server, and trying to get on and trying to register and trying to go through Facebook and trying to tap at once… We were totally taken by surprise. Those poor guys, they turned around to me and looked at me with hatred as they said, “Look. As quick as we can, we have to implement our cluster-based solution, which we didn’t really want to implement.” They got this load-balancing solution out as quick as they could, and a mistake was made, which was a schoolboy mistake, but it was impossble to unravel. We lost the gold.

RPS: That puts you, with the Kickstarter I think, in a bit of a precarious position. You being you, a lot of people look at your work and say, “OK, he’s a guy who promises a whole lot and then it doesn’t always work out that way.” And now they have a very fresh reminder of that in how Curiosity turned out. Do you think that will make people a little more hesitant to donate to Kickstarter, because they’re not sure if you can actually pull off GODUS as you promise it?

Molyneux: Probably, yeah. What that means is that we would have to go down a more traditional publishing route. Whilst I’ve got lots of friends in publishing, it would be a shame. But you’re right. It just wasn’t good enough. We should have… I shouldn’t have been… Well, I don’t know how I could have predicted this. It’s just a cube in a corner of a white room. I don’t know what we did that made two million people download it, and download it in such a short time. I wish I had some time machine and could go back two weeks. You live by your mistakes, for sure.

But, you know, if I didn’t launch Kickstarter now, I would have run into Christmas. I would have had to wait until after Christmas. It’s a long time to wait, in the digital world, to kick off a project. It’s two months. So to a certain extent our hands are tied. I’m sure we’ll pay the price for that. I’m absolutely sure. At least this time it was a bug, though. I know that’s terrible. I hate bugs, I loathe them, but at least this time it was a bug.

I’m proud of Curiosity. I’m amazed at what the world’s done with Curiosity. I tried not to over-promise. I only ever said it’s a big cube and you tap on it. I never said anything else about it, like the diamond chisel, which is of course there. If today was launch day, I don’t know what could have come of it. It could have been amazing. We held off on the launch of Kickstarter until we fixed the issue [with Curiosity], until we announced the issue, and then we launched at the last possible moment before the holidays.

But you’re right. I can’t blame people for not believing. I am going to put everything, every ounce of energy, every piece of myself, every statement I made into this game, because this… Populous created me. I didn’t create Populous.

[That statement was followed by a long silence. And then Molyneux cried.]

Molyneux: I know I’ve said things… I wish I could not say them, I guess. I just… I still believe so much. I swore that when we started 22 Cans that we wouldn’t over-promise, and I guess through stupid mistakes we have. I have to live by those. If it means that the project doesn’t get kickstarted, if it means that people use the Kickstarter to vent their frustrations, then I guess I have to live by that.

RPS: At the same time, though, people are obviously very passionate about god games and about your legacy with them. So you do have that working in your favor.

Molyneux: Yeah. Maybe. I don’t know. We’ll have to see. It would just feel so wrong to go back to a publisher or some investor. I don’t mind using my savings to found the company and create the team and create Curiosity, but there comes a point where you need help on that. I’d rather go and face my critics and face people’s rejection than go down a conventional route, I guess. Maybe that is madness. I don’t know.

RPS: Modern publishing doesn’t leave much room for small, highly specialized teams, though. When you talked about reestablishing the old Bullfrog spirit from back in the day in the Kickstarter video…

Molyneux: That’s what we have already here. It is a team that really loves what they do. I haven’t worked with a team like that for a very long time. The fact that we’ve already played more hours of the original games of Populous and Dungeon Keeper and Black & White and all shouted at each other about the stupid mistakes that were made back then. We’re passionate about those. The art director did all the art on Dungeon Keeper and Black & White. You’ve got me, and then tomorrow I’ve got Glenn Corpes coming into the office. It was him and I that created the original Populous. This is as close to the team that created the thing in the first place. As I said, we’re insanely passionate about it.

RPS: You’ve also made mention of the culmination of the 22 experiments as your “final game,” though. So is that really the ultimate goal here? Is this your swan song?

Molyneux: Yes… Well, I didn’t really explain that. I’m one of those human beings who’s surprised he’s still alive every time he wakes up in the morning. I think I will be doing games until the day I die. I can’t see that, at this rate, the way I’m burning through my life… I don’t see that I’ll be alive much longer. That’s one thing.

The other thing is that – and you can see it with Curiosity – you don’t finish a game when you release it anymore. That’s when it starts. Next week we’re going for update two with Curiosity. It’s a very different experience. One of the things I’m so excited about nowadays is that you can adapt. It’s unexpected to us, or me, how much art people are doing on Curiosity. It’s a disappointment to me that it still feels like a solitary experience. We’re going to respond to that. It’s a disappointment to me that there aren’t more surprises. We’re going to respond to that.

A game is a living thing. Like any living thing, you have to feed it and nurture it and grow it. When we’re talking about the final game, then if I launch it, if it really is the final game, it’s going to need a lot of that tender loving care to help it grow. That means probably focusing on it and obsessing about it for maybe years. So to that extent it could be my last, because by definition, you’re adapting it along the way.

RPS: Thank you for your time.

Molyneux: It’s madness, it’s madness. But the best things that human beings do, I think, they do when they’re under pressure. It’s that insane energy. We’ve got our destiny in the path that we’re walking down, but we can’t walk down it. We have to run down it. We’re in this digital world that changes every second. That’s why we’re doing these two things at once.

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206 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Cinek says:

    “The mobile platform is unbelievably powerful because you’ve got it with you all the time” – that’s… original logic. Mobile platforms had this potential ever since ’90s… and yet most of the games for them hardly go beyond PC browser-based flash mini-games even on modern, relatively powerful smartphones.

    PC is unbelievably powerful. Mobiles are unbelievably limited, but… mobile! Both got their strong things, but I’d never mix power with mobile platforms.

    • Gnoupi says:

      The thing is, only recently mobile platforms are becoming powerful enough for a lot of games. There’s a reason why we played Snake on those Nokias. It’s because that was among the best you could do, as a playable thing.

      And the smartphone gaming market is already bigger than the “browser-based flash game”, at this day. It’s already at the level of handheld consoles, and more.

      PC is incredibly powerful, but there is a limit where the raw power actually counts. Sure, you will get always better graphics on the PC, if you’re looking for something mimicking reality. If you need a strong simulation, including physics, you will probably need this power as well… But that’s pretty much all.
      As it is, bar the controller gap, smartphones and tablets have enough power for a large range of games, the majority of them.

      • DK says:

        Simluation is *exactly* what he promises. Yet he thinks he can do it mobile.

        Molyneux is a pathological liar. He means well, but he can’t help himself, so he just keep lying. Probably to himself as well, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are also being lied to.

