Peter Molyneux Interview: “I haven’t got a reputation in this industry any more”

When Peter Molyneux agreed to speak to me, I knew the interview was going to be tense. I knew that an article we’d posted on Monday, asking what was going on with the development of Godus, had kicked up an enormous storm for 22cans and its boss, with the rest of the gaming press picking up and running with it. So I assumed, when he agreed to chat, he knew that it wasn’t going to be a smooth ride. I wanted to get to the root of so much that now seems to form the reputation of the developer, the outlandish promises that so often aren’t kept, the ridiculous time-frames claimed, and the often disappointing or lacklustre results. I especially wanted to do this now that the people funding such things aren’t deep-pocketed publishers, but the players themselves. I wasn’t expecting it to take us in the direction of Molyneux’s declaring that I was “driving him out of the games industry”.

We spoke on the phone on Wednesday evening, Molyneux speaking from the Guildford offices of his studio, 22cans. Sounding stressed, but composed, Molyneux asked how I’d like to begin, whether I had questions, or should I just let him talk. I told him I had questions, many questions, and so we began.

RPS: Do you think that you’re a pathological liar?

Peter Molyneux: That’s a very…

RPS: I know it’s a harsh question, but it seems an important question to ask because there do seem to be lots and lots of lies piling up.

Peter Molyneux: I’m not aware of a single lie, actually. I’m aware of me saying things and because of circumstances often outside of our control those things don’t come to pass, but I don’t think that’s called lying, is it? I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly lied, at all. And if you want to call me on one I’ll talk about it for sure.

RPS: During the Kickstarter for Godus you stated, regarding that you don’t want to use a publisher stating, “It’ll just be you and our unbridled dedication (no publishers).” And five months later you signed with a publisher.

Peter Molyneux: Absolutely. And at that time I wish we had raised enough money to not need a publisher.

RPS: But you got more than you asked–

Peter Molyneux: We could have gone and we were asked to by publishers to publish the Steam version, but we turned that down. The economics of doing Godus, unfortunately Kickstarter didn’t raise enough money. Now the trouble is with Kickstarter, you don’t really fully know how much money you need and I think most people who do Kickstarter would agree with me here. You have an idea, you think you need this much, but as most people will say with Kickstarter, if you ask for too much money up front because of the rules of Kickstarter, it’s very, very hard to ask for the complete development budget. I think Double Fine have gone back and asked for more money because development is a very, very, it’s a very confusing and bewildering time, and it’s very hard to predict what will happen.

RPS: Yes, but you know that. You’ve been working in the industry for over thirty years, you know how much money it costs to make a game and you put a specific amount–

Peter Molyneux: No, I don’t, I disagree John. I have no idea how much money it costs to make a game and anyone that tells you how much it’s going to cost to make a game which is completely a new experience is a fool or a genius.

RPS: But you have to have enough experience to know the basics of budgeting a videogame, you’ve been doing it for thirty years!

Peter Molyneux: No, I disagree. See this is where you’re wrong. I think even Hollywood struggles. Lots of films go over budget. I’ll give you an example, I had some repair works done to my house, they went over budget by 50%. I said exactly the same thing. Anything that involves creativity, you may think it should be a defined process, but it’s not. And the reason that it’s not a defined process is that the people who work on it aren’t robots, and you can’t predict whether someone is going to be brilliant and you give them a piece of code to do and they do it in a day, or whether they’re going to take a month to do it, and that’s the problem with creativity. Being creative is a very, very unpredictable force, and you try your best. You try your best to predict these things but very often you can be wrong. And I have been wrong. Every single project I have ever done, and people know this, every single project I have done, I have been wrong about the times. And I’ve been very honest about that. And the only time I have absolutely stuck to my dates was on Fable 3 and I shouldn’t have done that. I should have gone back and asked for more time.

RPS: I understand budgets can go–

Peter Molyneux: I’m running a business and god I wish to god that I could predict the time and I can assure you every single person has worked their ass off to try to make this game as quickly and effectively as they possibly can and everybody here is incredibly dedicated and still is. I mean, the Godus team were here at half past eight last night. We try as hard as we can to get things right the first time, to get a feature right the first time, we try to implement things that are going to be effective, but when you’re creating something new it’s almost impossible, John. Here’s the thing: this is what I truly believe. Making a computer game that’s entertaining and that’s incredible and that’s amazing is almost impossible, it’s almost impossible to do.

RPS: I recognise that things go over budget, obviously they do. What you said at the start was that you didn’t make enough money from the Kickstarter. You set an amount you want to make, you made about £100k more than that, you took over a half a million pounds of people’s money, knowing it wasn’t going to be enough to make the game.

Peter Molyneux: Well, I think if you talk to anyone, and this is the advice I have given to people about Kickstarter, is to not ask for too much. You cannot unfortunately ask for the actual amount you need. Because you don’t really know. This is how I based my assumption of what money we needed. We had started implementing Godus, we were working on a prototype that was really going well. I thought, ‘Oh, this looks pretty good.’ I asked everybody here, how long do you think we’ll need to develop the game in full. We all agreed that nine months was about the right amount of time to complete the game. We did the due diligence on it. We asked ourselves if there were any technical questions and it all seemed to make sense. This wasn’t me just plucking a date out of the air.

The reality came along when we chose our middleware, we had problems with the middleware. When we started implementing some of the features that were on paper, they just didn’t work. Now I wish that every single idea you ever had when you’re developing a game works first time, but they don’t. When we first released Godus in May, to some of the pledgers, we had taken an approach to this thing called the timeline and it just didn’t work. People were just not motivated by it. We went back to the drawing board on that. What I’m trying to say without going through every sort of, every bad story about development, when you’re creating something new, it’s like walking through a foggy forest. You’re never sure if you’re taking the wrong route or the right route.

I know you can call on me, John, ‘Oh you’ve got thirty years, surely you know what to do,’ but I would say that anybody who is creating something new and original and different, which Godus is, it’s almost impossible to ask for the right time, and in the end the amount of money that we have spent on making Godus is far, far exceeded what we got on Kickstarter. Far, far exceeded. Because you got to remember on Kickstarter, although we got £100k more than what we asked for, after Kickstarter take their cut, after paying VAT, you have to pay off after completing all the pledges, it’s far less than that. You do the maths, it’s that simple – you can do this math, we had 22 people here. If you take the average salary for someone in the industry, which must be about £30k, that’s 22 people, multiplied by £30k, divided by 12. You work out how many months Kickstarter money gives us.

We saw this coming, in around about March, end of March time. I knew by that time that the game was not going as it should have gone. I could have gone back to my pledges and asked for more money, but instead I went to a publisher and just signed up the mobile rights. Not the Steam rights, even though that would have made our life a lot easier to sign the Steam rights and we did have companies after us for the PC and the console rights. We ringfenced that and just did the mobile version and there were other reasons, but the money they gave us upfront far exceeded the money that we got off Kickstarter. And that was the business decision that you have to take, because you have to make these sacrifices both personally and professionally in the sake of making a great game.

RPS: You asked for less money on Kickstarter than you knew you were going to need because you didn’t want to ask for too much money.

Peter Molyneux: No, I didn’t say that. I asked for a sensible amount. If I was a sensible business man, then you would probably have a 100% contingency. That is the way that you run a business, is you would have contingency, and I would have to say in the Kickstarter campaign, we need one and a half million, because we want a 100% contingency in case something goes wrong. Now that is problematic if you’re a backer and anyway, if you go back to the Kickstarter time, people were already very… They’d been quite fractious that I was going on Kickstarter anyway. There was a lot of negative press about, you know ‘Why does Peter Molyneux need to go on Kickstarter?’, ‘Why is he doing it, Kickstarter isn’t for people like him.’ I think most people if you speak to about Kickstarter will say, don’t set your price too high, and make sure that every penny you ask for is justified. And asking for an additional five hundred thousand for a 100% contingency is something that’s hard to justify, especially in those times.

The problem with Kickstarter is that if you get to day thirty and you don’t make your pledged amount, which we got to like three days before our cut off, before we hit our pledged amount, then you don’t get anything. Then all that work and all that effort and all that exposure and all the hangovers that Kickstarter have, the biggest one is that takes the fire out of any excitement you can generate in the press, has been used up and you haven’t got any money. I’m not saying that in a perfect ideal world, everybody would go on Kickstarter and probably say the same as I did, as I do now. You go on and and you say, “We think it’s going to cost us nine months to develop, here’s the costs, it’s 22 people multiplied by the salary, that’s how much we need to get, but we’re going to ask for double that because we want 100% contingency.’ I think that’s the way it should be done but I don’t know anyone who does that.

RPS: OK, in 2012 Nathan asked for us, what happens if it doesn’t get funded? And you said, that you were not doing it for the money, you were doing it to get people’s feedback, it was feedback you were really after.

Peter Molyneux: That was one of the main reasons, yeah. I could have gone to January, December/January, I could have used my money I guess, I wouldn’t have had enough money, I’ve already used my money to found the company, and Kickstarter was there and it was an attractive thing to go into, not only to get you funding but it also gave you access to people who were passionate about the game and to help the game. And it was very much a thing of the moment. You only have to do the economics again John to realise that if 22cans doesn’t have a publisher, and it doesn’t have a VC, and it doesn’t share ownership by anybody else, then where’s the money going to come from? And it’s true, I didn’t need the money, because if the Kickstarter didn’t work I could have gone to a publisher. I said that in my Kickstarter campaign, and I didn’t, we didn’t until we actually needed that money, and some people would say, ‘You shouldn’t leave it so late.’ But we know that we did leave it to, not the last moment, but we left it as long as possible. When you see the writing on the wall, you see the writing on the wall.

RPS: The implication is that the PC didn’t go to a publisher and all that, but the reality is that you stopped developing the PC version and left it as broken as it is today.

Peter Molyneux: No, we have always said, right from the very start, if you go back through all the videos that Jack and I did, we said exactly this. This was our strategy. Firstly we would release a build, a very, very early build, after just six months, well five months of development, we would release an early build to the backers in May. We did that.

Secondly, we would release a build in Steam Early Access and it would be very very broken. I think we started, I can’t remember the start percentage but it was way before 50%. We absolutely did that and then we said very clearly, in every one of our videos, we’re going to spend up to Christmas iterating through that and then we’re going to go on to the mobile version and then we’re going to finish the mobile version and come back to the PC and refine it and polish it and make it the game it should be and that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re doing precisely that.

And if you look at our front page on Steam, that’s what it said. It says 53%, it doesn’t say 98%, and the reason it’s 53% because we have to, absolutely have to put a story in the game, and that story comes out on Friday to the opt-in branch on Steam.

Then we have to put absolutely amazing, incredible combat, and this is totally unique combat, and the reason this is totally unique combat is that we have to solve one fundamental problem and that is how do you mix an RTS game with a god game. Because the problem is with combat in Godus, is that you’ve got this world that you can absolutely shape, and you can use all your god powers – we’re putting god powers in – you can use all your god powers that are cataclysmic but the wars, the fighting and the battles, have to take place between these little people and that is a real design challenge.

But we are absolutely focusing, the gameplay team – the original gameplay team that was on Godus right from the start – right on Godus now, we’re focusing that gameplay team on that feature and we’ve recruited someone who’s got some really amazing ideas on how to do things like ranking, grouping, and group behaviour because that’s the trick of the problem here – how are you going to group your troops together? – and we’re going to solve that. And we think – and again, I don’t know John, and you might think, ‘for fucks sake, why don’t you know, because you’ve been in the industry for thirty years,’ but I think we’ll be done by Easter. And then we can start moving that percentage up.

But we’re still not finished because we had multiplayer in the game October of 2013. We took it so far multiplayer, but then we realised that to maintain multiplayer in the game would really slow down development simply because of the way it works, it’s all got to be in sync and all that stuff. So after we’ve done the story, after we’ve done combat, we’ll then go back to multiplayer. And then the percentage will start moving up.

RPS: But do you hear how crazy these times sound? You’re talking about things you said you would do in 2013 as if that was just the other day.

Peter Molyneux: But John, every game I’ve ever worked on has been made–

RPS: So why say it’s going to take you seven months to make it when you know it’s not?

Peter Molyneux: One thing, Godus will be one of the fastest games I’ve ever done. If you go back and look at every single game I’ve ever worked on, ever, other than Fable 3, they’ve all taken longer than with the exception perhaps of the original Populous. They’ve all taken longer.

RPS: So why go to people who trust you and trust your reputation and ask them for half a million pounds and say you’re going to finish the game in seven months, when you know you’re not going to?

Peter Molyneux: Because I absolutely believe that and my team believe that. That’s what the creative process is.

RPS: You’re asking me to accept that you know you’ve run late on every game you’ve ever made but you were going to finish this one in a ludicrous and obviously impossible seven months?

Peter Molyneux: No, I didn’t say absolutely we’d be there, I said we’d try to finish it on this time. And why are you beating me up on these dates things? You sound like a publisher.

RPS: It’s three years later! People gave you half a million pounds and you’ve taken their money–

Peter Molyneux: One is, John, you’re becoming very emotional, I think firstly you need to take a breath, because if I had walked away from Godus I’d agree with your points, but I haven’t walked away from Godus. We are committed to Godus, we are recruiting people to go on to Godus, I have never moved that percentage beyond 52% where it is now.

RPS: How long should backers wait for you to deliver the game they paid for three years ago?

Peter Molyneux: I don’t know. All I know is that there are people here that have been working on Godus, that we have worked on Godus for one hundred and twenty thousand man-hours. We have got three terabytes of documentary feature. We’ve replied to 31,000 posts and tickets. We’ve done 57 community videos. Do you know how many updates we’ve done on Steam?

RPS: I don’t think anyone who paid for the game cares.

Peter Molyneux: How many updates have we done on Steam?

RPS: I don’t think anyone who paid for the game cares. I think they want the game they paid for three years ago or their money back.

Peter Molyneux: We’re trying as hard as we possibly can.

RPS: I don’t think you are. You’ve said yourself–

Peter Molyneux: John, John, John–

RPS: You said yourself, that you should not have gone and focused on the mobile version until the PC version was finished. This is all very disingenuous in light of you saying that.

Peter Molyneux: No, I actually said, “I wish I hadn’t focused on,” I didn’t say I shouldn’t have done.

RPS: [Laughs]

Peter Molyneux: This is the plan that we laid out John. Go back and look at the videos. Go back and look at what we said to the community. Go and talk to the, I’ve done twelve design Skype talks, we’ve had the bigger backers, we’ve taken them over to E3, go talk to those people. Talk to people in the studio, this studio has worked incredibly hard on making something that is totally unique. That’s what we’re trying to do. And making something totally unique takes time. How long did it take for Minecraft to be final?

RPS: He didn’t take anyone’s money before making it with promises he didn’t keep.

Peter Molyneux: I’m afraid you’ll have to check your facts there–

RPS: He sold an alpha, he didn’t make any promises.

Peter Molyneux: Yeah, and we have absolutely, categorically stayed in Early Access for that exact reason and we have been honest about the percentage that we think the game is finished.

RPS: OK, let’s move on. How do you think Bryan Henderson’s life has been changed?

Peter Molyneux: Well, Bryan Henderson, we need Bryan Henderson, we need multiplayer to work before his life is changed. He’s still going to get what is coming to him, but we need to get through that development. It’s very much exactly the same problem

RPS: Your lead developer on Godus said on your forum that, “To be brutally candid and realistic I simply can’t see us delivering all the features promised on the Kickstarter page. Lots of the multiplayer stuff is looking seriously shaky right now, especially the persistent stuff like Hubworld.”

Peter Molyneux: Well, let me explain that. That was Konrad, and he actually is a backer of Godus.

RPS: A backer who pursued the job at your company because he was so dissatisfied with the state of the game. That’s what he said on your forum.

Peter Molyneux: No. That’s not the case. He actually joined us before we released the version, so that couldn’t have been the case. So Konrad is one of the main architects of multiplayer, and back in late October we – me and Jack – announcing that in November that we would be at last getting through to multiplayer. And Konrad was super excited, we were all super excited, to get on to that. And then in the first week of November our publisher called up and said, well, sorry about this, but the server system that you use called Polargy, we’re going to close down and you need to re-write the entirety of your server code that drives Godus under this new system–

RPS: Sorry, you’re saying that this is the publisher, but the PC version doesn’t have a publisher.

Peter Molyneux: Yes, I know, but you’re talking about everyone in the world playing Godus not being able to play Godus any more.

RPS: But you said that the PC version doesn’t have a publisher, but the publisher is the reason you had to take away the framework that allowed the multiplayer.

Peter Molyneux: Yeah, I know, but John, these things–

RPS: No, I’m asking you to explain–

Peter Molyneux: Why do you– Why don’t you come here for a couple of days, and do your job, and see what goes on here?

RPS: Obviously that’s–

Peter Molyneux: Because what you must realise is that doing a game in today’s world and a game that’s live is a nightmare.

RPS: I know it is. I’ve visited many studios and I know how difficult your job is. What I’m asking is, you said that the PC version is independent of a publisher, that you turned that down, but you’re also saying that the PC version can’t have multiplayer because of the publisher.

Peter Molyneux: But this team isn’t independent of a publisher. And the people who are playing on mobile, some of them are backers incidentally, aren’t independent of a publisher. One of the reasons why we took that publisher on is that they have this server technology which is used to drive the game, which they then drop this bombshell, that we have to change the technology. Unfortunately, this is absolutely true, you can ask the person who did the code here, unfortunately and sadly the team that was going to do multiplayer, then had to switch over and fix that server stuff. That’s just what happens in development. And I wish it didn’t happen in development, and I wish the world was so simple that you could predict that tomorrow’s going to be the same as today, but it’s not.

RPS: Just to clarify, five days ago Konrad wrote, “From the minute I played the alpha, I could see the direction Godus was heading in and I didn’t like it. It took half a year to develop contact with Peter personally before I was offered a design position, initially unpaid, and then another year working at 22cans to get a position there.” So just to be clear he says that he played the alpha and didn’t like it and then came to work for you guys.

Peter Molyneux: Yeah. And that’s fair enough. And he did something about it.

RPS: No, but you just told me that he started working for you before the alpha came out so that wasn’t possible.

Peter Molyneux: I think he had had a temporary– He certainly came to the studio– Let me ask. [shouting in background] Konrad!

[in distance] Konrad: Yeah?

Peter Molyneux: When did you first come to 22cans?

Konrad: [inaudible]

Peter Molyneux: December. 2013. Is that– No, that’s not before the alpha.

RPS: No, long after.

Peter Molyneux: I was wrong. But it’s not a lie.

RPS: No, but it’s frustrating. Let’s go back to Bryan Henderson. The Eurogamer story revealed that you ignored him for nearly two years – that’s awful. And you’ve apologised, but how can that even have ever been a thing that happened?

Peter Molyneux: You’re right, John. It’s wrong. It’s one of those things where I thought someone else was handling it and they were. It was someone – and these are excuses, it’s pointless me writing these excuses – and I thought they were handling it. They left and I assumed incorrectly that they had handed their handling of Bryan off to someone else and they hadn’t.

RPS: But it never crossed your mind to talk to him or anything like that? You were changing his life.

Peter Molyneux: It’s terrible, it’s wrong, it’s bad of me, I shouldn’t have, I should have checked on these things, but there is a million things to check on, John, and that one slipped through. There wasn’t any intention not to use him, or not to incorporate him, but we needed the technology before doing and I am truly sorry and we are writing a letter of apology to him today.

RPS: OK, but only because Eurogamer chased after you.

Peter Molyneux: They, they, they actually did make me realise that I hadn’t checked up on it, it’s true. I am a very flawed human being, as you are pointing out, and I totally accept that I’m a flawed human being.

RPS: Everyone’s a flawed human being, that’s not my point at all.

Peter Molyneux: And when there are thousands of things to check on, you try to rely on your team and this slipped through the net and, you’re right, it shouldn’t have done.

RPS: In 2012–

Peter Molyneux: Why would I have ignored him? I mean, why did I do that? It’s just incompetence.

