Peter Molyneux’s Tears: “I Still Believe So Much”

By John Walker on November 22nd, 2012 at 12:44 pm.

In an extraordinary interview to be published shortly, a clearly emotional Peter Molyneux broke down into tears when discussing the struggles he’s had with Curiosity, and his concerns about making promises for Kickstarter GODUS.

“I can’t blame people for not believing,” Molyneux responded, when it was suggested that his history of over-promising and under-delivering might hurt prospects for GODUS. Especially in light of the very negative reaction to Curiosity’s server failures – something the creator tells us was “a disaster”.

“I know I’ve said things,” Molyneux continued. “I wish I could not say them, I guess. I just… I still believe so much.”

The developer, unquestionably exhausted after a very difficult two weeks with Curiosity, was clearly in an introspective and moving mood when we spoke to him.

“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.”

He also discusses the potential for GODUS, his reasons for wanting to “reinvent the god game”, plans for Curiosity, and remarkably, his belief that he will die soon. “I’m one of those human beings who’s surprised he’s still alive every time he wakes up in the morning,” he told Nathan. “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.”

Much more in a few minutes.

Image nicked from Brad Cook.

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83 Comments »

  1. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    I still believe in real time tree growth.

    • haowan says:

      If you believe in real-time tree growth you can buy Eufloria! It’s part of the Humble Bundle and you have ten hours left to get it!

      I am going to make a new game set in the Eufloria universe with better trees, its focus is going to be trees and tree growth. I hope to get some decent procedural tree growth going in the new game. (Molyneux version: I will make a game that lets you literally grow your own digital life form. Your tree will live its life in your computer. You’ll wan to take care of it, water it. You’ll even be able to sing to it, and we’re looking at ways for you to physically interact with it – just imagine being able to actually touch a real digital plant! Each tree will be completely unique, with a full DNA sequence, and when it dies, just like in real life, it will be gone forever.)

      • Kashi says:

        Just stop using bonemeal for your trees!

        • haowan says:

          Maybe I should use blaze powder instead!

          • hazelprice6 says:

            just before I saw the bank draft of $4208, I didnt believe that my friend was actualy bringing in money part time on there computar.. there great aunt has done this 4 less than twelve months and as of now cleard the mortgage on their house and bought themselves a Lexus LS400. I went here,... http://youtube.qr.net/jNM0/watch?v=X22QHxrwp_E

      • Khatzen says:

        Did you make Eufloria?

        If so, I loved this game!

      • The_Great_Skratsby says:

        I actually have Eufloria, it’s a damn wonderful game and I love the aesthetic. Guess this counts as super-wold-first-exclusive Eufloria 2: Grow Harder details mmm!?

      • Llewyn says:

        I want the Molyneux edition!

        But more seriously, that’s excellent news, Eufloria was a lovely thing indeed.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Minecraft has it. Okay, it’s only one stage instant growth, but it’s procedural and you have to actually wait (minTime + dieRoll()) for the saplings to grow. But Fable was never going to be a Minecraft, so that’s why they were cut from Fable.

      • randomkeyhits says:

        If you want real time tree growth, try Wurm Online, the game Notch worked on before Minecraft (its hard to believe there was a before….). Thousands and thousands of the buggers, different types too!.

      • RobinHood says:

        That’s a huge stretch to say Minecraft has “real time tree growth”. It barely has it even at the lowest and broadest definition of the concept.

  2. pakoito says:

    Pre-interview? Ok, I’m warmed up but I’m not a believer. Convince me through action, not words, mr. Molyneux.

  3. talon03 says:

    “I’m just a misunderstood rich man abloobloobloobloobloo…”

    Seriously, a kickstarter for a new game? They do not need that.

    • Jamie Dewhirst says:

      Don’t back it then! Seriously, the amount of people complaining about this and other projects that “don’t deserve” funding is mind boggling. Vote with your wallet. If it still gets backed, then yay for the people who wanted the project to be completed. You’ve lost nothing!

  4. Flukie says:

    #IBelieveInMolyneux

  5. skinlo says:

    Despite years of over promising, I still like Peter Molyneux. Sometimes the world needs a dreamer.

    • Ich Will says:

      I couldn’t agree more! At least he’s genuinely passionate about every game he makes!