        • Tatourmi says:

          A lie cannot simply be defined as “A false statement”. It is based on the intent of the person. Or the definition is really going to cause some serious philosophical problems.

          (And well, to be fair, it already does.)

          • hazelprice6 says:

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          • stupid_mcgee says:

            THANK YOU! When I was taking graphic design classes, one of my professors (my typography professor, to be exact) was very fond of saying, “words mean things. If you’re going to use a word, make sure you know exactly what it means and that you’re using it correctly.” It’s something that has stuck with me for years and incorrectly using words has always been a bit of a pet-peeve for me.

        • slowly_over says:

          I think I’d prefer to call him an optimist, rather than a liar.

        • soldant says:

          I believe he believes what he says. I don’t think there’s any real malice in what he does, just that he aims and falls short. At least he’s trying, when he could just be making CALL OF WARFACE etc.

          • DK says:

            But he’s not trying. If you look at his promises, and then at his games – there’s not even the roots of his promises in there. It’s clearly visible that most of what he promised wasn’t even attempted.

      • Zarx says:

        I would assume most of the actual simulation will be done server-side

      • alinos says:

        The other issue stems from the fact that prior to the iphone and the like there was no uniformity for these titles, with them often being playable on a seemingly random number of phones and generally relegated to the stupid pages of TXT this number for game A for $5 and you’ll sub to this service Bullshit.

        Both Distribution and the level of uniformity in modern day tech enables games to be made available for a meaningful marketplace. Which allows Higher profits from a lower margin.

    • aldo_14 says:

      I don’t think he’s talking about power in computational capacity terms, but in the ability to put out content (gaming or otherwise) that interacts and intersects with daily life.

      • simonh says:

        Well, he says “it’s going to be 21st-century resolution and graphics and amazing visuals, but the mobile platform is capable of doing that.” – which is obviously not true.
        (Well actually, I suppose it is, in a way, if you’re cunningly using “21st-century” to mean “like a computer from 2001″, mobiles can indeed handle that.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      Why do people assume the game’s going to be the same on both platforms?

      I think it would be interesting to have more games have two components: a large, pretty, complex PC-based (or console-based, though the console makers would probably cause issues) component, which could be the main drive for the game, and a smaller, leaner component for mobiles. Basically, taking advantage of each platform’s strengths.

      • LionsPhil says:

        While I can certainly see that that might be cool, I’m not sure “god game” is the kind of game where it’d work.

        …unless the god game in question is Black & White, and the mobile version is just turning your creature into a Tamagochi.

    • frightlever says:

      Many of the games evangelized by RPS could run on a Game and Watch. A great game doesn’t have to be optimized for the cutting edge in hardware. I about split my time between gaming at my desk and gaming with my iPad or Vi40.

    • Ucodia says:

      You sir, never got your hands on a PS Vita. I know I will probably be sued for saying that on RPS, but you should try this console. This is a real POWERFUL gaming device in your (big) pocket.

  2. jamal says:

    Molyneux is cool for giving a shout out to Spuds Quest http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/409406442/spuds-quest/

  3. moocow says:

    What if: the rain in your God game was the actual tears of the developer
    #whatwouldmolydeux

    • Gnoupi says:

      Note that we already had “what if the rain outside was also in your game”, in games from Molyneux.

      Which made playing “Black & White” in the UK something closer to “Grey & Greyish”, of course.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I’ve promised things you people wouldn’t believe. Oak trees growing off the shoulder of Orion. I’ve imagined giant apes learning in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those … moments will be lost in time, like tears…in rain.
      Time to die.

      • nicotine says:

        Had to log in just to say thanks for your pithy post, Hoaxfish.

    • vedder says:

      Thanks moocow for brightening up my day :D

  4. wearedevo says:

    “I don’t think there’s ever been anything like Populous, and there certainly hasn’t been anything like taking bits of Populous and mixing it with crazy things in Dungeon Keeper, like digging.”

    “But essentially, there’s no game I can think of at the moment where you feel like you’ve got a living world.”

    …Dwarf Fortress? Sometimes I feel like Molyneux’s problem is that he just doesn’t play anything except his own games.

    • mrmalodor says:

      Actually, that’s the problem with most developers these days. They don’t play enough. They don’t know what’s out there, what’s been made in the past and what’s being done now. They have no sense of perspective.

      • Premium User Badge

        Clavus says:

        I think you can also see that in the Curiosity launch. Molyneux didn’t seem to grasp the amount of buzz he had generated with Curiosity, even though he limited the amount of press coverage.

        • S Jay says:

          Yeah, when I read about his expectations about Curiosity, I was “whaaaat? Don’t you understand the internet?”

    • Premium User Badge

      Oozo says:

      Also: “There’s been some nods to Populous, but nobody has done landscape changing.”

      You could argue that this was the one thing the other god game by a veteran developer, “From Dust”, did well. A bit misinformed, the old pal, but I want to give him a hug nevertheless.

      • wearedevo says:

        Hell, it’s a different approach, but Minecraft is essentially all about landscape changing

      • Azradesh says:

        From Dust is not a god game, it’s a puzzle game dressed up as a god game.

      • slowly_over says:

        Sid Meier’s Railroads! was a flawed game, but one thing that really impressed me about it when I first saw a demo was the way that buildings and terrain re-arranged themselves around the track template as it was moved around, in real time. It felt to me somewhat like the way Populous landscape behaved.

      • Premium User Badge

        Rinox says:

        Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri did landscape changing. Sure, it’s not technically a “God game”, but the things you could do within the boundaries of the TBS game that it was were staggering.

        Terraform terrain so it would have large slopes facing to the West for more fertile farmlands, create mesa-like platforms at high altitudes to harness more energy from solar panels, improve tactical advantages by creating valleys or lakes/rivers, hell you could even raise global sea levels and try and drown unprepared coastal cities all over the world. It was and is glorious.

    • Salt says:

      I find myself in sad agreement.

      I remember him being enthused and amazed by the concept of unlocking a mount in World of Warcraft, which he said led to many design ideas for Fable. The idea that a game would have a telegraphed in-system reward for progress through the game was astonishing and inspiring to him. That’s great, but it’s not exactly a new idea in video game design. So far as I can tell, all it led to in Fable was the player being shown what spells and abilities they could work towards unlocking.

      The magic of Curiosity beyond a mild “I wonder what the next layer’s picture is?” is that it’s a single cube that everyone in the world is interacting with at the same time. So it’s a persistent world. Which again, is not really a new idea. The old text based MUSHes (Multi User Shared Hallucinations – MUDs for pure roleplayers) were doing much more interesting stuff with persistent worlds decades ago. And since then every MMO has done at least something with persistence.

      Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that only brand new ideas are valuable. But it just feels like he gets so excited over the most basic version of a concept that he doesn’t dig into how it has been developed by others. The fact that he’s making a settlement management game, or as they’re known these days “Dwarf Fortress clone” (I jest, but only just), apparently without knowledge of Dwarf Fortress existing is just embarrassing.

    • Premium User Badge

      DeVadder says:

      I agree with you and i myself have played dozens if not hundreds hours of DF (so hard to keep track with these wierd non-steam games) but i also believe that DF is kind of stressing the boundaries of what you can call a released game today. It is close to just beeing a hobby of some guy that lots of other people happen to enjoy. But if anybody would release a game like it and ask for money for it, most people would be very dissapointed.
      Do not get me wrong, i think Toady deserves at least half the money in the world and i did toss some his way, but as an actual ‘game’ of 2012 (or even 2006) it is very lacking in interface, controls, graphics, …

    • frightlever says:

      Nice insight. I think you’re probably correct.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Crimsoneer says:

    I hope you gave him a hug. I still kind of like the guy, so I’ll back the crazy idea.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      Yeah. I see a lot of people in various forums being cynical and/or sarcastic about his passion in this interview. Personally I love seeing creative people being passionate. You know. unless they are passionate about murder, or something.

      I prefer ambitious, creative and flawed rather than something designed-by-commitee with focus groups and maximum market penetration in mind.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Be passionate about something, even if it’s murder“- Jeffrey Dahmer, circa 1991.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Definitely. As I said on the kickstarter I wouldn’t back it, but the way he approaches games is pretty good if at times a bit eccentric. People like Tim Schafer and Peter may not necessarily always make games I’ll buy if I’m not into them, but they’re certainly coming from a good place.

    • Mbaya says:

      I was hoping for a pledge level on kickstarter where you got to give Peter a hug.

      I know many people are dissapointed in Peter Molyneux, his promises and the products he (and his talented teams) delivers, but for me, I’d just love to get him in a room with a cup of tea and discuss gaming for hours and hours.

      The guy shows more passion for this industry than any other, and I love that. He and his teams were responsable for some amazing experiences and I truely believe even his recent efforts, no matter how accepted by the masses, have sparks of genious and some great moments.

      I don’t envy the possition he’s in, but he has my support. A little concerned about him burning through life, I hope he’s well and just burning the candle at both ends for a bit.

    • McCool says:

      These are my thoughts on the guy. He is made out of nothing but good intentions. Of course the snarky amongst us will refer to paving on the road to hell, but Molyneux has always been one of the good guys. To this day the only thing I hold against him is the fact that after all these years, I still can’t spell his name.

    • Shuck says:

      Yes, the poor chap. I feel like he unfairly gets a lot of stick from people for doing exactly what the same(?) people are demanding of game developers – more open and uncensored talk about what he’s working on and what excites him. People get angry that what he was talking about doesn’t end up in the game, but they fail to realize how much stuff can get cut during development. People act like he’s betrayed some promise, when his biggest sin was to talk openly about features that didn’t make the cut.

      • realmenhuntinpacks says:

        Absolutely. I don’t understand people’s ire… if he fails, doesn’t it only harm himself? And what a wonderful presence he is to have around the place. Warm, down to earth (yeah, I know, but he always makes me think he’s like an ordinary game-loving punter that’s accidentally found himself helming massive projects), inherently likeable and experimental. Auteurish, even. Not to mention he’s essentially my gaming-uncle – I grew up playing PM’s games, and I’m flippin ruddy bloody glad I did. HUGS

    • elilupe says:

      I just really want to give Peter Molyneux a hug, sit him down, and tell him just how much good he really is doing for creativity in the gaming world. Sure, he doesn’t always deliver all of his amazing promises, but you can tell through his interviews that he isn’t just lying about things to get people excited to buy his product, he is truly passionate for video games and the potential they have, and when he makes these large promises, that’s his excitement getting the better of him.
      Peter, if you ever chance upon this comment, keep doing what you’re doing, no matter what you think people are saying about your failures. I’ll always be a loyal fan who will forever remember getting immediately interesting in video games after discovering Populous as a kid.

  6. LionsPhil says:

    And then something crazy happened: Molyneux cried. Openly.

    Was he testing his new control system?

  7. donmilliken says:

    The reason Molyneux is so certain of his impending death is that when the final cube in Curiosity is chipped away it will trigger the small explosive charge he’s had surgically implanted next to his heart. Thus, the person who strikes that final blow will know from that point on until the day they die that they killed him.

    “Life changing,” indeed.

    • CameO73 says:

      You know, that makes far more sense than it should have…

    • Merlkir says:

      woah, that’s dark.

    • Mbaya says:

      Good grief…that’s a scary thought.

    • thekev506 says:

      I’ve got to admit one of the thoughts that I’ve had about what’s inside the curiosity box is a suicide note. Molyneux seems so shattered now, it’s really sad.

    • DJ Madeira says:

      No wonder he didn’t tell his wife what was at the center.

      • WrenBoy says:

        But imagine he did.

        My wife is barely talking to me now, because she lost a million gold coins. I walked through the front door a few days ago and… Yeah. It wasn’t a pleasant conversation as you can imagine.

        • wulfsiege says:

          I lost 2.5 million gold coins on the server restart and decided that it was more of a waste of my time than what it already was and never went back. I used their contact form to inform them of my problems and I never even got so much as a boilerplate response.

          Honestly, once you have your 1st million gold coins you can manufacture the gold in no time but I don’t care any more.

    • VileJester says:

      I was kinda shocked by how believable this scenario was, then I remembered that Molyneux has a son.
      So he wouldn’t do that.

      • The Random One says:

        Are you saying the final cube kills his son instead? What a horrible thing to say, what’s wrong with you?

    • Mctittles says:

      I’ve thought the same too. In my version though, the tapping on the cube is actually powering a machine that is keeping his heart running.

  8. dangel says:

    you know what – i’m old(ish) and cynical but i’m also a dreamer. So’s this guy and for all his failings he’s pushed creativity in the industry again and again. I think we need those sort of people.

    I’m in.

    • Premium User Badge

      Oozo says:

      So am I, for the same reasons.
      But please, somebody go tell him that it is NOT a good idea to limit the most sought-after and basic tier – the one that just gives you the game, without bells and whistles. It’s what most people want, I’m sure.