RPS: OK. In Rezzed–

Peter Molyneux: I mean, I’m sure you are going to write, ‘Peter Molyneux’s incompetent’, and I am.

RPS: No, look, this is ridiculous. Everyone is a flawed human being. My purpose here is not to hang you out. My purpose is to get to the truth of what’s going on here. In Rezzed–

Peter Molyneux: Yeah. I’m giving you– I mean, I would say, if you really want to get to the truth, come down to the studio.

RPS: At Rezzed in 2012, you said that what’s in the middle of the cube is “so valuable, so life-changingly important, I don’t want to waste the value of what’s inside that cube.” Could you have done more to waste it?

Peter Molyneux: Again you’re going down a very emotional line. But it’s born out of– when I did Curiosity and I thought of putting into the center of the cube a royalty share of the revenue for Godus, as soon as his role of God of Gods started, I thought that was a pretty good thing. And as soon as that comes to pass and as soon as we’ve got the technology to do that, I think, he will be getting that money and his reign will last six months and I think it will be an amazing feature.

RPS: OK, so you said that Bryan will be God Of Gods for six months. Just to double-check on this. When we spoke to you on 2012 you told us that it would be a significant amount of time, you estimated five or ten years.

Peter Molyneux: We what?

RPS: You said five or ten years, is what you told us.

Peter Molyneux: For what?

RPS: For being God Of Gods.

Peter Molyneux: No, I’ve always said that his reign would only last a certain amount of time but the God of Gods role, if Godus continues to be as successful as it is on mobile, could last that long. I mean there are mobile games that are being played now – and there are webgames that are being played now – that are decades old.

RPS: Let me quote, you said: “By the way, there would need to be enough time to make it meaningful for him in every sense of the word, but we could make it five years, we could make it ten years. I think I wanted before–”

Peter Molyneux: And then later on I came out and said it would be six months. And I said that again and again. What are you trying to do? You’re trying to prove that I’m a pathological liar, I suppose, aren’t you.

RPS: I’m trying to establish that you don’t tell the truth.

Peter Molyneux: Let me just ask you one question. Do you think from the line of questioning you’re giving me, that this industry would be better without me?

RPS: I think the industry would be better without your lying a lot.

Peter Molyneux: I don’t think I lie.

RPS: Let me just quote you from the Pocket Gamer–

Peter Molyneux: Well no, and and– Yeah, OK, you can carry on quoting me. Obviously I can see your headline now–

RPS: I don’t think you can see my headline now.

Peter Molyneux: Well I think I can.

RPS: What I want to get out of this–

Peter Molyneux: What you’re almost going to get out of this is driving me out of the industry.

RPS: No, what I want–

Peter Molyneux: And well done John, well done! And if that’s what you want, you’re going about it completely the right way.

RPS: If you were to be driven out of the industry it would be as a result of your own actions. I’ve done nothing but quote back things you’ve said and done.

Peter Molyneux: No [inaudible] me being hounded, which is what you’re doing.

RPS: I’m quoting back things that you–

Peter Molyneux: I must have given about fifty thousand hours of interviews and I’m sure if you go back over all of them you could– The only result of this is, I’ve already withdrawn mostly from the press, I’m just going to withdraw completely from the press.

[Since this interview was recorded, Peter Molyneux has done at least two other interviews with press on the same subject, including one with The Guardian which he says will be his last.]

RPS: I’ve done nothing in this interview but quote back things you have said and done.

Peter Molyneux: Yes, I know, and you can– I’m sure– We’re talking 50,000 hours of interview and there’s going to be mistakes. Most of these things you’ve said are mistakes, and most of these things that you have said are coming from the mouth of someone that believes. I believe everything that I’ve said. That’s what I’ve said in countless interviews. I believe. I believed that Godus would take nine months. To be honest with you, if you told me back then it would take two, three years, I probably would have said, ‘Oh god, we probably won’t do Godus then.’ I believe that. If you think that I’ve got some sort of Machiavellian plan, of trying to hide the truth from people why would I do that? Why would I do that? We are committed to, we’ve used all the Kickstarter money, we’re still committed to doing a great version on PC.

RPS: My original question was–

Peter Molyneux: Why isn’t that enough? If you think that we’re a bit shit for taking too long, then fair enough. I don’t know what you get out of this line of questioning.

RPS: My first question wasn’t, ‘Are you a Machiavellian and spiteful liar’, it was ‘Are you a pathological liar?’ It was, do you say stuff that isn’t true without meaning to?

Peter Molyneux: Like anybody that is in the business of creating something that doesn’t exist, I say things that I believe is true, that very often don’t come true and sometimes do come true.

RPS: But you agree though that you do have the reputation, the mock Twitter accounts, all these things, you have this reputation over many years of saying things that are outlandish and impossible.

Peter Molyneux: Yeah, and my answer to that nowadays is to not do any press any more. You may have noticed, or you may have not as it doesn’t really matter, that I’m doing a few little conferences but I’m not going to GDC, because I’m not doing anything. I think, you know, I think, a lot of people have turned round and have said that we don’t want to listen to your lies, even though they’re not lies. They’re coming from someone who truly believes and I truly believe that the combat in Godus will be brilliant and I truly believe that it should take around three months to do. But maybe it won’t take three months or maybe it’ll need iterating more. You cannot find anybody in this industry more passionate than me, John.

RPS: OK so–

Peter Molyneux: I literally work sixteen hours a day. I literally work sixteen hours a day. I don’t do that just to lie to people, I do it because I believe I’m doing. I totally believe in what I’m trying to make. Yeah, and you can rile the backers up and get them to ask for their money back and you can say, ‘Oh, you’ve broken your promises,’ but I’m still doing it. I’m still working on it. I’m still putting every ounce of my energy. I’m still not going to my son’s play because I had to work on Godus. I’m still getting shouted at by my wife because I’m not home. Do you know what time I got home last night? Two-thirty in the morning.

RPS: I don’t–

Peter Molyneux: Do you know what I was doing? I was dealing with the shit that all of this has come up, rather than working on Godus.

RPS: But–

Peter Molyneux: I’m someone, I’m defined by what I do in this industry and I love it so much. And, you know, it emotionally hurts me to have someone like yourself be so angry with me and really all I want to do is make a great game. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.

RPS: Do you think you can make a great game?

Peter Molyneux: I think I can try.

RPS: But do you think you can achieve it?

Peter Molyneux: You’ve gotta try, man! There’s one thing that I would love more than anything else, in my life, I’d love in a years time for that percentage on Steam to be 100%. And I’d love to talk to you John and have you say, ‘I understand why it took another year.’ And the only way I’m going to do that, I’m not going to do that by spinning people, and I know that none of this would have come to pass if I had spun the press, I could spin the press. I could have gone on and I could have explained about the delays and I could have done all sorts of interviews but I thought, ‘No, the only way I’m going to do this is to prove it.’ And I’m going to prove it by making a great game. But everything we do here, and everyone here, I can promise you, that’s why you should come here John, and you should see that–

RPS: I don’t doubt for a moment that you work very hard, it’s very obvious that you do work very hard, and I imagine your team works extremely hard, but that’s not really relevant.

Peter Molyneux: Well, I think it is absolutely relevant. Is it relevant that someone like myself, with the reputation that I have, two years ago predicted a date that was wrong, is that really relevant? What is relevant is, is there going to be a great game at the end of this?

RPS: But do you understand that most people now don’t think there is?

Peter Molyneux: The very fact that I’m talking to you. It would be so easy for me to say, ‘No comment.’ I truly care, I truly care about the backers, I truly care what everyone does. We have, we have tried. We have done 207 updates. We’ve gone way beyond what we, some of the things we said in Kickstarter. We’ve given the community tools to edit the game. We never said that in Kickstarter.

RPS: That’s great but there’s lots of things you say in Kickstarter that you haven’t done. Do you think in two and a half years–

Peter Molyneux: Yet! Yet. That we haven’t done yet. There is one Kickstarter promise that I am very worried about but all the rest are going to get done.

RPS: Which is Linux. You made it a stretch goal; that was pretty shitty of you, wasn’t it, when you know you couldn’t do it?

Peter Molyneux: No, it wasn’t shitty of us. If you look at Kickstarter campaigns a lot of people do this, and at that time, you know, Linux seemed more than possible, and we’re waiting for an update from Marmalade to do Linux and they just haven’t supplied it. At that time, it was on the cards for them to develop. They haven’t developed it. And us going back and re-writing the whole of the middleware is, would mean that the development of Godus would stop. We’ve considered it. But you know, it’s months of work.

RPS: Do you think a year and a half, to two years on, after the estimated deliveries on Kickstarter for things like, an art book and various other pledge items that don’t exist, do you think at this point people can get their money back?

Peter Molyneux: Admittedly we should have done–

RPS: So do you think people can get their money back at this point?

Peter Molyneux: The excuse and, the excuse, and it is an excuse and I’ll put my hand up to it and we are going to make it now, the excuse is that we hadn’t finished the game. So you can’t do– it wasn’t an art book, it was a making of book, and we haven’t finished the game. But you know, Jack has got three terabytes of footage and we have now got someone called Connor who is going to be working on that book. Which is, we’ll probably have that out pretty soon.

[It needs to be noted that in the prominent Kickstarter pledge levels, from £199, a “GODUS design/art book” is listed, and not a “making of book”. However, in the graphics at the bottom of the page, it is instead described as a “making of book”.]

RPS: OK but do you not think after this much time that people paid money for a product they haven’t received. Do they at this point deserve their money back – isn’t that just basic business?

Peter Molyneux: No. Because they didn’t buy a product.

RPS: The pledge rewards were certainly a product. Kickstarter’s terms and conditions are explicit that you have to provide those pledge rewards.

Peter Molyneux: But you can’t make a Making Of book till the game’s finished, can you?

RPS: Well, no, but at the same time, because you haven’t supplied the product that was paid for, should you not give people their money back?

Peter Molyneux: No, what you’re saying is what I should have done–

RPS: No, I’m asking should you give the money back, I’m asking nothing but, should they get their money back now?

Peter Molyneux: I don’t think we’re finished developing yet.

RPS: They paid for a product, they waited two years, it still hasn’t shown up. Should they get their money back?

Peter Molyneux: They didn’t pay for a product. That’s not what Kickstarter–

RPS: I’m not talking about Godus, I’m talking about the pledge rewards. For whatever reason, it doesn’t matter why they can’t be finished, they paid for it, they paid at a certain pledge level. They could have pledged ten quid and got the game, which they’ve got, but they pledged a hundred or whatever it was in order to get certain items they’ve not received. Should they not– isn’t it basic business, that they should get their money back?

Peter Molyneux: No. Because they’ve received an awful lot of pledges already.

RPS: No, the people who haven’t. The people who haven’t received their pledge rewards that they’ve paid–

Peter Molyneux: You’re talking as if they haven’t received anything, but they have.

RPS: People paid specific amounts of money to receive specific pledge rewards that they haven’t received. Do they not therefore deserve to receive their money back?

Peter Molyneux: No, they deserve an explanation as to why they haven’t got them yet. Maybe they would deserve their money back if we announced that we weren’t doing something. But we haven’t announced that.

RPS: Why did it take my writing an article about the fact these things don’t exist for you to get round to start making them?

Peter Molyneux: I’ll tell you why, John. Because we’re so fucking busy trying to make this game a great game. Everybody here, every single person here is doing something on the game, with the exception of Michelle, and even Michelle who is the office administrator is now acting as a producer to help out. And someone called Peter Murphy who is the finance director. Everyone else is programming, doing art, coding, doing concept drawings, testing, and there isn’t, there’s not, we’re not a big enough company to have someone who looks after the pledges. We did have someone like that and unfortunately they left and went and left the industry. And you know, maybe if we had more money than anybody else, we’d employ lots of support people to handle that. We’re just a small indie developer. If I was Electronic Arts then, fair enough, justified, because they’ve got the infrastructure. You know I think something like 80% of their people are support people and only 20% people are actually people who produce stuff, who make code and art.

That’s the reason why. Is that right? No. I could spend a day a week going on to boards and answering the boards and I could spend half my day doing it. Christ knows how that would work. I mean, I’ve got absolutely zero free time as it is. We won’t see me, John, going round schmoozing and taking five days to go to GDC. I don’t have a social life.

RPS: You tweeted the other day about how much you were enjoying luxuries of the Mayfair Hotel.

Peter Molyneux: Yeah, the Mayfair Hotel, which I went up there because a friend gave me a free, a free suite in the Mayfair Hotel which I didn’t pay for at all, and the reason I was up there was that I had a meeting that finished at 1 o’clock in the morning and then I had a start in the next morning that I went to Casual Connect it was, and I actually met two people – two people – which I helped out charity stuff in the morning. One at 8:30 in the morning, this guy who just got funding from the Welsh council, and one kid from Westminster college who wanted some advice. You can– I’ll tell you what, this is what we’ll do John, I’ll put you on Find A Friend, on Apple, and you can see exactly where I am every moment of my day.

RPS: OK, honestly Peter, I don’t have an Apple product and I don’t want to know where you are at any time.

Peter Molyneux: You’re questioning this, you ask anybody in this studio, I am the first to arrive in the morning and I am the last to leave–

RPS: I’m not denying that you work hard, I’m just saying that you are going to events. It’s silly to say that you’re not going to events.

Peter Molyneux: You just accused me of holidaying in the Mayfair Hotel!

RPS: No, I’m not, I’m just pointing out that you were there for Casual Connect, you do go to events.

Peter Molyneux: No, I was there for one night and one night only.

RPS: Sure, but, OK. It was just an odd point, you were saying you don’t go to events and you went to one last week. It just seemed an odd–

Peter Molyneux: Yeah, and I could have spent– I was over in Amsterdam, great place to spend some time, isn’t it? You’d think I’d take just a couple of days extra just to spend it in the coffee shops. I flew in there, I landed at 11 o’clock at night, I went and I did my talk, and I was back in the office by 6 o’clock in the evening. I am completely dedicated to what I do.

RPS: Me too. I work very hard too. We all work very hard too.

Peter Molyneux: Let’s carry on going. Let’s make me more depressed.

RPS: Do the student forums exist?

Peter Molyneux: The student forums, we set up, I went up to Teeside University, I did a talk, and then the volume of traffic on those student forums got so low because they were all going to the main forums, we stopped it. If there’s enough interest in the students forums, we’ll start it up again.

RPS: Did you provide anyone with support and advice on those forums? The pledge said that you would provide people with feedback on their games and advice for students?

Peter Molyneux: Yes, we did twelve one-hour sessions where we went through people’s games, I’ve actually got their art on the wall here, and we went through people’s games, we went through their designs. Konrad was actually one of those people. Yesterday, in fact, I went to school, a local school, and was helping kids out with their games designs, so yes.

RPS: That’s great. That’s brilliant.

Peter Molyneux: What are you doing at the moment John? You’re trying to find any crack you can to actually destroy us. That’s what this article is going to do, isn’t it?

RPS: I think I’ve found enough cracks already. I think what I’ve done there is fill in one, that’s brilliant news. I’m really glad that that existed and that you did it and that’s good.

Peter Molyneux: Well what cracks have you found?

RPS: [laughs] I think with the whole conversation.

Peter Molyneux: No, I’ve admitted that I get dates wrong, I always have got dates wrong. So that’s not much of a crack. We’ve had the student forum, and we started them and closed them down because people weren’t using them. I’m absolutely happy to start them up again. I’ve admitted my mistake on Bryan. The Making Of book we are going to do now but really it should be done at the end. So where’s your big ‘Watergate’?

RPS: I don’t think there’s a Watergate. You’ve got this bizarre agenda for me that I don’t have. If I have any agenda, if I have any goal to come out of this, it would be for you to commit to not continue this cycle of making promises that you can’t keep.

Peter Molyneux: Yeah, I’m totally committed. You, are one of the people, that will drive me out of any press interviews at all. I have done any press interviews–

RPS: Apart from the one to Eurogamer on Monday.

Peter Molyneux: [inaudible ] –about Hololens, you’re not going to have me.

RPS: You spoke to Eurogamer and Gamespot on Monday so that was a couple of interviews.

Peter Molyneux: It wasn’t Monday. It was Eurogamer and Gamespot because of the article you put forward.

RPS: That was Monday, yes.

Peter Molyneux: Was it Monday?

RPS: Yes. So there was press interviews that you recently did, you say that you don’t do them any more, you quite readily do them.

Peter Molyneux: This is not me doing press, this is me reacting to the press. I’m not going to generate any press articles. You go back and have a look. I used to phone up press and I used to invite press into the studio, we don’t do that any more.

RPS: Do you not–

Peter Molyneux: Because people like yourself have said, ‘don’t overpromise.’ OK, I won’t overpromise, because I won’t talk. When was the last time that you saw an article about a game that we’re doing?

RPS: I saw that you made an announcement about The Trail at an event in November.

Peter Molyneux: Yes, I made an announcement about The Trail and I said nothing about it.

RPS: Well, you kind of talked ambiguously about social media and–

Peter Molyneux: I didn’t give dates about it or anything. I now want to step away from the press because you know, that seems to be the only solution to the problem that you’re putting forward. You said, categorically, ‘I want you to stop overpromising. I want you to be like a PR person is’. And my answer to that is, ‘OK John, fine, I won’t talk about my development process, I won’t talk about my games.’ That’s what I’m going to do! There you go, you got what you wanted.

RPS: But do you not see that asking you– There’s a massive gap between not overpromising and taking your ball and going home. There’s a huge gap between the two, which could be talking more sensibly and calmly about these things.

Peter Molyneux: Oh, so you want me to talk calmly? You don’t want me to–

RPS: I don’t want you to hype up people so they spend money on products and are excited to get things that they don’t get.

Peter Molyneux: And that’s exactly what I haven’t done for the last twelve months.

[It’s important to note that Molyneux has done plenty of interviews promoting Godus over the last twelve months.]

RPS: OK, but you haven’t had a game to do that with.

Peter Molyneux: I’ve spoken to people about HoloLens and when people have spoken me up. I haven’t tried to sell you Godus.

RPS: I don’t blame you given the state it’s been in. But that’s the point, you haven’t had anything to sell for twelve months, of course you haven’t.

Peter Molyneux: I did exactly that if you go back and you have a look at what I did in Fable 1 and Fable 2 when the dates were moved, I then hyped all the press up, so I’m not doing that any more.

RPS: No no, and everyone–

Peter Molyneux: You’ve got what you want, haven’t you John? You just don’t want me around.

RPS: Listen, that’s a ridiculous thing to say. I’m saying that of course you haven’t done any promotional press in the last twelve months, you haven’t had anything to promote for twelve months.

Peter Molyneux: Yes I have. Of course I have!

RPS: What?

Peter Molyneux: There’ve been 207 releases on Steam.

RPS: And the reviews of those releases–

Peter Molyneux: There’s been the iOS version and the Android version. I could have hyped those. There’s been the total change around of the timeline in the game, I could have hyped those. I would have hyped those in the old days. Jesus Christ, I kept the development of Black & White going in the press for four years.

RPS: And especially with Black & White 2, people were disappointed when they spent money on the game based on the things you had promised.

Peter Molyneux: Oh my God, you really have got it in. You really don’t like the stuff that I’ve done.

RPS: No, I love some of your games. Absolutely adore some of your games.

Peter Molyneux: [skeptical] Really? And which ones were those.

RPS: Yes! Populous was wonderful, Dungeon Keeper, Syndicate, wonderful, wonderful entire industry-changing games for which I have massive respect and admiration.

Peter Molyneux: Right. They were all late.

RPS: I’m not complaining–!

Peter Molyneux: Dungeon Keeper, do you know what I had to do– Maybe this will give you an insight. Even though I was working at Electronic Arts, I paid to finish Dungeon Keeper at Electronic Arts, because they wanted to force me to finish the product a year early. I said no, take the team to my house, the whole team went to my house and we worked slavishly hard on the game and finished it. That’s, you know–

RPS: Do you not see the difference between being late for a publisher and being late for half a million pounds that gamers gave you?