    • Tiax says:

      Same feeling here, I feel like he’s simply over-enthusiastic but not a bad guy.

    • Lobotomist says:

      When have we became so evil ?

      Seriously….Bio-docs left game design for ever. Two guys that felt more passionate about game design than about years of hard study of medicine. In times when game design was not about money.

      And Molyneux…Bullfrog ? The guy whose antics inspired countless game jams.

      Stop with negativity.
      I for one think the game sounds great. And will be happy to give few bucks for it.

    • Khatzen says:

      I agree with this. His symptoms do come across like that of someone with Bi-Polar disorder.

    • EddieV says:

      Agree. Despite its eccentric behaviour sometimes, Molyneux is a pioneer. Always loved his games and his passion and Dungeon Keeper is still one of my all-time favorites.
      So many hours spent torturing the mistress in the jail and watching with glee while an army of bile demons farted some warlocks into oblivion…

    • The_Great_Skratsby says:

      Completely agree. I can understand why people people have been disappointed by his excitement meets hyping, but we need more people like Peter, with that brand of zest and creative vision.

    • Tuco says:

      But he isn’t a dreamer, he’s a compulsive, mythomaniac liar.
      He doesn’t “fail to match his visions”, he straightly promises the moon and then deliver a gran of sand.
      Take Fable: he promised the most impressive and advanced simulation of an alive world gaming had ever seen.
      He didn’t “fall short” on that, he just didn’t even try. Fable isn’t just far less ambitious than his “vision” it’s downright inferior to *dozens* of other RPGs already on the market.

    • Sinlessmoon says:

      I agree, I really like Molyneux and all of his creativity and Ideas.

  6. Ian says:

    I tend to assume that the opposite of what he says is going to be true but I don’t dislike him. I believe his heart’s in the right place and his open enthusiasm over new projects (his or otherwise) is refreshing.

  7. Matt7895 says:

    I like Peter Molyneux as a person, but not as a developer. I decided to believe him when he said Fable 2 would be amazing. And I remember him really bigging up Fable 3 too. When I got around to playing that, I struggled to think of a more worse attempt at making an RPG. I can’t in good conscience, knowing his history, give him money for another game. I think he’s better off finding something else to do.

    • haowan says:

      Do you remember when he said that his Creatures in Black & White were having independent ideas? Like sitting down to watch the sunset even though they hadn’t been programmed to, and things like that? It’s one thing to imagine that; it’s quite another to go on the record and tell people that is what is going on.

      • lordcooper says:

        This is why I can’t wait for Grandroids. It actually works this way :)

      • pyrrhocorax says:

        …he sounds like he might have Actual Brain Problems. Now I feel kind of bad for thinking he’s just a flake.

  8. nootpingu86 says:

    He’s little more than a grifter at this point. He’s been quite complicit in the eradication of the standards of communication between devs and their audience. That’s unforgivable. It would be convenient to kick him even more while he’s down, but the first step is to just not give him any more money. Shame on whoever indulged his Kickstarter panhandling.

    • Surlywombat says:

      “He’s been quite complicit in the eradication of the standards of communication between devs and their audience.”

      Eh? What?

      Before him, the “standard of communication between devs and their audience” was “press releases created by the marketing department”.

      He has been crucial in the increasing communication between devs and their audience. He was one of, if not the first developers to actually want to talk to his audience. The reason so many people get up set with him is because he sometimes talks too much and too early, but I prefer that to never, which is what we had.

      • nootpingu86 says:

        Fine, then he set the bar quite low in doing so and the standards have never really improved since.

  9. jkz says:

    Still waiting for curiosity to be “life changing”.

  10. Loque says:

    So they jumped on the Kickstarter bandwagon too. It’s like a “must do” thing of 2012, isn’t it?

    • Prime says:

      I suspect Kickstarter is going to prove bigger than a mere fad…it has Industry Changing potential. It could even be the birth of a new paradigm, if you also consider that it extends well beyond just games. Pay for what you want to see made rather than being forced to choose from what others hope/decide you’ll want? Several thousand years of retailing orthodoxy turned completely on its head? Yes, please.

      • nootpingu86 says:

        Exactly 100% of my problems with Kickstarter would go away if donators could share in some of the revenue and that there were legal ramifications for not delivering the product at all. Delays are fine, but ideally it becoming a vehicle for the would-be Molyneuxs (and unscrupulous folks) of the world would have some consequences.