      (Or are there economically sound reasons for doing it? Seems so obviously and instinctivively wrong to me, but then again, what do I know…)

    • donmilliken says:

      The guy’s met with a lot of skepticism and he hasn’t allowed it to dampen his enthusiasm for pushing the boundaries of game creation. You have to admire that. It’s fun to watch and it’s nice to know there’s someone like him out there. You still have to take anything he says with a grain of salt. Plus, enthusiasm aside, many of the games he’s been involved in creating, especially in more recent years, just haven’t been that good.

      • dangel says:

        I have to say also, that i’ve wasted far more money on completely pants games with no redeeming qualities at all than some of his. B&W1/2 for instance felt like something entirely new despite being flawed, and for that alone i’m glad to have been able to play them.

        • donmilliken says:

          I guess they just weren’t my thing then. Nothing wrong with that of course and I’ve found myself having a lot more fun playing weird indie stuff than shiny AAA nonsense these days, some of which bare only passing resemblance to an actual game. Clearly the problem isn’t with his output,, it’s that he can’t stop himself making daft promises he can’t possibly deliver on.

          Better that though than what we get from many major studios though, making meager promises and still failing to deliver on them.

          • dangel says:

            Oh don’t get me wrong – BW1/2 were incredibly frustrating in all sorts of ways but also amazingly inventive and fascinating (at least for a while) in that they were so different. Different is unusual – and of course thesedays thanks to t’internet and steam we have lots of indie stuff floating round that’s easily accessible and has the same “ohhhh cool” factor.
            So we agree I think :)

    • Premium User Badge

      puppybeard says:

      Me too. On the grand scale of things, someone could say it’s silly to get so worked up about a game. But if I’m going to play games, I’d like them to be made by somebody who cares this much.

      As for people who complain about Curiosity, I’d say to them, it’s free, it’s an experiment, stop whining. Of course it was going to break, nobody has done it before, and anyone who has come near had a lot more than 22 folks working on it. In an experiment, failure also produces useful information.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Ever since Black and White I’ve had a scepticism about the man’s work that borders on schadenfreude. But after reading this interview…

      Fuck it, I’m backing the project. Whether this makes me one of those born every minute, we’ll see.

  9. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    “But the best things that human beings do, I think, they do when they’re under pressure.” This is where I think Peter will succeed – unless he spontaneously combusts.

  10. Premium User Badge

    yoggesothothe says:

    This was an amazing interview. Great questions, great responses. One of the best I’ve read in a long time, in any field.

    To Mr. Molyneux’s credit, it takes tremendous passion and faith to maintain this refreshing level of honest enthusiasm almost approaching quixotic naivete after facing years of cynical backlash, regardless of whether or not that backlash was deserved. The fact that he has not tapped out (as the BioWare doctors, for instance) says a lot about the man. The man is still trying, and he does not shy away from admitting failures. That he can look at something like Molydeux and conclude from that that it’s time to leave a stable, high level position and spend one’s life savings in the spirit of experimentation at his age–that is genuinely commendable. Much respect.

    • Kaira- says:

      Well said.

      “If you haven’t failed, you haven’t tried”, as some people say.

      • LionsPhil says:

        That’s not a very good argument in favour of trying.</EA>

        • dangel says:

          Good point – as much as I dislike EA (at times) I have to say I see why sticking with the ‘safe’ option makes sense for multi-million dollar investments. To play DA though OTOH they risk not having a big IP to milk eventually..

          • Snakejuice says:

            Too many ‘safe’ projects makes them unsafe, see MoH:WarFighter.

        • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

          EA doesn’t try. They buy up others who try. And then they destroy them.

      • Tuor says:

        I don’t know what you mean: I’ve failed without trying many, many times. :P

  11. LionsPhil says:

    Wait. So Curiosity was supposed to be a tech platform test for having massive amounts of users simultaneously modifying a (trivial) shared state.

    And then they launch with a whole one server, and say “as quick as we can, we have to implement our cluster-based solution, which we didn’t really want to implement“?

    • RodHope says:

      Thanks for rewriting that bit of the interview for me in your own words. Super helpful.

      • LionsPhil says:

        You see these cute little dealies? -> “”
        It’s a direct quote.

        • RodHope says:

          I meant the whole thing.

        • dangel says:

          yeah, out of context..

          I couldn’t care less about curiosity – it sounded daft to me – but the point was it was a frivolous idea that they didn’t expect people to latch onto in massive numbers. They were wrong and he admits it – tells the truth.. does he need hitting with a big stick for that? Not convinced myself.

    • Premium User Badge

      puppybeard says:

      I’ve never made a multi-player game, but my guess was that they wanted to develop something more sophisticated, and the cluster-based solution was a “quick and dirty” solution.

      Is there anyone who knows the territory on here, that could shed some light on this?

      • Mctittles says:

        Light shed? Honestly I don’t know what they were trying to do. At one point I heard them say they thought the Amazon cloud solution was going to be enough. Clouds are just servers with a buzzword attached. Servers are just computers with an internet line attached.
        For the cube you have one ping (tap) to send down the line to the computer on the other end. The computer on the other end has to update the main cube and send out the final result to all connected users.

        Honestly the cube concept sounds like the most simplified client-server system I could imagine. One ping per user, one central cube. The server *should* be as small of code as possible. Once you have that then it comes down to simple math.
        How many sockets can this system support at one time?
        How much RAM does each users data require?
        How many users per thread is the best balance of performance vs cpu/ram use?
        How much cpu per calculation is needed?

        Calculate those things, and you have your answer of how much system power per computer and how many computers are needed.

        It seems even the developers are so abstracted from facts nowadays with cloud this and that they forget how simple everything really is. Sure Amazon might have a scaling system built in for your apache based web page or whatever, but there is no way they can “cloud” balance your custom made game server.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Crimsoneer says:

    Also – the current layer of Curiousity is a massive advert for Project Godus. Really? That’s a bit much.

    • Gnoupi says:

      I don’t see why they would not do that. It’s their cube, it’s popular currently, so it’s a great platform to advertise as it is. At least using it for your own product seems fair.

      • wearedevo says:

        You have ten minutes to move your cube.

        • Palehorse says:

          You know, some people read RPS at work. Making them break out in laughter at their monitor is just mean.

          For shame, sir.

  13. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    “To my mind, the god game genre is now defined by titles like CityVille.”

    He is out of touch. So very out of touch.

    • Azradesh says:

      Well there aren’t many god games made these days.

      • Salt says:

        Depends how you define god game. Wikipedia is of the opinion that you have to explicitly be playing the role of a god. Not omnipotent, but with access to a bunch of powers that you use to interact with the world. Using that definition, there’s not many god games – From Dust being the only recent one.

        But by that definition CityVille isn’t a god game (it’s basically SimCity with horrible “social” stuff). So Molyneux is presumably considering a wider range of management / building / simulation games in his assessment of the genre’s state. In which case Dwarf Fortress is kind of a big deal, and one that he should be engaging with.