Peter Molyneux: Well the publisher gives you– I could have said that the game was finished a year ago. But I didn’t. Why didn’t I? Ask yourself that. Why didn’t I just say, oh the game’s finished?

RPS: Because I think that would have been the end of your reputation if you put out a game that bad a year ago.

Peter Molyneux: I haven’t got a reputation in this industry any more.

RPS: Why do you think that is?

Peter Molyneux: I mean, I don’t think I have. Every time, at the moment the way it works is that every time I say anything it’s leapt on. You know, I said the thing about HoloLens and that all went into, ‘Oh, Peter said don’t overpromise,” and you know, I just feel that the press as it is at the moment on, that sort of press is just a place I’m no longer in. And it’s hugely sad for me, but you won’t see me at GDC, you won’t see me at E3. So you just won’t see me at those things. I just feel quite introverted these days, comparatively so very introverted.

RPS: You seem to be trying to blame the press for that rather than the press merely holding you to account–

Peter Molyneux: No, I’m not blaming the press at all, I’m not blaming the press at all. I was held to account. I didn’t announce that I was withdrawing myself, I just withdrew myself. Everybody said, ‘oh, you keep overpromising, you keep overpromising,’ and I said right, OK, fine. My answer to this– I have the sort of personality that finds it very, very difficult when faced with members of the press, and talking about my game, to be, not to get excited. I’ve tried to do that. I tried to do that at Microsoft and I had an army of PR people trying to suppress me but it’s very difficult in my personality. So my answer was a year ago, well, I’m going to stop. I’ll just quietly withdraw and that’s what I’ve done. And I just feel like doing it more, because if it means that people don’t hound me, and I have been hounded.

I mean, if you go back in time, and you look at all the press interviews, and you look at the Kickstarter campaign, there have been mistakes. And you can put that in the headline right now. But I am still dedicated and this team, especially the gameplay team, not the GUI team, and not the graphics team, is still dedicated to making Godus a great game. And it’s going to take another six months. And that is the absolute truth of the matter.

RPS: OK so we should probably–

Peter Molyneux: There have been many many times, many times in my career where I said things I shouldn’t have said about acorns and oak trees and dogs and god knows what else. But I promise you John, I only said them because at that time I truly believed them.

RPS: Do you think you wanted them to be true rather than believed they were true?

Peter Molyneux: I think a lot of times, especially a few years ago, I would say things almost as I thought things, and the team used to really get aggressive, that they would say, ‘Oh god Peter, this is the first time we know that we’re going to have this feature in the game.’ And then the other side of the equation, which is just as bad, is that I would tell the press and often show the press when they’ve only just been implemented without thought to the consequences of them making it into the final game. But this is what– Years ago, and over the years, I think I was one of the developers that showed the stuff that was being made as it was being made. Not like, a publisher, they were always into the shock and awe. Microsoft tried to get me to be like this, which is, Peter, wait until the game’s finished and then do press, but I always loved– and it was a passion and a love, sharing with the press, you know, what development was going on.

We had pretty much every journalist in the studio and looking round and meeting with us and that’s the way that that world used to work and now, that side of development has completely gone off, so now we’re developing The Trail and we’re not going to say anything, at all. Anything at all, until this game is released on Steam Early Access.

RPS: OK, can we just clarify one thing. A number of sites have reported this week that the Godus team has been hugely reduced, there’s very few people left working on it, but you’ve implied that the whole of 22cans is working on it. Where’s the truth in that?

Peter Molyneux: No, I didn’t say that.

RPS: Sorry, I misunderstood you then.

Peter Molyneux: Here’s the thing. When a developer, a programmer or an artist has been working on something for a long time, they often, especially younger people and most of the people who have left are younger people, they want to broaden their horizons. And that indeed, a few people did that. On the production side, there was Gemma, and Christine, and Matt, and they were super busy when we were releasing the Android version and the iOS version, but after we finished those the writing was on the wall and they looked around for other jobs. All of them except for Matt actually left the industry.

We have now recruited people to replace them and that’s a really brilliant thing for a studio. A studio needs to have an influx of new people, so we’ve just had an artist start from France, a brilliant artist start from France, I don’t know his name, I should know his name. We’re having Richard start on the, and he specialises in gameplay and combat and he’s starting on Monday, and we’re interviewing, we’re about to make another job offer to a producer guy, but I can’t tell you his name because he hasn’t handed in his notice yet. So this is the normal–

RPS: So how many of those people are working on Godus and how many are on The Trail roughly, do you know?

Peter Molyneux: So the people who aren’t working on Godus are the people who wouldn’t be busy on Godus most of the time. So at the moment, I’m just looking over them now. We’ve got Dave, Pavle, Konrad, Andy, Martin and Conor, and Michelle just stuck up her arms as well. [to Michelle] You’re not working on Godus.

And then Peter on the art side, and on the Trail we’ve got Sara, who’s a concept artist so there’s not much work for her to do on Godus, we’ve got Paul, who did all the sculpting stuff so there’s not much for him to do on Godus at the moment, Tony’s working on the Trail, Demetri and Tom, and then on the art side the new artist is learning Maya and we’ll have to see how he gets on. And Paul McLaughlin is working on Godus and he’s the head art. I think I’ve covered everyone that I can see.

RPS: OK, that’s great.

Peter Molyneux: Jack is working on Godus, he’s sitting next to me playing the story of Godus through at the moment.

RPS: Like I say, a lot of sites have reported that there are very few people left on Godus so it’s good that we can clarify that that’s not the case.

Peter Molyneux: I don’t think that’s very few people, is it?

RPS: No no no, I’m saying–

Peter Molyneux: John, why don’t you get, come down…

RPS: Peter, listen, listen, you’ve misunderstood. A number of sites have reported that very few people are left working on Godus. It’s good to have clarified that’s not the case.

Peter Molyneux: …Yeah. I’m passionate, I hope if you’ve got anything from this. I’m passionate about making a great game. You know, I’m doing work on Godus, well, I should be working on Godus, I should be playing through the story now but I’m talking to you. How long have we been talking?

RPS: An hour and fifteen minutes. I very much appreciate it. OK. One final thing then before we wrap up. It’s been three years for Bryan Henderson, why don’t you give him some of the money from the game?

Peter Molyneux: Well, because he needs to act as God of Gods.

RPS: Yeah, but he thought he was going to do that and…

Peter Molyneux: Because that is part of the deal. He needs to be God of Gods and we need to get the multiplayer in before God of Gods can–

RPS: Sure, but at this point don’t you think it would be a bit of a good faith thing to do since he’s been so badly screwed over?

Peter Molyneux: I think we’ll… We’ll, well, hmm. We’ll probably–

RPS: You told Pocket Gamer that you were putting money aside for him.

Peter Molyneux: –think of something to say sorry about and I’m, you know, maybe I’m, this is not the place to announce that.

RPS: No no, not at all, but you told Pocket Gamer that the revenue was being put aside for him that he would get when the multiplayer is fined.

Peter Molyneux: Yeah, but he needs to be God of Gods before that happens.

RPS: Yeah, but with one of your lead developers saying he doesn’t think that’s likely to happen–

Peter Molyneux: I’ve already explained that, John. If you ask Konrad now, he would say the complete opposite. The key thing is that we have to do this stupid, boring, shitty server stuff before doing it and now they’re literally once we’ve fixed the bugs in the story, that’s the next thing they’re working on and I hope and believe this date or not, I hope that by Easter we’re going to have that in there. And then it starts getting really interesting.

RPS: Then it’s combat, then it’s multiplayer after Easter, is what you’re saying.

Peter Molyneux: And then we need combat and then it’s multiplayer and then we’ve got the ingredients for God of Gods, because it’s combat which is used to judge the God of Gods. And stuff like that.

RPS: OK. Well, thank you very much. I appreciate that you haven’t enjoyed this at all, but I appreciate how much time you’ve given to do it.

Peter Molyneux: Yeah. I love Godus. I love what we’re doing. I love what we’re doing. I wish I was smarter and I wish, everything that came out of my mouth that came to pass, and there’s no one in this industry John that hasn’t been more committed and more passionate about the industry and I hope, I hope you personally see that. I’m sure you’re going to write the article and it’s going to be tough on us and–

RPS: Well, I’m going to quote the interview. It’s not going to be, I can’t make it any better or worse than the things that you’ve said, so that should be fine.

Peter Molyneux: OK, yeah. OK. I wonder, yeah. Well, we’ll see. I’ll get back to work. Get an Apple phone so you can Find A Friend.

RPS: [laughs]

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1,072 Comments

  1. Rolento says:

    Blimey, you pulled no punches with this one. Your opening question made me cough on my lunch!

    I think he should move into politics….

    • J Arcane says:

      The whole interview reads like a bizarre cross between Jim Hacker and Howard Beale.

      It’s a remarkable thing.

      • Gypsy23 says:

        The whole article read like the Monty Python dead parrot sketch with Molyneux repeating, “no it’s not!” to everything that was said.

        • LintMan says:

          The Monty Python “Dead Parrot” skit was exactly what I was thinking of while reading this, also.

          But wow, PM is slippery – this was a master class in deflecting criticism.

      • uriel222 says:

        I was thinking it was like a weird, videogame-based Frost/Nixon.

        • Shadow says:

          Molyneux is nowhere near an industry heavyweight at present, regardless of his past, so hardly a “Nixon”. John… well, I believe he went too far a number of times, the “pathological liar” lines being among the primary examples. At some points the interview went from brutal to borderline sadistic. Those stabs were uncalled for, given how Peter could and was often confronted in frank, more gentlemanly (Frostly, if you will) ways and still produced interesting results.

          As for Molyneux himself, clearly he’s lost whatever ability he once had. He emphasized on “believing” a lot, but as John pointed out in one of his incisions, it’d seem he wanted things to be true rather than believing them to be true. That’s the difference between believing and wishing.

          I also don’t doubt the man is working very hard, but if you jump off a building strongly believing you can fly, you won’t fly no matter how hard you flap your arms. He allowed his beliefs, once more, to disconnect him from reality. He excuses himself basically saying any game-maker struggles forth completely blindly once development starts, but if that were true, the industry would be hell, completely wracked with Godus-likes all over the market.

          Essentially, his capacity for belief far exceeds his capacity to actually make those beliefs come true. He’s prisoner of his outlandish beliefs, which bring him much grief because he can’t ground them in reality and properly harness them to do more good than harm.

          I don’t see a bad man in him, only a very misguided one. It’s unambiguously true he blew it and should start strongly considering giving out refunds in the near future if Godus remains bogged down. But he didn’t rape anyone’s mother, and some of the community’s anger towards him is viciously bloodthirsty to a certainly disproportionate extent.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Indeed.

            (Argh. Where have all the default monster avatars gone?)

          • MellowKrogoth says:

            Um… well the game industrys IS hell and IS littered with GODUS-like failures. Just look at the unfinished shit that gets released on Steam these days, and those are just the ones which look enough like a game to get on there. And then, you have all those games that are a total failure but are cancelled internally by publishers before you even hear of them, or are repeatedly rebooted and cost millions and millions until a decent iteration comes out that you can purchase on sale for 20$.

            P. Molyneux is undoubtedly overly optimistic and a very bad game designer/game manager, but pretty much everything he said about the difficulty of developing games (at least, ones that are not carbon copies of a formula and based on existing, proven tech) in this interview is true.

          • welverin says:

            Where indeed, though I have to ask: how do you get the custom ones?

          • Echo_Hotel says:

            Peter is like a senile Grandpa talking to his grandkids, promising new videogames for their birthday ut forgetting what exactly he promised and coming up with “something they’ll like” that invariably disapoints.
            Actually judging from this interview I’m not entirely sure he isn’t actually senile,.

          • Anonymous says:

            What an astoundingly cogent analysis. Seriously. I really don’t think there’s any malice on subterfuge in his statements. I think he truly believes what he’s dishing. It’s a shame he can’t deliver on all that he believes he can.

            I think that those who’ve been shorted on Kickstarter need to realize that risk is part of the equation, exactly why I don’t contribute to Kickstarter.

            If I can find fault in this whole debacle is how that kid who won the Curiosity Cube was treated. I think that he was exploited to generate buzz for the product and was kicked aside when that was accomplished. If Mr. Molyneux wants to exhibit good will of any kind around this Godus debacle, he needs to make good with this kid. I’m imagine Peter has significant personal fortune, if he wants to reclaim the good favor of the gaming community he should dig into that and make the Curiosity Cube kid whole in some way.

          • Alecthar says:

            I think “misguided” is too charitable. It’s a word for people who do the wrong things for the right reasons. I’m not convinced Molyneux knowingly lied or misled people regarding Godus (or his previous games, all of which failed to live up to his grandiose promises) but I am convinced that he makes such claims because he has become absorbed in the “Peter Molyneux as auteur” myth that he himself created. Buying into your own hype to the extent that you become divorced from reality is not being “misguided,” it’s being narcissistic.

            As for whether or not this interview was inappropriately harsh, I think it’s combative relative to the puff pieces normally churned out by the gaming news industry, but John didn’t hold the man’s family at gunpoint and demand answers, he asked him questions on the phone. Molyneux could have refused the interview, refused to answer combative questions, or hung up the phone. I prefer seeing his answers to “borderline sadistic” questions than seeing him answer some form of “And what have you learned from an experience that I’m sure has been really difficult for you?”

          • golem09 says:

            Wonderful post that sums up most of my thoughts when reading this. The interview lost a good portion of it’s credibility with too many ridiculously aggressive questions and nitpicking over details, but still managed to get quite a good deal of information. PM was honest, but I think missed the points on some of his criticism, probably because he’s so used to answer the same questions about himself over and over again, that he’s tired of listening closely to what a question intends. At the same time portions of his thining were quite startling, like applying his philosophy of asking for too much money to kickstarter.
            A (unnecessarily) hard, but good read.

          • Apocalypse says:

            Sounds to me a little like you actually might be on the “pathological liar” side – from a pure medical perspective. I think it was a great opener and it worked well to get some honesty out of Molyneux.

          • Apocalypse says:

            @Anonymous

            I think many people need to understand the difference between pledge rewards and a good game. You are entitled to your rewards even on kickstarter. And you are entitled to get them more or less on time. IIRC 1 year later is still ok, no more. That is part of the legal mumbo-jumbo on kickstarter. You are not entitled to anything else and you are not even entitled to a working products if circumstances and not massive mismanagement or fraud are to blame.

            The thing is, judging by the interview Molyneux is actually to blame for all the miss management and simply is not suited to project management and managing a game studio. leaving the industry, maybe teaching at a university sounds like a very good plan to do for him at this stage of his career, because I doubt that his ego can be tamed to have him as a genius game designer under someones else lead.

          • rego says:

            If you are a project manager that continuously fails to meet thier deadlines, under or over budget you are faili at your job. Nobody cares that you got your product out at “some point” if you cannot deliever things when and HOW you said you would.

            Every bring PM Claims as reasons for not being ready or technical hiccups doesn’t matter…legitimate or not, he has failed as project lead. He has nobody to blame but himself

            What about the Linux version of the game? It has been stated the engine doesn’t work and CANT work with Linux and it is one of the reached backer goals.

          • Josh W says:

            You probably don’t work in construction or programming then; in the real world, people delay all the time, think about 20 to 60% of them, you put contingency time in the end of a project, your client puts contingency time in their deadline for you, and then you try to wangle things round in order to reduce the delays as much as possible, but delays are a fact of life when you are making something complex and interconnected, even when you’re not particularly innovating.

          • ZeroWaitState says:

            Sorry, just got around to reading the story. I agree with your comment to a point, but the idea of “misguided” does not apply to the way the kickstarter was handled. The whole purpose of kickstarter is to determine if there are sufficient funds available in the community to fund total development. That is the reason that the developer does not get funds unless the goal is met. There is no point in funding a project that is destined to fail due to lack of resources. By deceiving people (and he was upfront about this) regarding how much money he actually needed to fund the project, he abused the kickstarter process and put the original stakeholders at great risk of losing their whole investment. That isn’t misguided; if he did the same thing to a private equity firm or publisher, he would have been taken to court. Also, by taking on a publisher after he had committed to not doing so, he placed his project under additional constraints that would make it hard, if not impossible, to meet the original kickstarter commitments (and that would have necessarily been his plan all along, as he admitted up front he knew he would not have enough from kickstarter for total development). It seems once he contracted with a publisher the focus became mobile apps, since he was then at their mercy (a totally foreseeable event, since the publisher did not make kickerstarter commitments, Molyneux did). He can claim he is an innocent victim in all of this, but he clearly isn’t; his abuse of the process led to the project ending up in purgatory in the first place. It would have been far better if he had never done kickstarter at all, and simply approached a publisher to do mobile apps. He would have gotten the same end result, but then he would not have a half million in unmet liability and a ton of angry customers. Kickstarters are one of the those things that isn’t tightly regulated, which is good, but it allows an opening for unscrupulous people to take advantage. Buyer beware.

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        keithzg says:

        My main thought was “okay, people, THIS is ethics in motherfucking games journalism!”

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      distantlurker says:

      I think John should get a job at newsnight.

      It’s taken me an hour to read thru the whole thing. I got very emotional, repeatedly. I really felt for the Peter but John’s points are all valid and more than that, much more than that, the rest of the games journalists have been walking on egg shells around this guy for too long. These were tough questions, and they deserved answers.

      This is the most honest, brutal and revealing interview I think I’ve ever seen in a gaming publication.

      I hope both lads managed to get some respite after it. Must have been awful on both ends.

      If this article doesn’t win some kind of award, there’s no justice.

      • Hebrind says:

        Hear hear! A few of John’s pieces recently have seemed (to me) to be a little flat, compared with his earlier articles – this more than makes up for it. An astonishing piece of journalism.

        Nice one John! More Paxman-esque interviews please! :D

        • realscissors says:

          Honestly, this interview was shit. after john came up with this pathologic liar crap the whole interview served just the purpose to kick someone already on the ground. all the smirking assholes clapping should get some things straight, if anyone in this whole debacle is to blame its the stupid idiots who backed godus. knowing molyneuxs tendency to hyperbole the shit out of his games it was so obvious which direction this would go. now all you frusrated assholes have found another scapegoat to unload your shit upon.
          i think molyneuxs points are fair. the game is not finished yet. it was kickstarted! kickstarting does not imply a 100% guarantee, everyone knows that. its spending money on a expedition with unknown outcome. all these refund assholes, make me sick. dont back PROJECTS. ask ea for a refund or ubisoft but a kickstarter campaign? seriously?
          i really want to have journalists asking tough questions, but this slipped out of hand when it got personal.
          molyneux was right, he doesnt have to answer these stupid questions, but he still is. if anything, this interview has shown how shitty gaming journalism can be.
          before i read it, i read the eurogamer piece, i went to the godus forum and found that this game and 22cans are dead already. beating a dead cow is just miserable.

          • Zer0Hour17 says:

            Molyneux deserves FAR worse than what he got in this interview. This wasn’t the 1st, 2nd or even 3rd time he’s pulled this shit. He always ALWAYS promises the world and barely delivers a small plot of land. The first time you do it, fine, you bit off more than you can chew. The second you tried to make up for the 1st and still came up short. Every time after that you deserve to be called out on it, but no one ever did. They just waved if off so he did it again and again and again and now he’s directly screwed the costumers rather than some wealthy investors. How anyone, publisher or consumer, sees fit to give this liar(yes, he is a liar, there is no other explanation at this point) any money is beyond me. Molyneux has no business being allowed to develop anything and I truly hope this is the straw that breaks the camels back and drives this slime out of the industry.

          • FriendlyFire says:

            Victim blaming, eh? Nice logic there mate.

            Also, the refund thing was only about the extra rewards people were supposed to get at the higher tiers. It’s completely fair that, years after the original expected delivery date and with no updated delivery date given, people should be able to ask for a refund.

          • ynamite says:

            Epic interview. I feel a little sad for PM, but I think asking the harsh questions like John did may actually ground him back in reality.

            Kicking a dead horse when it’s down? That’s one way of looking at it. Another would be, why does PM keep kicking himself in the head? The questions may seem unfair, but they were not.