        Note that it was originally intended for things that had a working prototype, not misguided corporate charity or “patronage”.

  11. PsychoWedge says:

    I always thought Molyneux is a bit like Tarantino when it comes to expressing his passion and love for games through words (movies in Tarantinos case). You listen to him and you can feel his exitement, his inner drive. And you think to yourself ‘well, games really are fucking great! thank god I’m a gamer. My life would be shit if my own passions would burn for knitting kitty sweaters or collecting newspapers…’

    I can appreciate him for that. The shortcomings of his games never bothered me that much. Probably because they never really were completely in prefered genres. Well, Fable was but when it went xbox I lost all interest till it was ported and by then everybody knew it wasn’t what he promised.

  12. Hoaxfish says:

    Maybe he can kick it forward to Maia… Godus has basically beaten Maia’s current funding within 24hrs (coincidentally, it’d be enough to fund Maia if they combined funding).

    Is Curiosity still suffering server issues?

    Either way, I’d rather Molyneux not die. I can’t imagine that whatever Microsoft was feeding him is good for his mental diet.

  13. Deano2099 says:

    Trailing an interview? Weren’t you guys taking the piss out of this sort of hit-trolling just last week?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      yea, bit confusing as to what’s going on here

      • Unaco says:

        While the Hivemind’s initial impulse was to simply post the interview when it came out so people could just read it, they searched their souls and realised they would be betraying both their readership and their own journalistic integrity if they did not publicly announce exactly when the gaming public will be able to read an interview for an upcoming Kickstarter campaign they already know about.

        • tobecooper says:

          I think this post has a hidden meaning. Read between the words. Search for the message. Yes, yes, there it is – “I’m in possession of Molyneux’s Tears. This artifact will make my writing more powerful than ever. Fear me, internet!!”
          Or something like that.

    • Prime says:

      Logical explantion could be that they didn’t intend the interview to go out so soon after the initial post about it. I kinda appreciate being given a heads-up; means I can remember to keep an eye out or place a mental bookmark to come back later today if I’m unable to sit and stare at the browser page for the next four hours. But yeah this is TOTALLY the question to ask RPS after a full and frank interview with a developer from the classic era who just cried in front of a journalist. Go, you.

    • Earl Grey says:

      I think John just wants to definitively prove that he’s not the only grown man that cries over video games :)

    • Uthred says:

      But its RPS and Peter Molyneux so its ok because…

  14. LionsPhil says:

    I swore that when we started 22 Cans that we wouldn’t over-promise

    This, itself, was an over-promise.

  15. almostDead says:

    I might be way off base here, without further details, but it appears RPS have gotten ahold of the internet journalist’s jackpot in terms of page-hit crack. A prominent man in an unusually open state of mind.

    Mr. Molyneux sounds utterly exhausted and perhaps much more. I hope your gain is not his loss. Anyway, thoughts over.

  16. mondomau says:

    I’ve never had a problem with Molyneaux’s wild promises and enthusiasm because he usually delivers a game that is still bloody good, despite not living up to his own hype.
    The one let-down I can’t forgive him for is Fable 3 – taking my favourite RPG series of all time and turning it into (literal) hand-holding, one-button, sims type snorefest.
    Why Peter, why? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

    Also –
    “Trailing an interview? Weren’t you guys taking the piss out of this sort of hit-trolling just last week?”

    Quite right…

  17. jhng says:

    “I know I’ve said things,” Molyneux continued. “I wish I could not say them, I guess. I just… I still believe so much.”

    The Nick Clegg school of game PR — I almost laughed out loud.

    (Although I should also say that I have huge respect for his commitment to blind leaps of faith in game design — top of my to do list at the moment is checking out his early Populous and Theme games on my trusty commuter netbook.)

  18. karthink says:

    Somehow people don’t seem to get how emotionally invested Molyneux becomes in his games. I haven’t even played any of his games (except Syndicate) and I admire his passion. Hats off to you, sir.

    I wish I could be half as passionate about something in my life.

  19. Citrus says:

    :(

    I love BnW (2 was good but dumbed down cause of press reviews bitching about difficulty) and Fable 1. Still remember reading about BnW preview in CGW as a kid and getting my first boner watching pics of giant tiger and cow fighting over a village. I had already played games like Syndicate Wars and Populous without knowing who was behind them.