        But I think it might literally blow his mind when he finds that his dwarves are engraving tales of his own adventure character and the fall of his last attempt at building a city on their walls. So maybe it’s best he stays away.

        • Premium User Badge

          RaveTurned says:

          Maybe they should add a new Kickstarter tier. For $2,500, you get an afternoon with Peter to demonstrate all the depth and awesomeness of Dwarf Fortress. The catch is, you have to explain to him how to read the ASCII-filled screen, and how to navigate through that super-intuitive UI.

          As much as I have grown to love DF, it still has all the accessibility of a 3D stereogram driven by a chorded keyboard.

    • Shuck says:

      He’s right though, in a way (and probably in the sense that he meant it). Dwarf Fortress may be pushing boundaries, but in terms of the popular consciousness, in terms of who’s playing what, CityVille and its ilk demand a far bigger share, so that’s what’s defining the “God game” right now. If you made two human pyramids out of the people who play CityVille (etc) and those who play DF (and its imitators), they’d… well, they’d both collapse in giant piles of crushed corpses. But the CityVille corpse pile would be orders of magnitude greater in size.

  14. Jockie says:

    Great interview, although it must have been a slightly uncomfortable one to conduct!

    I like Molyneux, if someone has such incredibly high ambitions and expectations, you don’t blame them for failing to meet them, you respect them for trying to and having the balls to keep on trying .

    Personally think he’s far better off away from MS, where Fable became something of a safety net.

    Better to try and fail, than never try at all. (Jockie, 2012 [possibly stolen])

    • Emeraude says:

      Better to try and fail, than never try at all.

      I don’t know, failing to kill my family sure makes me wish I hadn’t try.

  15. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    The world needs people who care this much.

  16. Bostec says:

    What is it about this guy that journalists love so much? its not one article they have to publish about him it has to be 2-3 or even 4 in a space of couple of days. Eurogamer does the same thing. Reminds me of politicians and I can’t stand politicians.

    • Premium User Badge

      Surlywombat says:

      Because he’s predictably unpredictable. Which makes him interesting.

      • Bostec says:

        Please, I’ve seen more interesting people outside my window. Until he does something noteworthy in my eyes i’ll just continue to shake my head and move on to read more important stuff like if Alpecin (engineered in Germany you know) will increase my ever thinning hairline .

        • dangel says:

          Where do you live? They’re all dull as heck outside of mine.

          No I agree – he’s interesting in that he’s an ideas man and (like it or not) has come up with some darn good ones. Now, if you were to say he’s had a whole heap of failures too I wouldn’t disagree but I don’t agree at all he’s dull (and judging by the interest he generates that’s hard to argue).

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            He must live in my neighborhood, a place where you can watch nutters smoke crack in the parking lot and see drunken frat boys get tased by the police on a weekly basis. Molyneux wouldn’t fit in here.

          • Bostec says:

            You know who he reminds me of? Junior Soprano. The episode where hes in the metal health hospital and hes hosting a game with sweets as betting money and using his fellow patients as the players and hes telling stories around the table. Its hilarious and sad at the same time. This once great man…you almost feel sorry for him. Almost.

  17. MOKKA says:

    What’s still funny: Despite all the dissapointments this guy brought me by making his games seem bigger then they were in the end. Dungeon Keeper and (to some extend) Black & White are both still pretty amazing and unique games.

    I still wish people would back Maia instead of his project. At least as long as the campaign for Maia is still running.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      What’s wrong with backing both? ;)

      I love Maia’s take (which sounds like DK in sci-fi with a retro theme), but I’d also love a straight up god game closer to B&W.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Durkonkell says:

    I love this. It’s so candid. There’s no PR-type sitting next to him to restrain him. It’s just a man who really loves games who has had a pretty hard couple of weeks and is a bit depressed and emotional. I can’t help but feel that it would’ve been a good idea to take some more time to get himself back together before launching the Kickstarter.

    The trailer post that came before this though, what was that all about? Why does it exist?

    • Salt says:

      I’ll bet that these fairly long-form interview posts are less read (at least to their conclusion) than shorter posts. A little advertising that there’s exciting emotion and drama will draw people who normally skip the interviews to actually read it.

      I much prefer a site to be advertising its own content, rather than advertising an upcoming advert for a game.

    • Alphabet says:

      I don’t think he loves games – I think that’s the problem. I think he loves the games he makes. He’s been vastly overindulged, in my opinion.

  19. caddyB says:

    Very good interview with great questions as usual. Still not giving him any money for Godus, though.

  20. SurprisedMan says:

    So this is a game, but it’s not the ‘Just One Game’ that 22 Cans said they’d make? Right. Got it.

  21. Parge says:

    I didn’t think I could dislike PM anymore.

    I was wrong.

    He’s the king of over promise and under deliver – why, also is he doing a Kickstarter – it should be for indie devs and people who genuinely couldn’t go elsewhere for the funding.

    • dangel says:

      Is that in the rules for using it then?

      I just wonder why it’s a ‘actual’ problem given that nobody has to fund anything..

      • Salt says:

        Not saying it’s right or wrong, but the reasoning goes that there’s a finite (albeit seemingly pretty huge) amount of money available from Kickstarter backers. Someone deciding to pledge to Godus will inevitably have less funds available for other projects, like the often-mentioned Maia.

        Which of course assumes that those Kickstarter backers are incapable of making a reasoned decision for themselves as to which project they should support with their finite funds. But assuming that everyone else is ignorant is what the Internet is built on!

        • Premium User Badge

          Surlywombat says:

          Not saying it’s right or wrong, but the reasoning goes that there’s a finite (albeit seemingly pretty huge) amount of money available from Kickstarter backers. Someone deciding to pledge to Godus will inevitably have less funds available for other projects, like the often-mentioned Maia.

          Not necessarily. Personally I would never go over a certain level of backing for any one product due to the nature of Kickstarter. As each project has its own chance of failing I wouldn’t feel confident in adding pledges together. I look at each project and the back it or don’t based on it’s merits. I would never put on all my eggs in one project.

        • angrychair says:

          That reasoning is about as sound as the math the RIAA/MPAA uses to figure out how much money they have lost to piracy.

        • Salt says:

          Out of curiosity, I broke the argument down a bit.

          An individual (a “backer”) has a finite amount of money available.
          Pledging to a game depletes a non-zero amount of a backer’s funds.
          Should a backer run out of money, they will be unable to pledge to further games.
          Therefore every currency unit spent backing one project is a currency unit not spent backing another project.

          But there’s an unstated assumption in there:
          A backer will always spend the whole of their available fund each month.