          • rexx.sabotage says:

            Yeah, I always thought john was a bit of an asshole but, now I can clearly see I was woefully underestimating.

            This is tabloid schlock and serves no constructive purpose. Any small person can kick a man when he’s down but, it takes a bigger person to help them back up.

          • DXN says:

            You say this game and 22cans are dead, that it was obvious that the Kickstarter promises were unrealistic — Molyneux says that the game and 22cans are going strong, the game’s on track to all be finished, and that the Kickstarter goals will all come to pass.

            It’s not like he’s being torn apart by a pack of rabid wolves here, it’s someone (John and other press) finally holding this man actually to account for his lies (or whatever bizarre psychological construction his constantly untrue words have become to him). It’s not “kicking someone who’s down” if he’s still trying to coast along on his bizarrely resilient cachet, and hop over to yet another crazy dream project that he’s super passionate about and that will never fulfill its promises but make yet more cash for him in the process.

          • dasquish says:

            Look, kickstarter is the democratic equivalent of old world lords backing expeditions across the ocean or possibly commissioning works of art. You are paying for the belief that the person you are paying is going to deliver you something of beauty or worth. Those reward ranks are there to define what you expect after the work is done. Honestly, it sounds like the man is a struggling artist/captain and he’s trying his damnedest to deliver on his vision. The man has been ahead of his time for so long we forget that when you try (key word: TRY) to innovate the way he does, you will wind up with a lot of detritus in the trash can.

            Yes he deserves some flak for overpromising, as he always does, and delivering late, as he always does. And that guy who got the “God of Gods” he needs to make things right with him. But kickstarter needs to stop acting entitled to things they donate money towards. I put money into a Tesla museum that The Oatmeal ran an indiegogo for, It isn’t ready yet by a long shot, but they are working on it and that is all I could ask for. And all I should. Same with Godus. (Which I didn’t kickstart, because PM has been overpromising and underdelivering for a long time now.) Here’s hoping this man breaks through with one of his pie in the sky ideas. Cheers to you PM, and good luck.

          • Faxmachinen says:

            If Kickstarter is the democratic equivalent of old world lords backing expeditions, then I still think you should get a refund when the captain of your trans-Atlantic expedition comes back ten years later saying he’s finally found the right rope for the sail, and that he’ll be leaving for Iceland as soon as you invest another pile of gold.

          • Nemesis44uk says:

            Sorry, I don’t see what you mean about Godus and 22 cans being dead. Everything is up and working as of 1700 16/02/15, their forums and website are working so, not sure what you mean.

          • blackjag says:

            Yeah, I feel like the interviewer was very unprofessional. John seemed like he was set out to find confirmation for his beliefs and when Molyneux gave him answers he didn’t expect, he then sets out to find cracks in his story. He even criticizes Molyneux for an agenda while pressing his own.

            Sure, tough question should be asked, but there needs to be a professional tone about it. It was way too emotional. If people think this is real journalism and then ask why there aren’t interviews like these then it’s because those people can’t set aside their own emotion and see this from a neutral perspective critical of both interviewer and interviewee.

        • ynamite says:

          Epic interview. I feel a little sad for PM, but I think asking the harsh questions like John did may actually ground him back in reality.

          Kicking a dead horse when it’s down? That’s one way of looking at it. Another would be, why does PM keep kicking himself in the head? The questions may seem unfair, but they were not.

          • realscissors says:

            it was a damn kickstarter. there are no guarantees. backers are no victims, but asking for a refund of a kickstarter campaign is just miserable. i backed wasteland 2 and i learned it was hardly worth it. the release date was moved several times. godus is still in development, 22cans is very open and honest to their backers compared to inxile.
            john jumps on pm because he has the guts to be open about what has caused the issues. he didnt kill anyone and explains very well what drives him and why he constantly ends up in shituations like that. but hey, try this same shitty interview with a real big fish in the business, ask the ceos of ubi or ea why they are fucking up gaming with dlcs and mt. these companies do patholigically lie to people to satisfy their shareholders. but no, john unloads his childish frustrations on a guy who actually takes his time to talk to him. something none of the big pr machines of the big publishers would do. instead of honoring pm for this, you are the second row guys who keep on bashing him, while someone else has punched him. you guys are frustrated with being lied to over and over again by people that are out of your reach. thats why you celebrate this shit interview. you think finally one of them is getting what he deserves, but pm is not the big fish in the game anymore. he is head of a mid to small sized gaming company. nothing more. you are kicking the wrong guy for the right reasons.
            as always in this shit world, the masses kick the weak and bow to the strong. where is the RPS article about what publishers do with your data, how they use psychological methods to milk their audiences, where is the article pointing out who in the big companies is really working on monetizing and what background do these people have? this interview guys, is very weak and makes damaged my respect for RPS.

          • rexx.sabotage says:

            amen realscissors

          • ReallyNowGuys says:

            Scissors? Is that Peter in disguise?

            You are correct that since it’s a Kickstarter there are no guarantees, but the problem here is… when you have someone like PM giving deadlines and then fail them time after time after time on multiple games…. it hurts the industry as a whole. People eventually will stop kickstarting these possible AAA titles and then none of us will have the games we truly love and enjoy. If you backed Wasteland 2 (Which I’m kind of doubting by your “I learned comment…”), you would know that the release date was pushed back twice while they were bug testing the game. Also, they were streaming the game on Twitch so people could see where inXile was at during the whole process at random points during the whole process. They also had over 50 updates to keep everyone abreast of the state of the game. Godus has been in development since 2012, whereas Wasteland 2 stated in April 2013… guess which game finished first? Oh and yeah… Wasteland 2 is over 40 hours… so stop trying to crap all over a successful title (Currently 81% on both Metacritic and GameRankings) that shows Kickstarter works when a title is produced by someone that actually KNOWS what they are doing.

            Molyneux deserves whatever comes to him and anyone who gives him anymore money deserves the frustration and failure that comes from it.

          • dmndcn says:

            There’s alot that could be said on both sides but overall what the hell are any of you gonna do? You’re either gonna support, oppose, or more likely do absolutely nothing but either way Peter will always have the right to make games and pursue his dreams, just like everyone else has the right to bash or fund him. What I’d like to point out is the unprofessionalism in the construction of this interview (Within my opinion). The interviewer comes across as an passive-aggressive teenaged wanna-be journalist who thinks he’s hammering the nail straight on point when in reality the nail is already completely bent but he keeps whacking and warping the wood in the process. This could be forgiven if there wasn’t already other bent nails left completely unaccounted for while this one bent nail is already being shaved down to start again yet still receives nothing but ridicule. If the interviewer was intrigued by this case perhaps he should do a quick search for “Day One: Garry’s Incident” or numerous other titles on steam and kickstarter. My overall opinion, I was disappointed in the interviewer but proud of the way it was handled by Peter Molyneaux.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        “Emotional”, yeah. That’s a good way to put it. Reading through this kind of felt like my parents fighting with my uncle or something. I might not be particularly invested in Godus, but I’m pretty sure we all want people with imaginations as big as his making games. Obviously we do. And yet, as you said, John didn’t say a thing that didn’t need saying.
        Hard interview to read, honestly, but a good one.

      • spelunker says:

        He really shouldn’t, they’re still trying to recover from the ego of Jeremy Paxman when he let his ego go rogue on everything.

    • typographie says:

      I don’t intend to criticize the point of this interview, as clearly this is a situation that needs to be put under the microscope. But I’m not a huge fan of the tone of this interview.

      “Are you a pathological liar?” and “Could you have done more to waste it?” aren’t neutral questions, and they’re not the only examples. They make presumptions (that they are likely correct presumptions is entirely beside the point). The bare, emotionless facts alone are enough to paint Molyneux into a corner, so some of these questions read like more than were really called for.

      • P.Funk says:

        I agree. The tone really bothered me. Yes rake him over the coals, but I feel that that could be done simply by being straight forward and brutal about seeking the answer and parrying the non-answer language.

        I’ve seen guys like Charlie Rose extract a comment from someone with punishing frankness in his tone but I’ve rarely seen him outright go for the jugular.

        The opening question and the subsequent tone felt like it was about skewering him for the crowd. To Molyneux’s credit he stuck by the whole interview and even when I saw him dissembling or BSing I got more from his attempts to answer bad questions than the nature of the questions.

        I mean really, it just seems to me like Molyneux is kind of clueless. You’re not going to get a guy like that by attacking overtly with loaded language.

        Eh, interesting interview, but kind of a wasted opportunity.

      • waltC says:

        I thought the opening gambit of “Are you a pathological liar?” was very rough & argumentative, myself. But then I read the interview, and I disagree with John. I think he should have asked: “Are you an inveterate liar?”

        I’ve never read such a rabid mess in my life…;) Here’s a quote:

        “We’re talking 50,000 hours of interview and there’s going to be mistakes.”

        Good grief. The rejoinder is: “Don’t you think if you had spent 50,000 hours on the game that it would be finished by now?”

        • MacTheGeek says:

          Here’s another possible rejoinder:

          “If you gave interviews 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without rest or break, you would give interviews for 2,083 days. That’s 5.7 years. How have you given 5.7 years’ worth of interviews for a game whose development is less than 2.5 years old?”

          • funkstar says:

            In his defense i don’t think he was saying 50,000 hours of interviews on Godus

        • OldMacRonald says:

          Nobody in this interview ever said that anyone gave 50,000 hours of interviews about Godus. Claiming that was said is silly, and there’s no argument necessary. Literally, all you have to do is re-read the interview for yourself to see the real context. Molyneux was talking about errors and mistakes he had made in interviews over his entire career.
          I’m not defending Molyneux, he’s lost it. But if you’re going to pile on, at least do so about something he actually said.

      • Amygdala says:

        I suppose that I am in the minority too.

        Obviously 22cans screwed up here and made some mistakes. I have no argument to make against that fact, and they need to come up a amicable conclusion to this mess. However, your line of questioning was more of an interrogation than an interview. I honestly give Peter Molyneux a lot of credit for sitting through your barrage of provocative questioning, and not walking out of the door or knocking out your teeth.

        The good part is that they are finally acknowledging what has transpired, trying to do something about it, and nobody has run away with a suitcase full of cash, unlike some other kickstarted projects.

      • AngusPrune says:

        I think it was absolutely called for. The situation John highlighted, that of saying to the Kickstarter backers “we don’t want a publisher, just you!” then turning around a few months later and signing a contract with a publisher is two-faced in the extreme. That’s just not the sort of thing you can do and continue to have any sort of standing or reputation. I appreciate people getting tough with him over decisions like that.

        Everything PM says here sounds utterly delusional. His insistence that the PC version doesn’t have a publisher so he’s not technically a liar, despite the game being fundamentally shaped by the demands of the mobile publisher. His sad defence of asking for too little money for the game being completely at odds with his other statements about outside funding. His complete refusal to acknowledge that anything is owed to his Kickstarter backers or to the winner of Curiosity.

        I’m sorry for everyone who earns their living at 22cans, their boss is a loose cannon who has likely destroyed the company.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Yeah, and when Peter is being that evasive it really doesn’t leave a whole lot of room but to be aggressive.

          Could have done without that opening gambit, but a lot of the attempts to actually pin Peter to his claims are entirely reasonable.

          • ludde says:

            It’s fully possible to ask hard questions persistently without being a sadistic asshole for the sake of it, like John was here.

            I really thought RPS was better than turning it into a show for the cameras.

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            keithzg says:

            Considering how evasive (perhaps without even realizing he’s being) Molyneux has been, I can entirely understand why John went with such an opening gambit, and I do wonder if the interview would have been as frank if he hadn’t. It certainly turned out to be very, very revealing.

      • Rikard Peterson says:

        I agree with typographie: John, please try a little more compassionate approach next time. (I realise that it can’t be easy.)

        • typographie says:

          Well, with so much backer money at stake and 22cans’ worryingly flippant attitude about it, the tough questions definitely need to be asked. I think what I take issue with is how the wording of John’s questions makes it very clear that he has picked a side. The right side, granted, but in my opinion that pushes the journalistic integrity of this interview a bit below the usual standards of this site.

        • ZeroWaitState says:

          The interview isn’t about questioning video game mechanics or Peter Molyneux’s taste, or even his technical ability. It’s about taking actual real money by telling a customer things you know to be false, and to be so egregiously false that there is a real risk that the customer will have absolutely no product (not even a bad one) to show for their purchase. It is questioning the ability of Molyneux to do business at all. This isn’t some conflict of personalities; it’s an intentional breach of a business agreement, and Molyneux acts like it is everyone else’s fault. It doesn’t make sense to take a conciliatory tone when something like that happens; to do so would just add dignity to behavior that doesn’t deserve it. A publisher would have used (and probably has used) far less kind words with him when similar things occurred in the past, and I doubt he ever did something this bad to a publisher. Gearbox was sued by Sega for a similar kind of thing over Alien: Colonial Marines (in which they used funds intended for development on that game for other projects of their own, and then used an outside contractor to complete Sega’s game, poorly). Gearbox is perfectly capable of making good games, but they deserved to get hit with a suit. There’s no sense in pulling punches on Molyneux.

      • flashlight_eyes says:

        100%, i dont care if you are interviewing someone convicted of war crimes, an interview is not the time to serve justice, its where you are hoping to gain information and understand the persons point of view. The hard parts of the conversation should by no means be averted, but you get nowhere by outright disrespecting the person you are interviewing. Its both not the purpose of the interview, and will actually make the interview go worse as you will get an interviewee that is less candid and more defensive.
        Lost a lot of respect for RPS from this interview.

        • AngoraFish says:

          this, one thousand times this.

        • ax23000 says:

          You nailed it! It was incredibly unprofessional. People seem to be excited because someone finally nailed him to the wall, but I think the interviewer went way too far.

          • FastPepe says:

            Unprofessional is exactly the word that came to my mind. That wasn’t an interview it was an angry rant meant to show Peter a thing or two. Certainly questions should be asked, but there are civil ways to address them that certainly would have been more productive. But I guess that’s not what the audience wanted.

        • GrinNfool says:

          Ya pretty much agree with most of what you said. I have seen these sorts of interviews done well, and them done poorly, this is definitely the latter. ‘Setting the tone with are you a pathological liar?” All but assures you won’t be getting anything useful out of the interview you don’t already know. It immediately places the interviewee into defcon 1, making them instantly defensive, and aware of every little thing you are going to do, and their responses to it. Ask your questions first, then circle round to this IF it is warranted from the responses. I got practically zero information out of this, and all of the information out of this would have been gained easily in another manner. This read as the interviewer, John, had a vendetta, and was going to take his rage out on Peter (to some extent understandably)

          However this is just bad journalism, when executed in this manner. Lord knows PM isn’t a saint, and has had his share of mistruths, omissions, and lies. So does the majority of the gaming world, so it wasn’t like this brought that fact to light in some prodigous stroke of genius by John. Instead it just read like I’m going to make you pay! I would much rather have had this be a calmer interview and get some information I didn’t know. If he dodges out of questions then put the screws to him, but opening up like that and several of the other questions, were just phrased really poorly, and accomplished nothing but appearing to be a jerk.

      • Traipse says:

        Definitely agreed. John didn’t say anything that wasn’t true, but the way in which those things were said came off in text as frustrated, angry, and needlessly vituperative. I actually ended up feeling a lot sorrier for Molyneux than I expected by the end.

      • spelunker says:

        See also “I think the industry could do without you lying”.

        A great many questions are unnecessarily antagonistic and designed to provoke a negative reaction from the subject. There’s very little here that even approaches a professional standard, and nothing earth-shattering was uncovered by it. Sure, it’s undoubtedly a hoot for people who are so insanely fixated on the guy that they’ve lost any sense of objectivity; but there’s a reason that “how to MAKE friends and INFLUENCE people” is a best seller, while “How to ANTAGONISE, HUMILIATE friends and ALIENATE people” would never be published.

        Shit like this, which is essentially public bear baiting Roman-Empire style, is precisely what leads to a chilling effect where people become wary of being open with the press. I’m really surprised to see it coming from JW, actually, who is typically one of the best writers in the industry.

      • RightThen says:

        Why set out to rake someone over the coals in the first place? Who do these video game bloggers think they are?

        Some people have too high an opinion of themselves and their role. No wonder the video game writing business is in such dire straits.

      • citronrobotlord says:

        I don’t see an interview here. John set peter on edge right from the start. There’s no way that Peter could sound honest or sincere with this. A guy that over worked can’t say anything in the state he was put in. This is a smear article, and it didn’t clear anything up for me.

        Good job.

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      Definitely tough. There are questions that should be asked, but kind of feel John should take up the offer to go to 22Cans and give PM a big hug.

    • Winthorp says:

      Really thought they were going to ask him if he ordered the code red..

    • wu wei says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly lied, at all.

      I’m assuming he’s only referring to Godus here, because he’s repeatedly told the story of lying to Commodore in order to receive free Amigas from them.

      • spelunker says:

        To be fair to Molyneux, he did at least honor the obligation to create database software and it was well-received and a success. In fact, it was the proceeds from that which led to the formation of Bullfrog in the first place.

        Doesn’t excuse the initial deception, but if you read other people’s anecodtes from the time the whole industry was like the Wild West back then.

    • Danley says:

      Yeah, he should. Because the tone of this interview was absolutely ridiculous. Yes, there’s a financial aspect to it, especially for Bryan Henderson, and that’s a real controversy worth being tough over. But this didn’t feel tough, it felt like John was taking it upon himself to get in the punches some of the kickstarter backers are calling for.

      It’s frustrating to me because it’s not particularly wrong; it just feels misguided. This is the sort of antagonism I’d love to see given by the press covering politics and real world events. But as an interview with a game developer who affects the average supporter’s life by, say, £20, this just seemed like taking a tough line for its own sake. Because journalism.

      More context: Ed Key offered a $50 physical ‘Artifact Edition’ of Proteus. There hasn’t even been word of it for months (maybe a year at this point). The situation is different in that his game came out while it’s just an extra novelty that has yet to be delivered, but this was also a concrete reason argued that Kickstarter backers should get a refund for Proteus. David Braben literally betrayed statements made in his Kickstarter, a matter RPS called him out on. (In slightly friendlier terms than ‘Are you a liar?’) His reaction? Set up a PR infrastructure to ‘review people’s individual circumstances.’ Oh, boy.

      It just seems like there’s so much bullshit in marketing and business in general that to call out Molyneux in this way as if his enthusiastic brand of bullshit is somehow unique is a battle not worth fighting.

      I’ll admit that I may not know John’s personality or his relationship with Molyneux. Maybe the first question was asked half in jest. Maybe he was level-headed the entire interview and it just read how it did because Molyneux got hysterical. And again I don’t think journalists should kiss their source’s ass – we’d have a much better world if they didn’t. But I can also see how Molyneux could have interpreted it as ‘You’re shit and we don’t want you lying to us anymore, so go away.’ There was just so much antagonism throughout that it was hard not to sympathize with his position.

    • BobsLawnService says:

      That was one of the worst interviews I have ever read. I understand the need for asking difficult questions but you need to still have some respect for the person you are interviewing.

      Kudos to Peter who remained polite and dignified even when provoked like that.

      It is official, John has become nothing but a bully and let us be honest – Peter is an easy target. He admitted to his mistakes. Which is more than we can say about characters like John Schaffer who seems to be an untouchable RPS darling.

      Incredibly distasteful to read.

      • PearlChoco says:

        Exactly. PM was definitely the bigger man here.

        • Apocalypse says:

          A bigger man who made up lies on the fly to cover his older lies, became hysterical when called out. A greater man?
          It would rather say a depressive suicide candidate and clinical case. Have we really read the same interview? Why you see a great man when I see a man in need for help?

          Besides that: It is the duty of journalist to be bullies. It just sad when you see it now in gaming journalism while you do not see it in actually important topics, because than journalists will lose ‘access’. One of the most brilliant ways to deal with critical journalism after 9/11 btw. Anyone who was critical about wmd in iraq lost access to his governmental sources, ending basically the career of those journalists. In some cases even quite literally with some calls of the white house to the chief editors.