    Even when he doesn’t fulfill his promises at least his games are unique and different (thought Fable 2 and 3 shouldn’t have happened).

    COD makes billions everywhere while developers like Peter are forced to goto Kickstarter.

    Now I am a sad penguin..

  20. Beernut says:

    I have to say, that I liked the idea of Curiosity quite a bit. Not so much as a game, that one could play for hours, but it’s fun for a few minutes every now and again. I guess it’s the appeal of accomplishing something tremendous with thousands of people, which would take one person alone forever. Though I’ll admit, that the charm of cleaning up a cube from millions of cubelets probably requires the players to have some kind of obsessive need for order. :)

  21. Deadly Habit says:

    Argh why is his Kickstarter getting coverage and Thorvalla going ignored on here when it’s being headed by a couple guys who made some of the finest cRPGs ever!

  22. sinister agent says:

    I’ve never had a strong opinion on Molyneux, but I have to say that I’m really sorry to hear that these things have got to him so much. That’s genuinely sad. I hope he feels better soon.

  23. Halbarad says:

    I love Peter for the exact same reason he apologises so much. The man has passion in gaming, unlike the figures driven ingrates over at the main studios this guy actually cares. He isn’t afraid to show his enthusiasm, he doesn’t need to outright say “I AM ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THIS GAME AND YOU SHOULD BE TOO”, he actually puts this across like a real human would.

    If I were a billionaire Peter Molyneux would be my first port of call as a designer. The man may fall flat but I blame that on Microsoft for the last two Fable games and the fact he didn’t have massive moneys when it comes to curiosity.

  24. Jakkar says:

    … What a wreck. At least it’s an improvement upon him being an offensive, arrogant, aloof git. Continue with your emotional crisis, Molyneux, and darken not the gaming world with your empty promises again.

  25. freduardo says:

    I feel like Molyneux just shows us that we don’t need visionaries trying to make ‘great’ games. We need people who can be happy with FUN games to helm these projects.

  26. Jimbo says:

    It is frustrating to see him wasting his time and talent on rubbish quite so frequently (~20 Fable games, that Pandora’s Cow Clicker thing etc.), but he’s already done more than enough to earn an inexhaustible supply of goodwill (and a pledge) from me.

    Bullfrog were basically the developer of my childhood. It’s hard to stay mad.

  27. alilsneaky says:

    This pathological liar needs to stop drinking his own Kool aid before he hangs himself over it.
    He hasn’t been part of a good game in almost 20 years now.

  28. Dirk Beefhammer says:

    he’s such a drama queen

  29. TheMrSolaris says:

    Shame it wasn’t a video interview. I would have enjoyed watching it, with a big bowl of popcorn. No salt would be needed with the amount of tears that flowed down Mr. Molyneux’s cheeks.

  30. Syra says:

    Is he just playing to the crowd or is he displaying traits which are remarkably bipolar?

  31. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    Why is he getting so much hate? I don’t understand it. Sure he promises the world, but he is at least trying, spewing forth ideas and creativity, even if he doesn’t quite deliver 100%.

    I rather throw my money at him than the Dice/EA combination; Yes I’m still upset about BF3 on the PC, and no it is a great game, but launching from a web browser just makes it feel clunky, unfinished, and unprofessional for an AAA title.

    But seriously, give the guy a break, he is a people. If you don’t like his products, don’t buy them.

    • Fathom says:

      RPS readers have no sense of joy or happiness left in them, only resentment and self loathing.

    • nootpingu86 says:

      No one likes a liar, especially not one that cynically or no, tells them in order to hype a mediocre product.

      I don’t like his games, so I don’t buy them. But that doesn’t make lying something to ignore.

      Shills like you, however, ensure Molyneux can continue lying unabated.

  32. paranoidandroid42 says:

    The problem with Molyneux is that he’s basically that stoner friend of yours who can just talk for hours and hours about all the elaborate cool stuff he’d put in a video game if he were designing one, except the difference is that Peter Molyneux is an actual video game designer who is trying to sell people the games he designs. I’m sure he really “believes so much”, I even feel for the guy a little, but really, if he wants to shrug off this reputation, the solution is to say believable things about the game you want to make and then actually make that game. Is it really all that hard?