          I believe that assumption is false in the case of many backers. Although we make purchasing decisions (and backing / donating decisions) with the knowledge that we have finite funds, I suspect that most people who back things on Kickstarter are not living from week to week with their bank balance bouncing along the red line. (If they are, I heartily encourage them to stop backing things on Kickstarter.)

          Without that questionable assumption, we no longer have a neat zero-sum game of choosing what projects to back and the argument falls apart.

        • Mctittles says:

          I don’t think it’s a finite amount of money, I believe it’s a finite amount of news coverage problem. For some small time devs, doing a kickstarter seems almost a way to get LESS coverage because as RPS has said they don’t like to write about kickstarters all the time.
          So they limit themselves to writing more about the multi-millionaire doing the kickstarter then the up and coming indie studio. I mean there are three articles in a row on this, while many other great kickstarters from lesser known people never get mentioned.

          • Lanfranc says:

            But would those news sites even write about Kickstarter and the small projects if the large-scale projects weren’t there, or would they just ignore it? All else being equal, it seems reasonable that the coverage of the large projects raises the profile of the platform as a whole and draws more potential backers in, which is to the benefit of everyone.

            Successful projects with high goals also means Kickstarter earns more money in fees, which allows them to do more marketing themselves as well as further develop the site. I don’t really see the downside.

          • Mctittles says:

            @Lanfranc
            I see what you are saying and it makes sense. You have changed my opinion on the matter.

        • Premium User Badge

          Ninja Dodo says:

          Isn’t that the same thing people worried about with the Double Fine Kickstarter, which turned out to be completely wrong? In fact, more people were coming in to Kickstarter and backing other projects… instead of a fixed number of backers spending a finite amount of money… If this project succeeds it too will probably result in more money for other projects, not less.

    • Lanfranc says:

      Kickstarter “is for” crowdfunding whatever the users think is worthy of support and isn’t disallowed by the rules. So if enough people agree with you, Godus won’t get funded. If enough people disagree, it will. It’s the elegance of the marketplace.

    • malkav11 says:

      Well, for starters, Molyneux would currently count as an indie dev, as far as I can tell. Albeit one with a long, long history in the industry spent working with larger companies. But secondly, this is you projecting your own baggage onto Kickstarter. It’s for crowdfunding projects. That’s it. There’s no “you have to be this small to play” bar.

      • dangel says:

        I’m sure you’ll get updated with what makes someone ‘indie’ shortly. In the meantime I’m agreeing with you (because of er.. choice!).

        • Unaco says:

          ‘What is Indie?’ said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer.

      • Mctittles says:

        It’s kind of like a question of “what is poor” or “what is rich”. Poor or rich everyone has the same problems, just different entertainment options available to them.
        Thing is you have to make a conscious decision on what is acceptable for your level of income. Most soup kitchens don’t have a rule of who can wait in line for a free meal in the winter, but having a CEO stand in line for free soup would seem a little….rude.

        • malkav11 says:

          Kickstarter isn’t a charity, though. It’s a way to fund projects. It has different benefits and problems than other funding streams, that’s all. Is it accessible to some people and projects that have no hope of securing other types of funding? Sure. Is it limited to those uses? Not at all.

    • SurprisedMan says:

      There’s no reason that Kickstarter should be viewed as a last resort, rather than just one of several options. There are lots of advantages to using Kickstarter, but disadvantages too. It’s right for some projects and not so good for others, but it’s up to the developer whether they want to try it.

    • Dark Nexus says:

      Kickstarter is just another method of funding.

      It is not just a last resort for people who’ve tried (and failed) every other possibility of funding.

      • The Random One says:

        While true, if you have failed to acquire funds through Kickstarter, I find it highly unlikely any other sources of funding will remain open to you afterwards.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      Did you also criticize Planetary Annihilation, Elite: Dangerous, DoubleFine Adventure, and perhaps most of all Project Eternity? They’re all established devs (more so than 22cans, even) who’ve dealt with publishers for some/all of their games.

  22. StickyNavels says:

    Peter’s the saddest wizard. Still love him for being a dreamer, though. Not backing the project, but I wish him luck.

  23. iucounu says:

    Damn you, Molyneux! Every time I think I have committed to thinking you’re kind of a dick, you go and say or do something that makes me warm to you. I can’t help empathising with him.

  24. MuscleHorse says:

    It sounds like the rebirth of Bullfrog. I’m very excited.

  25. Feferuco says:

    It’s just a cube in a corner of a white room. I don’t know what we did that made two million people download it, and download it in such a short time.

    Tears were shed, laughter was… laughed? I dunno, funny quote though.

  26. Suits says:

    These straight-to-the-point interviews are refreshing

    • Bostec says:

      That brought a tear to my eye, good old Rab. No truer words have been written.

    • Palehorse says:

      I love Cardboard Children as much as the next guy, but he’s way off in this one.

      At the start he complains that Molyneux could have gotten publisher funding fairly easily with his connections. So what? That funding comes with all the trappings of that model, there’s nothing saying he has to go that route.

      He then calls Molyneux a capitalist animal? The guy who just spent his savings to open a new studio? To ‘experiment’? Capitalist animals make money, they don’t spend it on passion projects.

      He then pleas for an ‘investment’ model instead of a backer model. I’m not sure which KS projects he’s been watching, but the vast majority of backers choose the basic tier, the one THAT GETS YOU A GAME. That’s the return. If some feel the need to back for a larger amount to gain extra perks that’s up to them. But you can’t say that I’m being exploited when I paid $20 for a game. Sure I’m gambling on its quality, sure I can be disappointed, but that’s my choice.

      I’m not sure where the rant comes from on companies using KS to make old style games again. Clearly they are desired, whether through nostalgia or a lack of that type of experience in current games. But again, their choice. I don’t feel like I’m obliged to pledge to a game purely because it lands in a genre I love.

      The final bit about not doing KS if you can do it on your, even if it’s a struggle…Rab said it himself: Peter could have gotten publisher funding if he wanted for this game. How is that doing it on his own? Signing on the dotted line to marry yourself to a publisher who will ride your back the entire way is not ‘doing it on your own’. I’m not sure, maybe Rab thinks that Peter could have funded the entire thing on his own dime, but based on the first part of the article that’s not evident.

      This article is a fail. It is a ragefest. It is blind flailing with his typed words and I expect better of the man.