    • hardcpy says:

      now you have taken a pioneer game publisher down a peg or two fro his lying are you going to take Anita Sarkeesian to task on her lies and misinformation and ultimately her kick starter scam.

      • emperor_nero says:

        You’re reading RockPaperShotgun, so I think that is the only answer you need. We may get a congratulatory interview though.

    • RightThen says:

      This is terrible “journalism”. Accusing your guest in this fashion marks the interviewer as a yellow journalist, and not a serious reporter of facts.

      What happened to Rock Paper Shotgun? It used to have a nice take on gaming, but lately it seems to be staffed by a bunch of tryhard douchebags.

  2. jasta85 says:

    I was really sad about godus, I’ve still got tons of nostalgia over magic carpet, populus, dungeon keeper and even black and white. They were amazingly fun games back when I was a kid, I don’t see how they could have screwed up so much with godus. we didn’t want a clicker, card collector, social media game, we wanted another populus with modern graphics, some new mechanics and a bit more variety in what you can do. the foundation was already there, there was no need to mess with or it change it.

    I don’t think Molyneux is going to be able to make another major game after this, although if he does he better have some serious discussions with his fellow devs so they can ground his expectations. I don’t hate him or anything, I’m just sad that I won’t be able to play another great god game, of which there are very few these days.

    • fenrif says:

      First Tim Schafer, now Molyneux. I wonder what other old-school devs are going to poison their wells with kickstarter and early access.

      • Premium User Badge

        Lars Westergren says:

        Double Fine has done nothing near what Peter did. Broken Age has been delayed, but part 1 was great. Space Base did not live up to its initial promises but is an ok little game. At most buyers lost the early access price, some people backed Godus for hundreds or thousands of dollars. Double Fine apologized, did a long writeup about what happened and why, and they gave copies of other games to all early access buyers.

        And Massive Chalice is looking like its going to be great.

        • fenrif says:

          Broken Age was funded to the tune of something like 3 million dollars. And with that much money they somehow still ran out of funding and had to split it up into two parts and delay it in order to get more money to finish it. Especially damning after all those pictures he did of himself posing with wads of cash.

          SpaceBase was a joke and if anyone but Schafer’s company had done it you’d not be talking like it was buisness as usual. Not to mention that people could be out more than the early access price becuase it was part of that humble bundle prototype donation drive thing they did too. Personally I don’t think it matters if you spend £5 or £500 on a game (anyone stupid enough to spend thousands of dollars on some guys promise is a fool IMHO), when promises are made they should be kept. It’s not like this is some bedroom indie duo-s first game. Schafer is an industry veteran who over the past few years has proven himself incapable of producing on his promises, just like Molyneux.

          The quality of the games are entirely subjective. Some people like Godus (I’m pretty sure the guy who won the god-of-gods thing said in his interview he thought it was an allright game). Does that make Molyneux’s actions ok? Future games maybe looking like they could be great don’t offset past fuckups.

          The only difference between Molyneux and Schafer is that while gamers have been talking for years about how full of shit molyneux is, it’s the publishers who have been saying it about schafer. Both seem incapable of properly managing development without oversight. Both wildly over-promise during the funding stages and then don’t deliver. Schafer is just a little more media-savvy than Molyneux.

          • jama says:

            I think this is relevant to your complaints about how Double Fine blew through their Broken Age budget: link to twitter.com

          • jama says:

            Also I suck at using the Twitter UI to highlight the relevant tweets. The important bit is further up than the one highlighted starting with the “Woah, impressive. Now, please explain how you spent all 3.3 million in just 1 act of a videogame” tweet to which Tim then responds.

          • pasports31 says:

            Both Schaefer and Molyneux have shown a propensity to be unable to deliver on promises met and to blow through budgets. The fact that one is vilified and the other is drooled over is something that I just can’t understand.

          • Premium User Badge

            Sihoiba says:

            I have heard via somewhat second or third hand connections (friend of a friend sort of thing) – so take it with an appropriate amount of salt – that the developer actually making SpaceBase was really unhappy with the choice not to continue it. With so many internal projects those passionate about have to keep justifying the required investment, and they couldn’t persuade the management it was going to generate enough revenue to make it worthwhile.

            I think Schafer’s reputation is where Molyneux’s was a few years ago i.e. he’s not be as directly in the spot light for as long and has less public failures. Plus of the two Molyneux lies tend to be that much larger and ridiculous so there’s less benefit of the doubt when reality eventually happens.

          • fenrif says:

            In response to Jama:

            Explaning where the money went doesn’t make it any more wastefull or mismanaged.

            His original goal to make the full game was $400,000. Which means he should’ve been able to make the full game for that amount of money. He got orders of magnetude more than that, and yes obviously teh scope of the game changed, but apparently it changed beyond his ability to complete it. Which again speaks of terrible management.

            If you ask for a dollar to go buy a pack of gum to share with me, and I give you a 20, and you come back asking for more money because you spent it all and didn’t get any gum then it doesn’t really matter what you spent the money on. The end result is that there’s no gum and im out more money than the gum costs. And you’re standing infront of me asking for more money.

          • jrodman says:

            Argument by analogy is a a bad pattern. Broken Age Part 1 was delivered. Broken Age Part 2 by everyone’s expectation will be delivered.

            Stand down.

          • welverin says:

            fenrif, you have a fundamental lack of knowledge on what Broken Age is and was.

            The most important thing to know and understand for how they went over budget is this: there was no game when the kickstarter launched!

            That $400,000 game you can’t understand how it ended up costing over $3.3 million? It never existed, the point of the kickstarter was to make a documentary of game development and use that as the impetus to make an old school adventure game. Absolutely no work was done on the game until the kickstarter ended, so that everything could be filmed. EVERYTHING.

            The problem with that, is that after they got far more money than they had planned for and what they had expected would just be a small flash game, became something much bigger. Tim ended up over designing and make a game that exceeded their budget. Since he’s the head of the company he was able to blow off everyone telling him there were problems with the scope of the project and you end up with a game that went far over budget.

          • spelunker says:

            “fenrif says:

            In response to Jama:

            Explaning where the money went doesn’t make it any more wastefull or mismanaged.

            His original goal to make the full game was $400,000. Which means he should’ve been able to make the full game for that amount of money. He got orders of magnetude more than that, and yes obviously teh scope of the game changed, but apparently it changed beyond his ability to complete it. Which again speaks of terrible management.”

            To be fair, very, very few kickstarters are honest about the true cost of a project. There’s loads of research – and this isn’t any kind of revelation, it’s established fact – which suggests that if you under-estimate your actual projected costs by X%, you’re X% more likely to obtain funding for your ACTUAL costs. This then manifests in devs setting their funding goals low in the expectation that they’ll hit their REAL goal, which they keep secret.

            General rule of thumb is to at least double the stated goal to start getting closer to the true delivery cost of the project, as much advice says to halve it for the crowdfunding pitch.

        • emperor_nero says:

          Let’s be fair here. There is a marked difference between not living up to promises and not delivering on any promises. The game was developed for nearly 2 years by a sizable teams of ‘professional’ developers and the best that came of it was 6 content light updates and a buggy mess abandoned with the buyers being told that they could fix it themselves. Do you know how active the spacebase molding scene is? There are about 5 mods total, and no one actively developing others.

          Now Broken Age had to be split into multiple parts because while Schafer can design games, he shouldn’t be in the position to make important business decisions. He’s one of the creative forces that needs to be leashed by a business mind.

          Broken Age I’m not sure about. I haven’t really followed development but it looks kind of meh to me.

          • emperor_nero says:

            Correction Massive Chalice was the final game reference.

          • Bob Barker says:

            One of the “larger” mods (mostly balance and bug fixes) was taken down by the developer out of anger when Double Fine locked the majority of threads in the DF9 forums without explanation. The available code seems to have never been properly open sourced and doesn’t include a LICENSE.

            There’s basically zero mod scene, at best you can find a couple hacks and bug fixes in zip files floating on forums since there’s no Steam Workshop support.

            Still bugs me how they tried to spin it like they were gonna actually open source and release the proper source code.

        • Xelias says:

          Well, Broken Age is pretty much my biggest dissapointement. It was what really launched the gaming side of kickstarter, the start of an incredible journey…
          That started three years ago and I have half of a game that I didn’t wanted. While the art and the story are great, the game is far from being the call to the old school adventure games that DFA was promising to be. The kickstarter tried to tell people that it was going to be the “revival” of the point and clic. Sadly, Broken age is a modern point and clic, extremely easy and focused on the story, the puzzles are entirely inexistant. It’s closer to Telltales’s monkey island than Lucasart’s.

          The game isn’t bad per say, but I wouldn’t have gave that much money if I knew how it ended up. It’s not the game that I’ve wanted to play for years. It’s just (half) of a fun story.

          • April March says:

            The thing is, you can’t revive point-and-click adventures, because they never died. They just faded into the background because most people realized their excuses for puzzles were just games of guess what the dev wants you to do now and the reason the adventure games of old were well remembered is because of their story and characters. Those are the things people remember, while puzzles are only remembered if everyone who played the game got stuck in it. By making Broken Age as it is, Tim was more true to the spirit of his promise than an actual adventure would have been.

        • Crafter says:

          Don’t even bother. It is not possible to have a reasonable discussion about Double Fine these days.

        • Bob Barker says:

          Double Fine handled Spacebase DF9 in bad faith, with a shady experimental business model that seems crazy, and basically pushed blame onto customers for not continuing to buy their already under-developed game.

          Tim Schafer deserves all the same scorn directed at Peter Molyneux since under Tim’s own admission he treated Early Access like a real-time Kickstarter but without a “did not raise enough funds” option.

          I noticed LP LeBreton (DF9 dev) retweeted some stuff… link to i.imgur.com

      • Baines says:

        Both Schafer and Molyneux only did on Kickstarter what they had previously been doing with publishers.

        It is just that we the consumer tend to side with devs against the ‘evil’ publishers. We get told of the devs’ visions and dreams, while we hear about the money grubbing publishers killing those dreams or rushing out unfinished projects, so we side with the devs. Kickstarter swaps the publisher for consumers, though, which changes how we see the developers’ actions. It isn’t a publisher stubbornly sticking to a Christmas release schedule, it is the consumers seeing a dev run two years late with no finish in site and saying well after the fact that the money that they promised was enough to make the game was really no where near what they needed to make the game that they promised.

        As for which big name developer will be next, I guess we can look to previous history. Any who repeatedly ran over budget and over time, who repeatedly over promised, who released games that have entire sections that weren’t fleshed out… The ones that had excessive troubles producing complete games under a publisher are the same who will have trouble producing under Kickstarter and other crowd-funding.

        • LionsPhil says:

          So, avoid anything to do with Troika then.

          • April March says:

            The book about the woman and the jeep and the brontosaur?

          • spelunker says:

            Troika made great games, but they didn’t have the funding or tools to deliver on their designs. Remember that Bloodlines was created with an unfinished version of the Source engine and actually preceded HL2. And IIRC valve gave very little post-license support to the company.

      • 88GJS88 says:

        As a KS backer I might be biased, but Julian Gollop seems to be doing a fantastic job with Kickstarter and Early Access on Chaos Reborn link to chaos-reborn.com It’s only a steam early access game now and the final plans are very ambitious, but I could happily play what they’ve released so far as a competitive multiplayer game for a very long time to come.

        • MellowKrogoth says:

          Who knows. Everything could be going great and suddenly they have to rewrite the whole network engine because it’s incapable of doing what they want, and the game is delayed by 6 months. That’s game development for you. (And it applies to software in general, but games tend to have more violent swings in the technical requirements as the design evolves.)

      • Kempston Wiggler says:

        @Fenrif

        *coughFrontiercough*

  3. Premium User Badge

    melnificent says:

    That was the best interview ever. I’m about halfway down and it’s just… awesome.

    No holding back. Just honest direct questions. The answers however, the evasion from Peter is so high it’s off the chart.

    • meepmeep says:

      This wasn’t an interview, it was an intervention.

    • Voqar says:

      I was thinking the same.

      All of journalism/press should read this to remind themselves of what a serious fact-finding interview should look like.

      Good stuff.

      • spelunker says:

        What facts were found? All this did was further reinforce the beliefs of people who had already made their minds up. There’s no earth-shattering smoking gun to be found.

    • Uncompetative says:

      I recommend everyone watch this. It is hilarious.

  4. rustybroomhandle says:

    Ok, can’t watch this any more. Man’s down – we’ve have done enough kicking. Yoink.

    • hollowroom says:

      I’m the same. Almost too painful.

      • AngoraFish says:

        John’s opening question landed one to Molyneux’s nuts before Molyneux had a chance to utter a single word.

        • Drake Sigar says:

          Seems appropriate. This is not an out of the blue instance, everything Molyneux has done (or in many cases not) for years and years has been building to this moment. He has my pity like a pathetic Gollum-like creature, but we’re (finally) past forgiveness. I’m not even sure I have the capacity for it anymore.

          • hollowroom says:

            Got to agree, I was a big fan back in the days of Black and White, but he’s always over promised, to the point where he was becoming the industry standard for it. It was always going to bite him one day.

            It’s surprising his name hasn’t been verbed yet.

          • P.Funk says:

            So you don’t want an interview where the interviewer illicits honest replies from the interviewee, you just want to watch someone skewer the object of your contempt for your entertainment?

            Yea… thats like the heart of the rabble you got there.

          • Drake Sigar says:

            I want an interview where the interviewer asks word for word the question that has been on the lips of many thousands of people for nigh on a decade. Not the sugar-coated or polite version, literally word for word.

          • P.Funk says:

            That makes me think of road rage drivers, the ones who when they feel offended by someone’s conduct will gun it up along side of them just to get a look at the other one.

          • moisan4 says:

            I doubt you’d feel much pity if you saw Molyneux’s account balances and list of assets.

    • Ross Angus says:

      I feel the same way. I’m not emotionally or financially invested in Godus, but I felt sorry for Peter.

      • Paul B says:

        Yes, this interview made me feel sympathy for Molyneux – which was not, I fear, its intended aim.

        • moisan4 says:

          I doubt you’d feel much pity if you saw Molyneux’s account balances and list of assets.

          • Premium User Badge

            bonuswavepilot says:

            So what is the maximum amount of wealth someone can have and still be worthy of empathy? Does it have to be less than the observer? Rich people are still people.

            That said, while the tone was harsh, if PM is genuinely as bewildered as he seems to be in this interview, maybe being bludgeoned with questions like this might bring home to him where the problem lies…

    • Bull0 says:

      No, we shouldn’t spare him from this – it doesn’t do him any favours at all, if anything it’s letting him get away with the routine for so long that’s led to this point, where he’s gone from OBE to pariah.

    • Christo4 says:

      He’s just playing the victim card in my opinion, trying to get people to feel sorry for him, while he IS in the WRONG!
      It’s like feeling sorry for a tiger that ate a puppy, cus he didn’t know any better.

      • Christo4 says:

        The difference being he is actually a human with a brain and not an animal driven by instincts.

        • Monggerel says:

          *an animal with a brain as opposed to a human driven by instincts

        • toshiro says:

          Haha, he’s an animal, like I am. Like you are. Whether or not you understand or accept that, is beside the point. You can think the world is flat all you like, the universe does not care.

          • Berzee says:

            Kookaburras in particular are known for their hard-hitting interviews.

          • butcher8 says:

            Can you keep your agenda to yourself please, putting the world is flat and humans are not animals in the same group makes you look ridiculous. I would say some humans are animals.

          • April March says:

            I’m pretty sure either all humans are animals, or some biologists have been screwing up very hard for a long time.

          • toshiro says:

            butcher8: you see I know things. For example, your mother is an ape, and so is your father. If you want to make a great come back to me, say that I am carbon based or something equally insulting!

          • Gassoi says:

            Actually, humans are far more evolved than any animal now to be considered something greater just as plant life is greater than the cells they formed from. Our consciousness is heightened as are our emotions and intelligence. All evolved life is a far cry from the first life forms and if you want to be a smart ass then I could easily say that yes, by technical definitions, we all are just worthless cells with evolved forms. None of this matters though. You should really learn to keep your naturalistic nihilist philosophy to yourself. You’re arguing a worthless and moot point here that no one even cares for. Even more annoying is how you’re preaching it on a gaming blog of all sites. Grow up.

          • Gassoi says:

            P.S

            Also Mr Toshiro, no the OP’s father and mother are not apes. They are homo sapiens, a species phylogenetic connected to apes but far different now. It you want to be correct then we are primates not apes. Whilst some scientists will say we are to be classified as “apes” this remains a subject of debate as we have split from them. Same how monkeys are not apes despite sharing a similar ancestral line but monkeys are not apes. You might want to read what a real evolutionary biologist has to say for once instead of Richard Dawkins. Just a thought :P

    • eggy toast says:

      Totally disagree. The man has spun fiction to sell preorders for decades now and honestly if he made the best game ever I still wouldn’t buy it on principle. He is sociopathic in his desire to say anything at all that will make him likable or not-the-bad-guy.

    • Jakkar says:

      No mercy! No mercy for a man who has lied to this many people, wasted this many millions on his own insane fantasies, for over a decade. He knows exactly what he’s doing, whether he can control himself or not – which is why John’s opener is perfect.

      It isn’t an attack.

      He’s actually offering Peter the opportunity to consider that he may be worthy of sympathy in the very first question – if he can admit he has a serious problem and cannot be trusted with money or authority until he has resolved that problem, he could potentially eventually recoup something of his reputation and make something – finish something.

      • Uncompetative says:

        Here’s what Peter Molyneux had to say about his earlier project, codenamed ‘Dimitri’:

        “It’s a game about… you. It allows anyone who plays the game to relive their life, their entire individual life. That’s a pretty ambitious concept.”

        source:

        link to computerandvideogames.com

        6/4/05

        Whatever happened to this? Did it come out and I miss it?

    • Rizlar says:

      Yeah, this reads like a social media induced introspective spiral into mental breakdown. But then it could just be more Molyneux hyperbole. Whatever the case, it does seem more likely that he is well meaning and utterly shambolic and unreliable rather than deliberately leading people on, so it’s hard not to feel some sympathy.

    • Zer0Hour17 says:

      no he deserves this. It’s a long time coming. He’s done it over and over and over and he deserves a beating equivalent to all those he was spared from in the past.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      The sad part is that at this point I’m not even sure I trust that he’s actually breaking down and not just playing the part so John would pull a few punches and try to spin some of the stuff in a more positive way.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Also plausible.

      • puzzlepiece87 says:

        Absolutely. For me, the two points that put me over the top and made me think it was deliberate are telling multiple people over a few days that each interview was his last, and his straight up refusal to give the curiosity winner any of the nonexistent escrowed money.

        • Premium User Badge

          keithzg says:

          The money, that’s a potentially more complicated situation, and I’m not sure we really know enough yet to be too sure of it. But the telling each interviewer it’s the last interview, yeah, that definitely starts to look deliberate after a while. And if it isn’t consciously deliberate, it’s clearly (and this then justifies the opening question) at least borderline pathological.

    • hennedo says:

      but the internet approves of this public shaming. this is definitely how we should handle the ultimate evil that is Molyneux. i saw one guy talking about how he didn’t know if he even had the capacity to forgive anymore. think of the devastation Molyneux is spreading when he’s able to turn otherwise fully functional citizens into empathyless sacks of resentment. the man had it coming.

      • Danley says:

        You think Peter Molyneux is the one turning people into sympathyless sacks of resentment? Not our governments or banking systems or the way we throw food out while people starve, and there is more vacant real estate than there are homeless people?

        If not for so many other things, Molyneux could be making games for free with as much creative liberty as he wants, but we live in an oligarchy.

        Your comment is the exact reason this interview was frustrating. There’s so much bigger of a picture.

        • hennedo says:

          Sorry, I forgot to tag myself:
          /s
          There. I agree with you. :)

          • Danley says:

            Is there a tag for ‘overreacted because I was caught in the heat of the discussion and failed to read sarcasm?’ Cause I should probably close that tag for my message, too.