      • jatan says:

        “He then pleas for an ‘investment’ model instead of a backer model”

        i do not think so – i think he is suggesting there is already and establish investor model and it expects a money return for its money… kick starter is not that (for legal reasons in part).. i think he is bemoaning the fact the powers that be are already filling their boots & not leaving much room for the people/projects kick starter is ‘supposedly’ for…- the rage is part of the routine..the points raise are more about greed and perverting intentions than the specific points you mention

        • Palehorse says:

          The greed part of it is most mystifying. If KS was being used to line the pockets of developers by purposely overstating the amount of money needed to get their game made, then that is greedy. (and fraudulent) If he’s referring to the large amounts of money being asked for, and supposedly being taken from other KS projects, then he doesn’t get that across at all. If he’s referring to developers seeing a way to get paid while not yet having a product to sell, well that’s just smart business. If he’s referring to getting the public to pay for development of a product that will then be sold at a profit, leaving the backers holding their one game and nothing else, also smart business. (Hint: Every KS project does this.)

          I suppose the gist of the article, boiled down, is that KS is meant to be a reformist platform for indie developers to get cool ideas into the market with a little help from John Q Public. Not a platform for established devs to shovel old, tired genres on to gullible gamers who are jonesing for a hit of their nostalgic past.

          First, his blog doesn’t illustrate that well enough. Second, if I’m right then that’s his interpretation of the KS model and doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. I am more than pleased to see devs of all shapes and sizes being given an alternative to traditional publishing and all the chains that come with it.

          • KikiJiki says:

            Star Citizen embodies this for me quite nicely.

            The game had private investors lined up, who required $Xmillion for their funding to be given.

            People pledged $Xmillion.

            Those people have single handedly made the ROI that much more attractive to the investors, and they will in all likelyhood get a better ROI from the project because the budget is that much higher due to the free, no lasting obligations money the KS/direct pledgers have given.

            Frankly I’m ashamed that PC gamers could be hoodwinked so thoroughly. There really is no difference between KS money and publisher money other than Kickstarter holds you to no real expectation of a return on your pledge. It’s the worst of all worlds for pledgers of projects like Star Citizen and GODUS imo because all you’re doing is making the returns sweeter for the private investment that Kickstarter seemed to be intended to avoid.

      • Emeraude says:

        I don’t know, I personally think he somewhat missed the mark with that post, but the missed issues still can be hollowed out from it. For sure, in spite of all its promises, there is a problem with the way Kickstarter is developing.

        • Premium User Badge

          cpt_freakout says:

          While it is probable that the way KS works will become Games Industry 2.0, it doesn’t eliminate the fact that there are indie projects being funded anyway, and the fact that those same indie projects have always been overshadowed by ex-industry big names. I think that was foreseeable even from the start – Double Fine was always supported by a bit of nostalgia deeply intertwined with the prestige of its devs as much as its ‘indie cred’. To say “we are being exploited” is just hyperbolic and stupid: everyone knows what they’re getting into when all these games are announced. After all, I don’t really think anyone who is in KS primarily because of videogames doesn’t know the history of their hobby or isn’t familiar with the big names; we’re all in there because we’re gamers already, and we know exactly what we want… to say we are being exploited is also presupposing that people are so idiotic that whenever they see something cool put against (in market terms) something much more mainstream they’ll choose mainstream regardless of absolutely anything they like, think, or feel. It’s patronizing and condescending, to say the least, as is the rest of the article’s bad rhetoric.

          • Emeraude says:

            I don’t know why you’re addressing this post to me though… I did say I think he missed it with that one.

            Trouble is, I’ve been struggling with how to properly define the issues I see with the way Kickstarter has been growing for quite some time and am yet unable to do it satisfyingly. Or I would have, instead of being that vague.

  27. Pendragon says:

    Just give me Dungeon Keeper 3.

  28. Radiant says:

    Also “That statement was followed by a long silence. And then Molyneux cried.”

    Is going to live forever.

    • MrLebanon says:

      “And then Molyneux cried” is going to be the new cool thing to say in RPS comments

  29. Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

    I know the guy has a history of over-promising and under-delivering but I am so glad that he is around. We need more visionaries like this. The guy is clearly passionate and uncynical and it comes through with everything he does.

    I personally hope he doesn’t go away and that he keeps coming up with amazingly over-ambitions concepts and trying to deliver on them. Even when he doesn’t meet his loft targets he still creates great, unique experiences.

    If you’re reading this Peter – Don’t ever lose that inner mad scientist.

  30. adonf says:

    No, Peter, it doesn’t sound crazy at all. It sounds opportunistic.

  31. DickSocrates says:

    Molyneux and I are so alike; neither of us can understand why anyone downloaded Curiosity.

    If he wants to stop over promising, perhaps he should stop talking so much about things that aren’t out or haven’t happened. People play their cards close to their chest for a reason, so you don’t end up looking like a twadge.

  32. pakoito says:

    Designing for mobile+pc is the no-no for me. It will dillute user experience, you can’t pinch or make gestures on PC, neither be as precise on phone,

    • Pindie says:

      I do not think it’s the case.
      You have two hands and you can use modifier keys with mouse strokes.
      I use Alt, Shift and Ctrl all the time to navigate in 3D space or use brushes, you get used to it pretty fast and while tablet would still feel more natural you only notice that if you stop and think.

      I think it’s gonna be the same here.

      Plus I actually prefer Alt+ mouse sweep to touchpad tearing. Touch controls are fidgety.

      Anyway, seeing their concept art (minimalistic but pretty objects made of small number of polygons) I think they know what they are talking about.

  33. Dark Nexus says:

    I’ll give him credit for his enthusiasm, but I won’t give him money for his promises. I’ll buy GODUS afterwards if he delivers on enough of those promises, though.

  34. wodin says:

    Hmmm..he doesn’t believe in watering down a game ..yet it’s OK to have a game on a PC with all that power also being played on a mobile device..so obviously the game has been watered down to fit the mobile device. It’s OK to waterdown a game on the PC then?

    You should have pushed him on this..as it’s a bugbear of PC gamers. He totally chnaged how you phrased the question by banging on about how powerful mobiles are cos their mobile and they can do great graphics etc..but whatever way you look at it if a game can be played on a PC and a mobile devcie then the PC isn’t being used to it’s full potential.

    Also I wish to god he stopped this fixation on multiplayer..I’m sick of hearing that word.

  35. Tilaton says:

    Mobile devices… Touch screen… These are the two deal breakers for me. I wish he’d gone for full PC thing without any screen prodding nonsense. It is a bloody gimmick when it comes to gaming.

  36. bhlaab says:

    Never broke down into tears and pulled the wounded artist routine back when he had the bureaucracy of Microsoft to absorb the blows.

    Now he’s asking fans for three quarters of a million dollars and all of a sudden he’s prostrating himself and even threatening to soooo, like, die and stuff

    • Gpig says:

      Wow, way to be insensitive. He’s suffering from Entitilitus and Imminent Death Syndrome. Has been for most of his life. Just let him kickstart one game with three quarters of a million dollars. It could be his last game for god’s sake.