  5. Meat Circus says:

    “I’m not aware of my telling any lies, just of my systematically saying things I know or expect to be entirely false”

    • clazyniepije says:

      Just to be clear, Molyneux doesn’t actually say this anywhere in the interview (for the benefit of those that read comments before content).

    • oggnogg says:

      I suspect most of the time Peter honestly doesn’t know he’s lying. Which is the very definition of “pathological”. Q.E.D.

      • Zeewolf says:

        So John is aware enough to understand that he’s asking if Peter Molyneux suffers from a medical condition, but then forgets what a medical condition is, and tries to cure him by essentially doing his best to break the man? Didn’t you learn anything from Depression Quest, John?

        • sairas says:

          I have to agree, read this with a growing bad taste, why post the whole thing like this? I know that’s what John says he’ll do at the end but still. It was a pain to read, and I think the piece should have been on hold for a couple of days and also the transcription sent to him before publishing it. I know he’s been letting people down, and I wouldn’t even try to defend the horrible way the project has been dealt with, but this is – as John even says in the interview – not a person who’s being in a good place.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Honestly, I think posting the full, unedited thing is the fairest thing to do to Molyneux. Editing it without introducing bias, or impression of bias, would be extremely difficult. This way, every stutter of his “passion”, be it real or feigned, is preserved.

          • sairas says:

            I’m just not sure. PM is not a head of Ubisoft or EA and his glory days is obvious behind him, and his hyperboles are already memes of there own. Kickstarter is a risk and funding is no guarantee of a finished product, furthermore it’s not like anyone with any insight would have funding a PM game without knowing that there is no way of knowing what will come out of it.

            I’ve always liked John Walkers writing, but he or other editors really should have thought this one through.

          • sairas says:

            Call me gullible, but this just doesn’t read well.

  6. Premium User Badge

    kav2k says:

    Oh dear RPS, I love you for having the balls to open up the interview like that. Still reading..

    • Premium User Badge

      kav2k says:

      Okay, I have to scale that down.

      It’s an interesting, if controversial, punchline to start the interview off with, and you being aggressive is okay to some degree, but I think you overstepped the bounds of an aggressive interview. It has a distinct tone of a “bad cop” interrogation.

      It’s been an interesting read, but it sounded like a very sour backer complaining on KS comments section at times.

      • Premium User Badge

        DrollRemark says:

        Which is exactly as it should be.

        As John said himself, it’s a very different situation when you take the public’s money and don’t/can’t deliver. Who’s going to stand up for them, if the press doesn’t? If a proper publisher had backed Godus and Molyneux had promised it for them in seven months, they’d have been shouting at him behind closed doors a hell of a lot sooner.

        • joa says:

          He hasn’t “taken the public’s money”, he’s got some number of people to donate money to him to make a videogame. The onus is on the people donating money to make a decision on the trustworthiness of the developer they are donating to, and if they are not satisfied they should not donate the money. The fact that you made a bad decision doesn’t entitle you to go mental at people who are just doing business, where things can often be unpredictable.

          Get some perspective, and get some sense I would say. The sense of entitlement that gamers have never ceases to amaze. Perhaps they failed to grow up?

          • April March says:

            The people decided he was trustworthy, and gave him money. Later, a substantial amount of those people decided their earlier assessment was wrong, he was not trustworthy, and they found him unlikely to deliver on what he had promised. Those people could not exert finantial or institutional power upon him directly, so they turned to the press, which has a small amount of institutional power over them. John, as part of the press, works as a proxy for the authority of some of the people who had given his money.

            You’re essentially saying that if I invite you home and you shit on my carpet, I’m not allowed to throw you away because I should’ve known better than to invite someone who would shit on my carpet to my home.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Indeed. The sympathy for Molyneux I can get, if not entirely share any more. The “you really should have known better” I can get, because for pity’s sake, you gave Molyneux money based on his infamously wild claims. The “you deserve everything you’ve (not) got” is just ugly, callous, and ultimately destructive. Some degree of consumer protection, even if it’s only from propagation of opinion like this, is essential for consumer confidence to back/buy anything in the first place. If everyone had to be completely paranoid about being screwed all the time, FTL and Wasteland 2 would not exist.

          • mickygor says:

            Consumer protection wouldn’t even apply to backing kickstarter projects. They’re investors, and investment by its very nature is about taking informed risks.

          • LionsPhil says:

            If you’d read the next clause rather than jumping for the reply button, you’d have seen I wrote “even if it’s only from propagation of opinion like this”.

      • Greedy says:

        Yeah I have to agree on that. Although it gets more balanced the further they go.

      • Jakkar says:

        On the contrary, that first question is offering Peter the opportunity to admit he may have a serious problem – which is his only option other than “No, I’m merely sociopathic and narcissistic, and have complete control and awareness of my behaviour, while lacking ethics or any respect for others… You must consider context – this is an interview over a decade in the making.

        • khomotso says:

          I can’t agree. I think there were a number of ways to make the same point, which would have led to a more solid and striking criticism. The full portrait eventually came out – a Pollyanna so self-deluded they think their own passion is an answer to every criticism – but only because Peter stuck in there, and not because John laid the groundwork and forced him to confront it. The opening question was a vent, a rant, and it bogged down too much of the rest of the interview with emotive irrelevance as a result. Poor form, and I think frankly unprofessional.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Indeed, and John doesn’t actually develop that opening point in such a way. “Pathological liar” is not an emotionally neutral phrase.

      • thedosbox says:

        You should read the guardian interview which he did after speaking with John – it concludes thus:


        Peter Molyneux has admitted regret and culpability; he was clearly in distress throughout the interview – an interview he told us would will be his last. An hour before publication, however, we discovered that he had spoken to the gaming news site Rock, Paper, Shotgun the day before, and had given their interviewer the same impression – that he would no longer be speaking to the press (that interview is now online). He has also spoken to at least one other site, seemingly on the same afternoon as our discussion. Another trail of broken assurances.

        • iainl says:

          Also, reading Laura Kate Dale’s interview in that there Guardian shows that she -did- pull her punches on a Molyneux that was holding up his hands to say he’s messed up in mismanaging Godus’s development and the studio’s interactions with the “God of Gods” kid.

          And as a result, doesn’t (unlike Mr. Walker above) doesn’t confront him on the rather large issue of not just feeling awful that he’s deceived a great many people out of Kickstarter funds, but considering he could actually do something about either meeting the rewards they pledged for, or giving those tiers he won’t be meeting their money back.

          I’m going to be generous, and assume that serial, incessant lier Molyneux is genuine in his contrition over this. But merely feeling bad doesn’t stop the fact that he’s keeping the money paid for products he does not intend to ship by members of the public vastly less rich than he is.

          • LionsPhil says:

            He’d be a natural politician, with the whole “I admit this is my bad but that doesn’t mean I’m actually held to any kind of penalty for it or obliged to do anything to try to make it right”.

      • reptilianbrain says:

        Exactly – this is a worst of KS-backer mentality multiplied by the force field of the phone-only conversation.

        People who act and think like interviewing are the lowest of current gaming industry and the reason I unsubscribe from different subreddits. It really is disgusting to act like he is “owed” something.

        To call this journalism is an insult to true journalism which is about trying to stay unbiased, investigative and analytical. This is an aggressive rant of immature amateur expressed as a list of questions.

        • joa says:

          Yes exactly. What could Molyneux possibly say that would satisfy these people anyway? It’s just an exercise in catharsis for raging internet nerds.

        • Raoul Duke says:

          Err… the point of a lot of this is rather that people ARE “owed” something. Specifically, delivery of the thing that this bloke promised them, and took half a million pounds for.

          This isn’t about “entitlement” in the sense of an unjustified feeling that you deserve something. It’s about “entitlement” in the sense of “we had a bargain, I gave you money, where’s my stuff?”

      • April March says:

        If you liked the first question but didn’t like the rest, consider this interview John holding you by your shoulders and shouting “THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE WROUGHT”.

  7. dysomniak says:

    Pff, another namby-pamby gaming “journalist” afraid to ask the tough questions.

    Seriously, wow. Reading the first few questions I kept think “when is John going to reveal that either PM hung up on him, or he was making up this whole exchange?” Thanks to John for asking the tough, angry, bitter questions we’ve all wanted to ask. And I guess Peter deserves some credit for answering them? Maybe? Kind of? Did he?

    • Ross Angus says:

      I think it’s a fine line between “asking the tough questions” and “getting revenge for people who feel Peter must be punished”. I think John stayed on the right side of this line, but I feel this may have strayed into schadenfreude for some people.

      • neffo says:

        I don’t know, I think it’s going to be difficult for people (well, those not backers of Godus – especially at the higher tiers) to not feel compassion for the guy. It’s a brutal interview, yes, but it’s Molyneux who is really sinking the boot into himself and opening up. His defensiveness, his mis-directed blame, it’s all quite facinating isn’t it?

        I don’t think it’s something people could enjoy reading, unless you are completely heartless. It was like watching a man drown.

      • Jakkar says:

        I think it’s important to distinguish between the schadenfreude of an anomymous spectator, and the gratification of someone who has been waiting for a publically recognised ‘sinner’ to get his just rewards for a long, long time.

        • Ross Angus says:

          There is a difference, I agree, but neither of these things is “good”.

      • PsychoWedge says:

        I don’t think John is expressing any form of shadenfreude. quite the contrary, in fact. he may ask some question with harsh words and he doesn’t let go of the ones PM tries to jump over but he also does go out of his way to try to correct PM in is riddiculous interpretations and jumps to conclusions (jumps to conclusion? dunno what the correct phrasing is).

        will there be schadenfreuded with some readers? oh yes. but that’s not really in John’s hands either.

    • Lord Byte says:

      I’m at least giving him the respect for taking it in and staying in the interview, I’m pretty sure, in his shoes, I would’ve quit and said :’Screw you, I’ll make a statement, leave me alone.”

  8. frightlever says:

    Oh, he’s developing a brand new reputation for sure.

    • frightlever says:

      (where’d the edit button go?)

      Also, 50,000 hours, at 8 hours per work day and roughly 250 work days per year would be a solid twenty five years doing nothing but give interviews.

      HOWEVER, Peter works 16 hours per day, so that’d only be 12.5 years of doing nothing but give media interviews.

      It’s no wonder his poor brain is fried.

      • frightlever says:

        Also, also, John – if you take him up on the offer to go visit him, make sure you bring a friend and that somebody knows where you’re going and when you’re supposed to be back. Safety first.

        • Babymech says:

          “I used to phone up press and I used to invite press into the studio, we don’t do that any more.” and he invites John to come to the studio IN THIS SAME INTERVIEW.

          • eggy toast says:

            Repeatedly! It’s honestly amazing the disconnect between the world around him and the world as he perceives of it.

          • cqdemal says:

            That’s the bit that made me feel that the opening “pathological liar” question was actually quite justified and literal.

          • Chirez says:

            I assume John phoned him.
            I think that’s the distinction in PM’s mind, but honestly it’s incredibly hard to follow.

            Normal people would not consider that a distinction, but he’s weaselly when it comes to avoiding being caught in a lie.

        • April March says:

          Maybe John should have that Find a Friend app, just in case…

  9. sonson says:

    I’m sick of people who use other people’s money and trust as though they were of no consequence, just the tools required for them to craft whatever reality or project they have in mind, and I’m even more sick of them being indignant about being called to account for it.

    Bravo for asking the questions that need asking in these circumstances. I wish journalists in more serious lines of work would be simiallry forthright in respect to the various politicians, authority figures etc they supposedly interrogate.

  10. Shiloh says:

    Blimey. I get the sense PM still doesn’t quite understand why some (or all – I don’t know) of the Godus backers are angry. Or maybe he does understand and just can’t face up to it.

    Pretty much skewered him there though, John.

    • Premium User Badge

      aleander says:

      Now imagine PM is “Prime Minister”. We need RPS to move into political reporting.

      • tehfish says:

        I was just about to post the same thing.

        Would be nice if someone sprung the “Do you think that you’re a pathological liar?” question on Cameron.
        Though he’d just lie through the answer :/

      • Premium User Badge

        Hammer says:

        Nah, a good press officer (which lets face it, Cameron probably has) would have ended the interview right there and frozen out whoever asked the question from any more Government events. It’s how the press control the media. The flip side being it gives that outlet free reign to report on the Government in whatever terms they like, as long as they don’t mind not getting the scoops. So, rather like RPS’ coverage in other words – where developers seemingly punish them for more honest reviews.

        It’s seems very much like Molyneux doesn’t have a press officer, probably because he views them as placing constraints on him (see the MS bit). If he did, most of this media circus could probably have been prevented.

        [Source: Worked as press officer]

        • LionsPhil says:

          And yet in this situation I would say levels of Molyneux sympathy are probably up as a result of this interview relative to the earlier reporting about Godus, so it has been to his benefit.

      • phlebas says:

        See this week’s Flare Path.

  11. Loix says:

    Brutal.

    • oggnogg says:

      Wonderful. I think RPS is The Intercept for games journalism.

    • schlusenbach says:

      More a brutally honest confrontation with the inconsistencies and deceptions of Molyneux that have piled up over the years. Great interview.

  12. Premium User Badge

    melnificent says:

    Kickstarter fees, VAT – How can you forget these things when making a kickstarter budget? It’s pretty obvious they are going to be taken. By oh I don’t know, anybody with a passing interest in how that money thing works.

    • eggy toast says:

      If only they were flat percentages available prior to the start of fundraising, so that maybe somehow some mathematical mastermind could take them into account!

      • Premium User Badge

        melnificent says:

        So I’d have to take 5% for kickstarter plus 20% VAT. Which is easy, now the trickier part is the collection fee of between 3 and 5%… that must be the problem… that £10,000 they couldn’t account for screwed it all up.

    • Optimaximal says:

      Peter Molyneux: No, I don’t, I disagree John. I have no idea how much money it costs to make a game

      • Baboonanza says:

        That was the quote that got me. If you don’t have the ability to estimate how much a game will cost to make you have no business running a game studio and should absolutely not be running Kickstarters to fund it.

        It’s understandable that indie devs could make funding mistakes like that but for an industry veteren like PM it’s inexcusable.

        • Gibs says:

          Oh he can has a studio alright. Producer should know how long it takes to do X, Y or Z and can schedule, setting deadlines ecc. Seems to me they kickstarted their project without even knowing exactly what game they wanted to make. Features ecc can be added during development and sometimes the game morphs into something else, but you gotta have a pretty good idea of what you want at the beginning, you cant make it up as you go, it needs careful planning. Or perhaps the result of the original plan just wasnt fun…

  13. Baranor says:

    Wow. Just wow.

    I bought black n white telling my wife ” nah its great.. Molyneux made it… ” ages on I saw Godus and Curiosity and thought… ” DID HE GO BONKERS?”

    Yes he did. Good interview.

  14. Premium User Badge

    Philopoemen says:

    Lol don’t ever become a lawyer. You would have been shut down within the first 10 minutes. I’m surprised he let it continue, though I wonder if the persecution complex feeds the narcissism.

    That reminded me of the old Derek Smart rants on comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.strategic, but at least Derek hadn’t yet taken any monies.

    • Sleepy Will says:

      I disagree, that’s exactly how solicitors and barristers need to talk, when they are being fed bs from their own clients!

    • James Currie says:

      If you were a prosecution lawyer and you got a defendant to cross-examine like PM, with his record. Asking ‘Are you a pathological lier’ is a perfectly apt question. John would make a good lawyer.

      • Farsi Myrtle says:

        Is your legal experience based on TV shows? It’s a bad question the defendant would not be in a position to answer. It would be a confrontational opening designed to throw the defendant off balance, and the judge would probably step in and tell the lawyer to get on with the real questions. John might make a decent TV show lawyer.

        • Harrington says:

          Eh? I used to practice criminal law, and questions like that are not at all uncommon as an opening if you know you’ve got something to hit them with. It’s a bit dramatic, but the criminal legal profession is utterly full of dramatists.

    • Raoul Duke says:

      Don’t YOU ever become a lawyer. That was rather like a cross-examination – was my first thought, actually. Apart from the bits when John got emotional.

  15. AngoraFish says:

    There’s no question that Molyneux is a dick, and I’m a backer that’s as pissed off as anyone about the state of the game, but that interview came off as grossly and unnecessarily combative and there really wasn’t any need for it.

    Also, throwing around this accusation about “lying” is being done far too casually in this whole series of articles and interviews. Lying means stating something as fact that one knows at the time to be untrue, it does not include changing one’s mind afterwards, even if one does so fully aware of the statements and commitments previously made.

    There’s no question that Molyneux has some kind of Asperger’s-like disorder that means that he’s able to completely ignore any and all of his own statements and commitments a few minutes after he’s made those statements and commitments, but this doesn’t therefore imply anything other than a type of incompetence, and almost certainly not intentional lying or fraud.

    What I would have liked teased out in the interview, and what ended up being lost in the adversarial slanging match above, is why 22 Cans started making a mobile game instead of a PC game, because at least 75% of all problems with the game can be attributed to that one fact alone.

    • Arren says:

      There’s no question that Molyneux has some kind of Asperger’s-like disorder that means that he’s able to completely ignore any and all of his own statements and commitments a few minutes after he’s made those statements and commitments, but this doesn’t therefore imply anything other than a type of incompetence…

      You are an ass-clown.

      Next time you decide you want to play psychologist and issue an internet-diagnosis, do yourself a favor and at least spend five fucking minutes at Google University getting your terminology straight, dolt.

      • AngoraFish says:

        Hit a nerve, did I?

        • Cei says:

          I think it’s more the fact that what you describe isn’t Aspergers at all.

        • Ross Angus says:

          Hitting a nerve should not be something to be proud of.

        • Senethro says:

          Yes, but not in the way you think.

          Leave what you tried to do to the professionals.

        • Ysellian says:

          If this was a small time developer, someone with little experience in the business you don’t spout accusations of lying. This is Peter Molyneux, someone who should know better. In general I feel journalists pulled too many punches.

        • Ysellian says:

          wrong reply. :/

        • Christo4 says:

          If you mean that you failed at describing Asperger’s, then yeah

        • Morlock says:

          Just believe us when we tell you that your description of Asperger’s is incorrect. I don’t think there is anything about PM’s public persona that suggests that he has Asperger’s or in fact has from any pathology. This includes pathological lying, which is why I enjoyed the interview but wished John had phrased his opening question differently (without changing the intent). But then, I am a psychologist (not a psychiatrist, mind you) who works with some pathologies so I may be too sensitive.

          • April March says:

            I’d say deciding he isn’t absolutely neurotypical is something one could come to think after reading an interview such as this. But diagnosing someone’s mental state from their public appearances is like diagnosing someone’s cataracts by examining the photo on their driver’s licence.

        • pasports31 says:

          Well, first off Asperger’s has been disbanded from the DSM has a disorder altogether, and second off what you described isn’t Asperger’s at all, so yeah.

          • spelunker says:

            Slightly misleading there. It hasn’t been disbanded entirely, the entire way in with Autism conditions are classified has changed to make them simpler. So rather than a number of umbrella conditions with exist as a gradient of the same overarching condition, they’ve all been folded together under the term of Autistic Spectrum.

            Very different thing to saying it’s been entirely junked. It’s merely been re-classified. And even then it was extremely controversial, many clinicians still use the original term, and the DSM isn’t the only psychiatric manual going.

          • Cei says:

            The new DSM is a piece of shit, so that doesn’t mean anything. I use ICD10 on the whole, or even revert to the older DSM. The changes to autistic spectrum were made unilaterally without much thought.

        • Pobblepop says:

          Implying that you’re happy you may have? Twat.

      • BTA says:

        I agree with you completely on this, though I think the interview itself has similar problems with regard to what a “pathological liar” is. Some of this interview was deserved but other parts came across as really gross and that opening question sure didn’t help.

    • Granath says:

      I agree with AngoraFish.

      I have no love for Moly. His games have been over-promised, under-delivered and he has really screwed some things up. I haven’t purchased one of his games in years.