  37. Hunchback says:

    A lot of hate seems to be thrown around.
    I can’t know to what extent the guy is “for real”, and how much of it is act. But even if it’s only partly true, i respect the guy for being a dreamer.

    I too still believe so much (in good things), but every-day life makes dreaming ever the harder, every day that passes. I find it hard to dream nowadays.

    Gotta respect a dreamer, even if crazy, dream-projects are bound to fail by design.

    • thecat17 says:

      Well, that’s just dreaming too small, I’d say!

      Still, failure can be important. There’s much to learn, as much of a bitter pill it can be to swallow.
      I agree with you forever: dreamers are important and become more so with each passing day.

  38. Lemming says:

    1. I like the paper-craft look in the concept art. It’s quite cool.

    2. Please stop talking about B&W in the same sentence as Populous and Dungeon Keeper because it’s not fit to wipe the muck from their shoes.

  39. ScubaMonster says:

    Curiosity was an awful idea from the get-go.

  40. Buemba says:

    ” I tried not to over-promise. I only ever said it’s a big cube and you tap on it. I never said anything else about it, like the diamond chisel, which is of course there.”

    Well, he also said there’s a life changing secret at the center of the cube. Whether or not that was an over-promise or not remains to be seen as nobody reached it yet, but that’s not a good way to manage expectations either way.

    Still, I like Molyneux and always enjoy seeing him promise us El Dorado with every new project. He’s gaming’s P.T. Barnum.

  41. kshade says:

    I looked at the Kickstarter page and it mentioned the game being for “PC” and “mobile”. What does that even mean? Any PC and phone? Come on, you’re supposed to be in the industry. Or something. Just say “Windows” if you mean Windows.

    Also this is not exactly a “crazy” project for his studio. In fact it might be the safest project to do for him. Remaking one of the beloved, old, good Bullfrog games is far safer than something completely new or trying to salvage Black & White. Why does he think Black & White was good anyways?

    It’s just a cube in a corner of a white room. I don’t know what we did that made two million people download it, and download it in such a short time.

    You overhyped it, like you always do. Case in point:

    I’m proud of Curiosity. I’m amazed at what the world’s done with Curiosity. I tried not to over-promise. I only ever said it’s a big cube and you tap on it.

    And if you tap away the last cube something incredible, life changing would happen.

  42. DrZhark says:

    Just reading your first paragraph, makes me wonder if Mr. Molineaux doesn’t have Bipolar disorder. He is usually hypomaniac as his public appearances seem to suggest. The episode you describe is medically described as ‘emotional lability’ and I’m wondering if he is now going through a depression phase. Many people with a mild case of Bipolar disorder where hypomania is the main symptom, do function really well, and may not even know that they have the condition.

    That would explain why time after time he is so overly excited about his games and promises and doesn’t deliver. However the populous games, the dungeon keepers, magic carpet, all the early bullfrog stuff was amazing. Black and white didn’t really deliver…. I really hope he can make this godus game work, but I’m kind of afraid about his idea that he is not going to be alive for too long…. is he having passive suicidal thoughts?? He may need help.

    • pyrrhocorax says:

      Generally I find armchair psychiatry rude but he really is asking for it with the constant “Does this sound crazy? No? How about that? TELL ME I SOUND CRAZY”.

    • Snakejuice says:

      I find it appalling that people need to call the slightest deviation from the most common state of conciousness a “condition” and give it a name like it’s some sort of disease. He just seems human to me.

  43. Guvornator says:

    Hmmm, the crying seems a little Glenn Beck-ian (possibly due to me having just watched the trailer for The Master). Still I hope he’s ok. I’m a big fan of his and it would be shame if he doesn’t bounce back.

  44. Calabi says:

    I think he should just chill out, stop worrying about what other people think and make the best damn game he wants to play.

  45. Flipao says:

    Reminds me of Dewey Cox trying to compose his masterpiece, I’d rather he spent his time supporting young developers instead of trying to revisit his glory days.

    As far as The Box goes, I’m guessing he got the idea after watching a JJ Abrams TED talk.

  46. DrGonzo says:

    ” I think if you try and dilute or downgrade that experience to support the very low-end devices, you do end up with something you may not be as proud about. ”

    What a hilarious answer to that question. Doesn’t address a thing, then acknowledges the concern, but completely misunderstands it.

    Translated, a top end phone IS a low-end device, and it will dilute and downgrade our experience as pc users.

    • Pindie says:

      If you take a look at the concepts posted on KS i becomes obvious their game is not graphics-intensive.
      PC will probably have some added graphic options like SSAO, dynamic shadows and what not but it should run on mobiles on base settings as it’s not polygon or texture heavy.
      Its aesthetics are not based around high budget graphics.

  47. sicbanana says:

    I still firmly belive The Yogscast broke Curiosity when it came out… *cough*
    :)

  48. limimi says:

    I don’t mean to sound like a capitalist pig here in this strange fae ‘Ideas are magic’ landscape I have wandered into (judging by many, but not all, of the comments), but dreams can not butter my bread. I don’t understand how you guys are not only not incredibly sick to death of Molyneux’s continual inability to deliver, but somehow in favour of it?

    What the ever-living heck am I supposed to do with the dream version of Black & White? I sure as hell can’t play it, I am stuck with the piece of trash he actually made. Then he breaks down and says something like “I tried not to over-promise. I only ever said it’s a big cube and you tap on it. I never said anything else about it, like the diamond chisel, which is of course there.” And instead of being outraged by the sheer audacity of such a statement, you are patting him on the back and signing up for his Kickstarter?

    Fuck you Peter Molyneux. And the horse I can have babies with and then watch the babies grow up and grow old and then possess like a ghost and ride over rainbows to life-changing secrets you rode in on.

    • Emeraude says:

      Is it so hard to imagine that we can love the man, not in spite of his failings but because of them, yet still not trust the designer to deliver ?

      • limimi says:

        No, that’s a sentiment I can get behind – it’s the people who are saying ‘Oh, Peter never lives up to any of his promises – and that’s why I love him! Where’s my wallet?’

    • thecat17 says:

      It’s not Peter’s fault that his dreams don’t butter your bread.

      Or that dreams themselves don’t.
      That’s your problem, really. Isn’t it?

  49. thecat17 says:

    Hi Warren!

    Here is the 1st RPS WEF thread.
    Get on this cyberlawn and let’s reflect on the good ol’ days.

    I believe that was the first place Sir Ellis announced his first writing work on a certain video game.
    Bonus points, achievements unlocked, and likes favorites subscribes to you if you name the vidya!