      But John comes across as a MASSIVE dick. If I were a game developer, I would never consent to an interview with RPS after reading this. The first question is asking him if he’s a pathological liar? What kind of crap is that? It’s unprofessional, confrontational and unnecessary. It’s one thing if you set up the question by catching him in many mistruths as you move through the interview. It’s entirely another to toss that shit-ball out as the first question. So not only does John come across as an absolute weenie, he comes across as an unprofessional one.

      Congrats John, you did something I thought wouldn’t be possible. You made me feel sympathy for Peter Molyneux.

      • oggnogg says:

        I felt pity for Peter, too. But only because John’s initial statement proved to be so true.

      • Babymech says:

        I can’t believe how bad the state of modern journalism has gotten, to the point where a reporter will ask someone who appears to the world to be a pathological liar if that person is a pathological liar. How dare he.

      • James Currie says:

        The punches pulled were fair, one got to the heart of the issues. the opening question asked for an answer that a lot of people wanted. As PM undeniably has a track record of promising things that don’t happen and then going ‘I didn’t promise that!’

        To the layman that is a pathological liar, though it is not the actual definition.

        Also remember that RPS is a little odd in terms of journalism. On the one hand it does the usual press release ‘woo a shiny trailer’ stuff but then occasionally (such as with today’s JC3 article) does a little punditry as well, speculation not based on professional journalism, but the musings of an intelligent gamer asking the same questions as the readers and putting it into words for our consumption and discussion in the comments. To see the occasional emotional punches that John was puling would be out of place on the strictly professional journalism site – but that’s not what RPS is.

        That’s my 2 pennies on the interview and its professionalism. They come with a free cookie.

        • royaltyinexile says:

          Hi, I’m here for my free cookie.

          Where’s my cookie, exactly? I see a cookie was pledged.

          This is not a cookie. This is a barely half of broken cookie.

          Where’s my cookie, damn it, are you a pathological liar?!

    • sixsixtrample says:

      He specifically said in an interview re: Kickstarter campaigns: “There’s this overwhelming urge to over-promise because it’s such a harsh rule: if you’re one penny short of your target then you don’t get it. And of course in this instance, the behaviour is incredibly destructive, which is ‘Christ, we’ve only got 10 days to go and we’ve got to make £100,000, for f**k’s sake, lets just say anything’. So I’m not sure I would do that again.”

      That is actually the definition of lying. It absolutely needs to be stated and asked. All of the evidence points to lies, not adjusting or changing your mind. Making wild claims about your game while not knowing how to implement them or what the timeline would be is lying.

      • Christo4 says:

        Pretty much. “Let’s just say anything to get the money” is pretty much the definition of con-artists.
        If your game can’t get money on kickstarter with what you can promise realistically, then it doesn’t deserve to get founded. Lying about it doesn’t make it somehow better.

    • eggy toast says:

      Lying can be lots of things. You can lie by omitting important relevant details, for instance. You can lie by misrepresenting facts. You can, in fact, lie by saying that something will certainly happen when you (at best) have no clue if it is even possible. That’s a lie, and it’s the rosiest paint you can smear on Pete’s shit sandwiches.

    • ruzvelt says:

      [quote]Also, throwing around this accusation about “lying” is being done far too casually in this whole series of articles and interviews. Lying means stating something as fact that one knows at the time to be untrue, it does not include changing one’s mind afterwards, even if one does so fully aware of the statements and commitments previously made.[/quote]

      No, lying is “a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.”

      When he says how he felt that in order for kickstarter to be successful there was a need to promise more things. Basically he wanted the publicity from Kickstarter, along with its cash so he could drum up hype in order to sell the game to the publisher, which he, shortly afterwards did. He’s more than a liar, he’s a conman, a swindler.

      • spelunker says:

        “No, lying is “a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.”

        So what was him admitting that they literally just made shit up in the final stretch to ensure they reached their funding goal?

  16. DThor says:

    Well done. Basically this is someone who doesn’t know how to run a business, which is fine since the majority of people fall into that category. It’s a bit like writing a book – superficially it seems fairly straightforward: make a product someone wants, market it, set up an infrastructure to deliver it and receive payment, and profit. Surely since there are industries out there to actually help new business people it must be even easier, right? Well, as those who have done can attest, it’s not. It’s hard, and on top of all the hard work there’s even random events that can kill you dead. This guy openly claims that games are somehow different from every other business venture, are based on pure chaotic chance and whaddya gonna do? Which is bullshit. Try opening a restaurant, see what real chaos is. So his response to this special world is to lie. Lie a lot. Hope it comes true. When it starts to go south – move on. The only tragedy here is the crowds of people that invest in his “business model”.

    • Raoul Duke says:

      This is a key point.

      He may, in fact, still know how to make good games.

      But he needs to be a 2IC, someone who comes up with GAME ideas, rather than BUSINESS ideas. He needs zero control over budget or staff or, most of all, PR.

  17. Anthile says:

    That was very surreal. You don’t see interviews like this every often. So, kudos for that that.

    • Zephro says:

      I used to, Paxman used to do that to lying politicians every day of the week. I quite enjoyed seeing someone being skewered and held to an account of their actions.

      Though seeing it on a games website was pretty surreal.

      • Golwar says:

        The question is if this is appropriate and if it does any good.
        Did we receive any information from Peter that we wouldn’t have gotten with a different style of interview? Nope, not as far as I can tell.

        And that’s the huge difference between the RPS interview here and what Eurogamer achieved when they reported about Bryan Henderson’s experiences.
        Eurogamer gave us information and insight, RPS made some of us frolic in Peter’s public shaming and others were disgusted. Neither of both is journalism.

        • iainl says:

          Really? Because we’ve not had this kind of thing from Molyneux before, and I’ve been reading his misleading claims, his misdirection and his flat-out lies since the Amiga days without anyone challenging them to his face.

          • Golwar says:

            If everything else that you read from him previously was misleading, where did you get more detailed answers here?

            He still claims that game development is a mystical and unpredictable thing. You still only have a vague schedule for Godus. You still only know that he is getting too emotional and carried away in his planning phase. And you got the name of some people who currently work on the game.
            All that information was already known or could have been gained by polite and straightforward questions, without any agenda.

            What else did we get? Oh, he explained why he was in that hotel. Whow, that totally makes this the greatest interview ever! I really needed to know about that hotel room to understand Peter at a very intimate level.

            Really everyone knew: If there is anyone in this industry deemed to promise too much, that’s Peter. And everyone knows that Kickstarter is far from being a safe bet.
            So whoever decided to invest in Godus nevertheless, must have had some damn good reasons. Which are still valid. And they can hardly suggest to be shocked or surprised.

            So yeah, I’m totally unimpressed by this kind of interview. It caused a turmoil solely for its style, not for the information it gained and delivered. And that’s bad journalism. If it is journalism at all.

      • Kempston Wiggler says:

        Paxman? Leave it out! Man’s an Establishment shill of the highest order.

        Brian Walden was the true hero of Journalism. Wish there were a hundred more like him but of course the media don’t allow that kind of thing any more because it upsets the politicians, poor darlings.

        • Kempston Wiggler says:

          John did well – I’m a huge fan of his earlier journalistic efforts – but he does need to find a way to tame the rage. This interview, while ultimately worthwhile, does contain very unprofessional behaviour and language from the start: (reader discretion advised)..

          • Kempston Wiggler says:

            Kudos to PMol for allowing it to continue because at times it was the journalistic equivalent of watching two dogs fighting in a ditch.

      • plugmonkey says:

        Paxman used to do that to lying politicians every day of the week. I quite enjoyed seeing someone being skewered and held to an account of their actions.

        And now it’s the only sort of political journalism that exists. No effort is ever made to inform me as a viewer, only to score points against the ‘opponent’.

        And now it’s here in the videogame sphere, and this is not a good thing. It is completely and utterly without worth.

  18. Cei says:

    To me it sounds like PM jumped on the KickStarter bandwagon without thinking it through enough. It represented free money to develop a game, or at least start developing a game, without a publisher hanging over his head. What he didn’t realise is that those individual backers can be worse than a publisher if you don’t meet your promises/goals due to the publicity they can generate en masse. Secondly, he knew that KickStarter would just be seed money for Godus and that he hadn’t asked for enough (because he knew they wouldn’t get the full £1.5mil), so the move to mobile to raise income was no doubt planned…just not communicated.

    PM over promises, fact. Publishers generally take the brunt of this, although it does mean games can be a bit disappointing to customers when they finally release rather late. KickStarter just airs all the dirty laundry. PM is wrong that he has no reputation though, he does, but one he shouldn’t want. He needs to abandon crowd funding and go back to the traditional method and actually release a good game.

    • Cei says:

      Hm, somehow I can’t edit.

      I do think RPS was a bit unfair at points. Challenging him over a trip to a hotel? Really? Sorry, but even with the state of Godus he’s entitled to some time off, and the guy is wealthy so can afford a nice hotel (or be given a night by a friend). Not sure why you went down that line really.

      • Everblue says:

        I felt like the article was overly harsh and personally aggressive at times. It was poor journalism, in my opinion.

      • Babymech says:

        He wasn’t challenging him about the hotel. Read. He was challenging him about lying about going to events. That was the entire thesis of the interview – that Molyneux lies pathologically – and you completely missed it. Read.

        • Cei says:

          Err, no. PM said that he doesn’t go to events for days on end and spend it “schmoozing” around (his example was spending five days at GDC). PM followed it up with details – if invited to do a talk, he goes for literally the bare minimum amount of time required to do that talk and then leaves.

          RPS then decided to have a dig at him for staying at a nice hotel prior to a few meetings.

          • Babymech says:

            RPS: I’m not denying that you work hard, I’m just saying that you are going to events. It’s silly to say that you’re not going to events.

            Peter Molyneux: You just accused me of holidaying in the Mayfair Hotel!

            RPS: No, I’m not, I’m just pointing out that you were there for Casual Connect, you do go to events.

            Peter Molyneux: No, I was there for one night and one night only.

            RPS: Sure, but, OK. It was just an odd point, you were saying you don’t go to events and you went to one last week. It just seemed an odd–

            Peter Molyneux: Yeah, and I could have spent– I was over in Amsterdam, great place to spend some time, isn’t it? You’d think I’d take just a couple of days extra just to spend it in the coffee shops. I flew in there, I landed at 11 o’clock at night, I went and I did my talk, and I was back in the office by 6 o’clock in the evening. I am completely dedicated to what I do.

          • Babymech says:

            And if I could edit I would, but I might have realized why you thought RPS was having a dig at PM. Was it their emphasis on his enjoyment of the hotel? Because honestly, they were downplaying how much he enjoyed it:

            peter molyneux @pmolyneux: “Staying at the sublime, wonderful Mayfair hotel, going to the fascinating pocket gamer expo. Great for inspiration.”

            1) Holy crap he can’t mention anything without overselling it, and 2) does he really need new inspiration?

          • iainl says:

            If RPS did want to have a go at him for staying at the “sublime, wonderful” Mayfair Hotel, then just after he’s claimed that the reason people won’t get the Kickstarter rewards they paid for is because 22 Cans are skint isn’t a bad place, though.

      • Premium User Badge

        DrollRemark says:

        But when Molyneux’s own defense is “I’m working ridiculous hours and I don’t go to conferences because I’m so committed to Godus,” I think you’re perfectly entitled to say “well hang on, you were just in a hotel for GDC last week.” Because that’s basically another lie – you’re not permanently in the office, so why pretend to be.

        • Cei says:

          Except you’re paraphrasing poorly.

          PM’s defence is that he doesn’t get a social life and spends a lot of time in the office. He doesn’t spend five days at GDC just because he can, but does a talk/panel and then leaves after spending the minimum time there. RPS then get uppity about the fact he dared to stay in a hotel the night before. PM wasn’t saying he never ever leaves the office.

          • Premium User Badge

            DrollRemark says:

            Molyneux only clarified that he was there to do a talk and leave, after the question about the hotel though. Before that, all he’d said was that he doesn’t have time to schmooze at conferences. Given that he tweeted about the Mayfair hotel and Pocket Gamer* conference just last week, I think John was perfectly entitled to ask him about it.

            *Sorry, not GDC, don’t know where I got that from last time.

      • Jeremy says:

        It was less about the hotel and event, but once again calling him out on a statement he made just above that one. He doesn’t go to events, except, that he does go to events. It came across to me as John pointing out what it means to say things that are not true without realizing it, aka pathological lying. That’s PM’s MO, and he has direct evidence in the interview that he consistently says things that aren’t true in order to fit a personal narrative that isn’t based in reality.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      Perhaps so. Kickstarter is completely different animal, you’re directly asking an audience to take you on faith. That big number on the right-hand side of the page isn’t just a dollar figure, its trust. 100% pure concentrated trust. Even Tim Schafer is finding out that it doesn’t matter how beloved you are or how far your legacy extends, misusing that trust will get you dragged through the mud of the Internet.

      • Cei says:

        Indeed. Therein lies the problem and PM’s lack of understanding. He obviously thought those backers would be happy with a release whenever, with a lack of information to boot. That simply isn’t how (successful) KickStarter projects work.

  19. Premium User Badge

    Head Bob says:

    No, I actually said, “I wish I hadn’t focused on,” I didn’t say I shouldn’t have done.

    But John didn’t say shouldn’t have done not hadn’t focused on, so that fact that you said said you said you wished you hadn’t focused on, not hadn’t done, doesn’t change the fact that you said you wish you hadn’t focussed on, but did.

  20. eggy toast says:

    WOW “I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly lied” is not one but two qualifiers on what should be an open and shut sentence.

    He can’t even say he’s not a liar, he can only say he thinks he probably isn’t deliberately a liar. So milquetoast it makes me sick.

  21. Veles says:

    That was quite a read.

    To be honest, I don’t know why people seem surprised about this. This guy is renowned for breaking promises with his games. Maybe it’s just been so long since it last happened that people have forgotten.

    To me, Peter Molyneux working on a game without a major publisher behind him cracking the whip to keep him on track was always bound to be a disaster.

    This man cannot make games. His ambition far outweighs what he can deliver.

    • C0llic says:

      That’s not the reason. Delays and an unsatisfying final game is one thing, messing up a kickstarter this badly is another. Pre-ordering isn’t even a similar comparison since by that time a game is much, much further along.

      The difference is you’re taking money from your fans. It’s a different standard to which you have to be held accountable for.

  22. Premium User Badge

    Cross says:

    I don’t know whether Peter Molyneux is a liar or just bad at his job. I really don’t know, and the interview points equally to both sides, but for me personally, the distinction doesn’t matter. Either way, it means that Peter Molyneux never gets a cent off me ever again.

    • trooperwally says:

      I don’t think he intends to deceive. I think he can’t manage a project but unlike other people who have self awareness and hire a project manager he just waves his hands says sorry and blames it on the inherent nature of creativity. The result is that he doesn’t do what he meant to but has so little self awareness that he then does it again and again. Maybe I’m just being soft but either way he really shouldn’t be trusted to make a game. Who knows, if he stayed as a designer rather than being project lead he might shine like he used to.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cross says:

        I’m probably with you here. Whenever a designer or other creative mind takes executive control over as big a project as Godus, it seems to be a tossup whether anything ever actually comes out of it. This is why we have producers, to put lines in the sand and say what goes in and what doesn’t, in order to ensure the budget holds and a game ships.

    • iCowboy says:

      Does anyone think 22Cans has a future after this week? It’s been a masterclass in how not to handle the public and the media and they are now indelibly linked to the catastrophe of Godus.

      • April March says:

        I don’t think this is a problem with handling the press. The handling of the press is completely fine, comparing with PR disasters of yore. The problem is that, like Famous Advertising Dude once said, “nothing does more harm to a bad product than good advertising.”

        Agreeing to a hardline interview with John Walker, Bearlike Journalist and being completely sincere and candid about development would be a good way to clear Godus’ name if what he had to reveal could change what we thought about the project. In fact, I can think of a few occasions where indie devs turned a bout of bad press around by doing just that. It’s what they’re expected to do. But for Peter it didn’t work, because he didn’t show anything of worth. He just showed that everyone was working and somehow not making progress.

      • Danley says:

        Absolutely, if they make good games. You should be able to have a business with absolutely no PR.

  23. Baltech says:

    Shit son, that was the first time an interview made me do a spit take, and with the first question no less! About time somebody called him on his bullshit.

    But seriously, if he can’t budget a game after 30 years in this business, what the hell is he even still doing in game development? And even if he’s never been more than an ideas man, even then he should at least have a little tiny bit of a clue, no? Ballpark numbers?

  24. Asdfreak says:

    I don’t really want to defend him or the way he solved the monetary problems, but he IS right in the first part of the interview. It is absolutely ridiculous how hard it is to estimate how long any kind of software is going to take to make. I say this as a game dev whose batchlor in games engineering is about estimating and reducing the time needed for software problems. The problem allways is, you have NO idea how hard something is really going to be untill you are actively trying to code it or modelling it. I don’t mean modelling like in a design document or game plan or a later stage of planning, but when you take a more scientific and algorithm oriented aproach at the problem. Unless you are doint Yet Another Useless Clone Game(Tm), you can just not really estimate it.
    I have yet to hear about a single difficult problem in software or games development that was developed on time and on buget without a decent amount of crunch time.

    Then again this is Molyneux…. I don’t know anymore wether to think about him as a serious game dev. He is right in the even he, as someone with a lot of experience in developling games can’t estimate all this, but does it justify lying about not getting a publisher? I don’t know what to think of it, just that I would only have done that if everything else had failed, after trying to raise more money, after making the reasons clear to the community. Optimally never, but he is again right in that he has to run a company and that employees normally appreciate getting paid.

    • sonson says:

      “It is absolutely ridiculous how hard it is to estimate how long any kind of software is going to take to make.”

      Then you either shouldn’t promise things you can’t deliver, or alternatively, only promise things over time you can. That’s how pretty much every other business works, anything which requires some form of captial or investment, there is a return element to be considered. Which is what 22cans is. Not some fucking rainbow factory as Molyneux paints it. It’s not a charity. It requires money, it’s magical artistry has been valued, by it’s own CEO, as being a property that can be valued as financial. It requires other people’s money, money that isn’t as easy to come by for a lot of people that it once was. That makes it a business. It means people who go into a financial relationship with it’s product should be able to consider it a business, and expect a buinsess like relationship.

      What Molyneux makes clear to me here is that he basically feels as though his Kickstarter backers are bestowing some form of creative patronage on him for him to pursue his ideas at other people’s expense.

      • Everblue says:

        But isn’t what that Kickstarter is? You aren’t paying up front for a game, you are contributing towards the development of a game. You are aren’t owed anything – even a finished game.

        • sonson says:

          Not for the Banner Saga. Not for Shadowrun. Not for Wasteland 2. Not for etc.

          There is a very clear tier system that allows for people to effectively toss a buck in sponsorship or support of an individual or company if it is put in place. Less than 500 people took up this opportunity, whereas 10,000 plus people pledged enough to gain a copy of a game which is, in the words of it’s creators, only half finished three-ish years later.

          Those people aren’t owed money back necessarily, no. But y’know-it’s a gesture of goodwill and integrity, not unlike those who pledged money to the Kickstarter, to give that back if asked, along the lines of common sense/decency.

          Because this supposedly isn’t about the money. It’s about creativity, making dreams happen, and PM would have us believe that money is an ugly or meaningless medium which merley makes it happen. It’s all about the vision, the humanity, the feels. Why do all these ruthless investors want their money back? he opines.

          Yet in spite of the fact that it’s all about creativity and dreams and people and not money, and we’re all in it together and he’s so grateful to his backers, he is incredibly tight-fisted when it comes to applying this financial model to himself rather than just his backers. His gratitude does not extend beyond playing the role of a Shakespearean wretched sycophant. He talks about how sorry he is but demonstrates nothing in his actions. He is the walking example of how cheap talk is. Money is only an object when it’s his. Otherwise it is this ugly impediment and why do people keep bringing it up he’s a dream weaver etc.

          If he wasn’t such a hypocrite I would just leave it at the fact that he’s a failed businessman making bad games, but he has this ideological strain to what he says that I find outright frightening to be honest.

          • Everblue says:

            You refer to “investors”. This is not what Kickstarter is. It’s not what Crowdfunding is. You are not buying anything. You are not owed anything.

          • DXN says:

            You are owed the pledge rewards, and while you may not be legally bound to finish the game, it should hardly be surprising that people take you to task for it when you don’t.

        • fallenelf says:

          The thing is, you’re not promised anything except pledge rewards. If the funding is met, then the stretch goals must be delivered upon. In this case, a copy of the game is part of the rewards (he’s saying the alpha is good enough) as well as many of the other goals.

          If he never promised the game, then yes, he’s under no requirement to deliver the game. However, since he met his goal, he does need to fulfill the pledge rewards. If he doesn’t do that, he should refund the money (or, Kickstarter should go after him for the money to return to people).

    • Zephro says:

      I dunno I’m a dev in the games industry and we’ve all gotten better at it through experience. The more senior engineers are far more accurate. The reason things normally go over is the interference of management or snake oil salesmen in marketing.

      The 30 years of experience point John made is entirely relevant.

    • Premium User Badge

      DrollRemark says:

      Funny, I thought that too, and then I went to work in non-games software development, and I found out that actually, it’s really not that hard to estimate work. Even if you’re out, in most circumstances you’re out by about 10% of your overall estimate.

      The main difference between the two industries is that software devs generally know the majority of what the finished product should look like before they start. Games have this tendency to make it up as they go along, or… promise things they haven’t projected for (gasp!)

      • Zephro says:

        I think it’s the games designers. When you’re doing something more server related that I take some data in from somewhere and output it elsewhere it’s fairly straight forward to get within 10% of the estimated time.

      • solidsquid says:

        It’s not difficult to do moderately accurate estimates if you have a set scope for what you’re estimating. It seems like Peter has a tendancy to keep adding new features without even consulting his developers mid-development, which means that no estimate is going to be accurate. If he actually stuck to the scope of the project somewhat then his estimates might, amazingly, be in the right ball park

    • Quirk says:

      Molyneux is right, it genuinely is hard. There are places in software engineering where it isn’t as hard. However, your total project time for your main project falling within 10% of your estimates is only possible if what you’re doing isn’t really all that challenging, and your requirements and spec are well and truly nailed down from the outset. To get all software project managery here, your “cone of uncertainty” is never going to be anything like as narrow as 10% at project kickoff for anything seriously novel.

      I’m an experienced C++ contractor, currently developing a trading system for a bank. A previous project of the bank’s (which wasn’t even C++, before any language wars start) expanded from the planned one team for nine months up to an entire floor working on it over twice that period – maybe close to an order of magnitude out in estimation. The key problem there was a failure to appreciate the complexity of a legacy system, exacerbated by politics. Even without the politics, though, estimating a replacement for a poorly understood legacy system is inherently messy.

      New games development is closer to start-up terrain than that, though, and start-up country, where I’ve spent most of my development career, is wild. You can end up planning to do things that you don’t even know are technically possible, on the hope a market exists for them. If you don’t find a way to solve the technical issues within your budget, or find a market, you’d better hope your plan B works. Most start-ups fold. Start-up founders tend to be incredibly optimistic people. And, before anyone points out that you don’t have to write game engines from scratch any more, so you can shield yourself from the scariest technical issue: that’s true, but games live and die by user interaction, and the process of iterating that toward perfect is difficult and costly and hard to estimate.

      That said, there are limits here. Half a million among 22 people is chicken feed. £30K isn’t an average salary in non-games software where I am, it buys you at best a junior with about two years of experience out of university. That £30K gross also doesn’t include the cost of your employer’s NI, office space, computers, all the sundry overheads. It doesn’t sound like he had a sound business plan for the size of operation he wanted to run; it was too hopeful from the start, even assuming everything went his way and the game they initially designed was built without any technical difficulties and was fun to play without any real revisions.

      I feel for the man, though. He’s clearly a compulsive exaggerator, a hopeless optimist, the kind of guy who needs sat on by saner individuals when budgets and estimates are being discussed, and he’s operating out of his depth. He never deserved the respect he got previously as the public face of better organised teams, but a lot of the vitriol that’s going to come his way will come from people who have no real appreciation of the difficulties of his field. The emotion in this interview is very raw and real. I hope he finds a happy resolution to this.

      • emertonom says:

        I’d have more sympathy for the guy on this point if he didn’t make two conflicting points in this interview:

        1. “I asked everybody here, how long do you think we’ll need to develop the game in full. We all agreed that nine months was about the right amount of time to complete the game. We did the due diligence on it…I believed that Godus would take nine months. To be honest with you, if you told me back then it would take two, three years, I probably would have said, ‘Oh god, we probably won’t do Godus then.’ I believe that.”

        2. “One thing, Godus will be one of the fastest games I’ve ever done. If you go back and look at every single game I’ve ever worked on, ever, other than Fable 3, they’ve all taken longer than with the exception perhaps of the original Populous. They’ve all taken longer.”

        These two really seem to me to be at odds. He’s had years of experience in which he’s never developed a game in less than two or three years, and yet here he believed that he could develop this totally new kind of game in a matter of months? If we take his word for it that he genuinely believed that, then he was definitely being dishonest to himself. But when he turned around and put it on kickstarter at that amount, and said that this way they’d never have to get a published involved, at that point, he was being dishonest to other people as well.

        • Quirk says:

          My suspicion is that the nine months estimate was not made on the feature set that they ended up with. I can imagine it starting from a “how long would it take to do a fame like Populus now?” or a “what could we get developed in nine months?” conversation and then suffering rapid feature creep every time Molyneux opened his mouth.

          The guy should never be put in charge of a studio or allowed to talk to the press. Everything he says needs vetted by finance and engineering before it makes it into a business plan, product description or press release. The tragedy he’s heading into is in part fuelled by his lack of awareness of this.

          Still, once you’ve been in a few start-ups and seen the optimism of the founders encounter the hard rocks of reality, it’s very hard not to have some sympathy for his position.

  25. Retne says:

    Hmm, interesting article. Great even. If uncomfortable to read. I have to say respect to both for either the direct questions or staying with the interview and not storming off.

    I do agree with AngoraFish in that it seemed a little unnecessarily combative. For me only because that’s usually counterproductive, nothing wrong with the style per-se. I love that you didn’t back down, but there was a strong emotive element that undermines a bit of this. The first question was classic, but my take on this is that Mr M is simply deluded, not evil. I think he needs a decent CEO to come in over him, and leave him to be creative.

    I, however, didn’t back Godus in the Kickstarter, so I’m seeing it without the pissed-off-funder eyes, and I could see that what’s happened here would raise my hackles if I had a personal investment. I was tempted by the Godus Kickstarter and have invested in other projects (some, like Defense Grid 2 have over-delivered, which is great), but past PM experience has taught me not to try that here.

    • Little_Crow says:

      I’m not sure I’ve ever agreed with a comment on the internet more than Retne’s.

      I don’t think PM is intentionally out to deceive, he certainly aims high, over-effuses about it, and then only delivers a portion of what he says – but generally the portion delivered is a great game.
      I’ve played a lot of PM’s output, and enjoyed it all barring B&W and Powermonger (at 10 I don’t think I grasped the game as well as I did populous the year before).

      I strongly believe the main difference here is that before he was beholden to the Publisher, they held the purse strings and largely kept things in check.
      For Godus he’s ‘answerable’ to 17,184 people, it may just as well be 0. I doubt there are many people who can be both a visionary, head in the clouds, game designer and serious business man worried about release schedules and profit. They just aren’t qualities I can imagine crammed inside a single brain.
      Unfortunately it appears Peter Molyneux has tried to be that person and ultimately failed.

  26. sonson says:

    ” I’m still not going to my son’s play because I had to work on Godus. I’m still getting shouted at by my wife because I’m not home. Do you know what time I got home last night? Two-thirty in the morning. ”

    “Why did it take my writing an article about the fact these things don’t exist for you to get round to start making them?

    Peter Molyneux: I’ll tell you why, John. Because we’re so fucking busy trying to make this game a great game. Everybody here, every single person here is doing something on the game.”

    These are the words of a man whose priorities in life are skewed.

    • Vacuity729 says:

      Thanks for that last quote, the interview’s very long and I couldn’t find that bit. PM clearly contradicts himself later in the interview.
      ________
      RPS: OK, can we just clarify one thing. A number of sites have reported this week that the Godus team has been hugely reduced, there’s very few people left working on it, but you’ve implied that the whole of 22cans is working on it. Where’s the truth in that?

      Peter Molyneux: No, I didn’t say that.
      ________

      Fascinating interview. I’m not convinced that the confrontational style was either desirable or necessary, but I think publishing the interview verbatim was the right choice under the circumstances.

  27. Odontochelys says:

    Sorry, but I have to put it bluntly: That interview is a farce.
    Insulting the other party in the very first sentence isn’t hard hitting journalism, it’s just self-masturbatory and poisons the well for the entire conversation. No matter how hard PM might have screwed up, this is a mentality that is reserved for online messageboards, not for professional conduct.

    • maccy says:

      Yeah, this reads like an outright attack, not a balanced interview, and I think Molyneux came out on top. Software is hard to develop, often projects take longer than you hope – that’s all that this has established.

      Do what he says: get down there and see the studio.

      • sabby says:

        the opening line was incredibly confrontational, shocking and judging by the rest of what came out of peter’s mouth here – completely necessary.

        It’s not comfortable reading, but someone had to finally do this. Those thinking it’s for ‘the good of journalism’ are wrong, it’s for the backers of this game who’ve bankrolled this man under false pretenses for the past 3 years.

        • Pantalaimon says:

          Not even just for the backers of the game, though. It’s for all of us and his own good, too, ultimately.

        • oggnogg says:

          It might not be “*for the good of* journalism”, but isn’t it just “good journalism” to ask these questions? If the other party is squirming like a worm trying to evade your every question and qualifying their every previous answer it’s IMO a journalist’s job to try to nail them to at least one definitive answer.

        • maccy says:

          I don’t think it was necessary at all. This reads how most late software projects read: stuff was more complicated than previously expected. That’s how it often goes with large scale projects: they’re very difficult to predict. In the past, the public has been shielded from this in gaming, with the exception of years of interviews saying “The Last Guardian is still in development guys, we promise”. Now it’s the public’s money on the line, but that’s all that’s changed – being accountable to the masses doesn’t make it any easier to develop software.

          • a8a says:

            Thing is, it can be mitigated. The basic points are:

            1) He has 30 years experience making games. If, in that time, he has not learned how to keep projects on target, then he should have at least learned that his estimates will always be too short. That is what contingency is for – it is essential for any project. He may have genuinely believed that the entire project would be done in 9 months, but pragmatically, he should have suspected that he would need longer, and therefore more money. The fact that he only asked for 9 months worth of money on kickstarter suggests that there were deliberate misrepresentations of how much it would cost, in order to guarantee some funding – or that he is incapable of learning from literally every project he has ever done.

            2) A publisher would hold him accountable for this mess. The meetings may be less vitriolic than that, but they would be much rougher in practise on him and his company. He makes it clear what he thinks of having a publisher in the interview (“And why are you beating me up on these dates things? You sound like a publisher.“). He doesn’t like being accountable to publishers and he doesn’t like being held to dates. Clearly this was a big attraction of kickstarter to him – no one can shut him down or force him to release early, and all money is paid up front. These kind of interviews are the only way that he can be held accountable to the investors.

            Ultimately, I really dont believe that he should be on Kickstarter. I backed Elite: Dangerous and Double Fine Adventure, both of which were successful to relative degrees, but I have come around to the view that Kickstarter should not be used by well known developers who just dont want to be held accountable to publishers any longer. For one thing, in some cases accountability is essential to the process. For another, it damages the ability for genuinely indie developers with no publisher contacts but an interesting idea to use the platform effectively.

    • amateurviking says:

      There’s a big difference between saying ‘you are a pathological liar’ and ‘do you think you are a pathological liar?’

      When an experienced person has a reputation for over promising and under delivering it is a reasonable question too. Especially when the over promise is directly tied to securing funding for laypeople.

      The italics are important too.

      • Farsi Myrtle says:

        There’s a big difference between saying ‘you are a pathological liar’ and ‘do you think you are a pathological liar?’

        Only grammatically. It’s a rhetorical question, and an accusation whichever way you phrase it. John continues to call him a liar elsewhere in the interview.

        • Josh W says:

          And seen as John says “are you a pathological liar?” the emphasis suggests that the question can be focused on the qualifier, leaving the general statement implicit, ie; “You’re obviously a liar, what kind of liar are you?”.

    • eggy toast says:

      He should be on the defensive: at this point he has swindled £500 000 out of the public at large, and done such a poor job with that money that a significant chunk of the company that he founded for this project have left the games industry all together because it was such a fuck up.

      Honestly he deserves to be defending himself in court over all of this, but in an interview is a decent start.

    • C0llic says:

      It should be noted, that while a strong term, ‘pathological liar’ isn’t the same as habitual liar. Not even close. I invite anyone to look that up.

      I can see why people would take issue with the opening tone, but honestly, Molyneux is so wishy washy and rambling, how else can a person hope to get real answers but by being brutally and directly honest ? All John did here was actually say what many people who have loved the man’s games, from populous onward, have been thinking for some time.

      I suspect Monlyneux’s big problem is that the possibilities are much greater these days, but the realities are the same. And he’s never been able to separate reality from the ideas in his head.

    • Railboy says:

      I say this as someone who feels a lot of sympathy for Molyneux and feels no desire to see him kicked while he’s down: not only was this interview NOT a farce, it was absolutely necessary for Molyneux’s sake.

      It was uncomfortable to read – this approach would be inappropriate in almost any other case – but things would have gone much worse for him in the long run if no one had made some blunt accusations. Resentment would have grown as people grumbled that he had slipped away from yet another mess unscathed.

      This interview was like lancing a festering boil. Unpleasant yes, but now the healing can start.

    • Fenix says:

      I hope you aren’t listening to the sea of comments like this one, RPS folks. Interviews like this one is why I have chosen to trust this site to get my gaming updates and info from, and if people want to read soulless samey interviews they can read one of the countless vanilla gaming sites out there.

  28. sixsixtrample says:

    Standing ovation for some actual games journalism.

    RPS thank you for asking real questions and not stopping when you got bullshit answers.

    You just made a reader for life. I’m not even a backer and I know Molyneux is a snake oil salesman, but just the fact that you actually asked in depth questions is awesome.

    Thank you!

    • arctic.vampire says:

      Great article.. Great read..
      Good to know that some journalists take their job seriously..

      People paid good money……to wait on broken promises and ….
      I would have asked, if you have been working hard,every day…exactly where is the game?
      What do you have to show for your efforts, because at this point it’s nothing..

      The part of the interview where you ask him about refunds…
      Just wow John..

      Well done sir, well don..

    • cqdemal says:

      I still think John was unnecessarily confrontational and hostile in this interview, but at the same time this also made me feel completely justified in my decision to actually give money to RPS. This is an article I’ll remember for years and years.

  29. colorlessness says:

    Man, I didn’t back Godus, but it’s really clear the whole thing is a shitshow at this point, isn’t it? PM can’t even be made to understand why other people would think he lied about things he clearly lied about. His ultimate excuse is basically “I said so many things, some of them were bound to be untrue.” John is right, that is pathological behaviour.

  30. wyrm4701 says:

    I’m only half way through reading this, and … I’m having trouble comprehending the scope of Peter Molyneux’s commitment to his delusion. He’s an infantile fraud.

    Good interview, John. Thanks for asking the important questions.

  31. Cerzi says:

    I miss the days when John was at PC Gamer, a time where a certain amount of mutual respect existed between games journos and designers. Don’t get me wrong, Molyneux has gone so very wrong over the years, but I genuinely dislike this approach to getting answers from him. Pushing a man to self destruct like this may make for great reading, but doesn’t that just lower you to his level?

    • Pantalaimon says:

      Alternatively, John respects him enough, and respects his contribution to gaming enough, to ask him hugely challenging questions which I’m sure he’d rather not be putting to someone on the other end of a phone. I don’t read this as a lack of respect, it’s about having such of a love of the guys past output that he feels compelled to put the questions to him in the manner he did. And frankly you could put a lot of gamers in John’s shoes and they would not be remotely as polite.

    • Christo4 says:

      How is it lowering to his level, if you are confronting him?
      You would just let him do his own thing right?
      Well, i appreciate John for doing this article. You should respect developers who respect their gamers and who don’t openly excuse lying to get funded on kickstarter.

    • eggy toast says:

      Regardless of intent, Pete has functioned as a scam artist for more than the last decade. Every single project he has worked on sold pre-sales based on promises he made that people under him knew were not possible. He doesn’t deserve to be treated with any more professional politeness than someone who habitually robs banks or picks pockets, he is a person who makes a living off of deception, even if he can’t admit that to himself and even if those deceptions are not illegal enough to stand up in court.

    • Premium User Badge

      DrollRemark says:

      I’ll bet you a pre-order amount of money that Molyneux hasn’t actually self-destructed. I fully expect him to start promoting The Trail as boisterously as any of his previous games, just as soon as he thinks it’s safe to do so.

      And if he really does stop the press commitments? I can’t help but feel that might actually be a good thing, for all parties.

    • Chris D says:

      He’s not being pushed to self destruct. It’s a deflection tactic that he’s used repeatedly in the past and John is right not to fall for it.

      The interview is basically:

      John: “Why have you not done the things you’ve said you would”

      Peter: “I don’t think I said that”

      John: “You said it here”

      Peter: “Why are you being so mean to me!”

      He’s hoping that if he acts contrite enough and tells you how hard he’s been working you’ll forget he hasn’t answered the question or be too embarassed to push the point.

      It’s not a harsh interview either, compared to anything Jeremy Paxman would regularly ask on Newsnight and both John and Peter would be familiar with this approach.

    • Toupee says:

      John can hardly get a word in edgewise before Peter melts down. It’s clear that it’s emotional for both sides, but I can imagine John asking his questions in his high-pitched voice, and other folks laughing at the idea of being called a pathological liar.

  32. Babymech says:

    RPS: [Laughs]

    • DXN says:

      This is a digital interview. All journalism is of the highest quality. It depicts an image of a developer and a journalist. The journalist is standing over the developer. The developer is in a fetal position. It is circled with bands of dissemblance. It menaces with spikes of truth.

  33. Cerzi says:

    I miss the days when John was at PC Gamer, a time when a certain amount of mutual respect existed between games journos and designers. Don’t get me wrong, Molyneux has gone so very wrong over the years, but I genuinely dislike this approach to getting answers from him. Pushing a man to self destruct like this may make for great reading, but doesn’t that just lower you to his level?

    • Cerzi says:

      (sorry for the double post, the site was running extra slow – all the traffic of people coming along to see an execution)

    • fallenelf says:

      But is there any respect left between PM and the gaming community as a whole? Reading the answers to the questions, it seems like he was fully ready to dodge questions with fluff answers. Things got more hostile when PM tried to do this.

      Granted, the initial question was direct and inflammatory, but John also tried to bring up some of the good things that PM has done. The problem lied in the fact that PM didn’t want to honestly answer any questions.

  34. Lord Viru says:

    “Bah gawd they killed him, they’ve killed him… as god is my witness he is broken in half”

  35. Premium User Badge

    melnificent says:

    Peter Molyneux: Let me just ask you one question. Do you think from the line of questioning you’re giving me, that this industry would be better without me?

    RPS: I think the industry would be better without your lying a lot.

    Peter Molyneux: I don’t think I lie.

    I think he needs to move away from industries that have him in public facing roles.

  36. unacomn says:

    That was a great interview. This is why I love this site. I can never get a beat on Peter if his head is that high in the clouds, or if he’s aware of what he is doing, and just plays the fool.

  37. Shazbut says:

    This is great stuff

  38. tofusheep says:

    this is what i call real journalism.

    i tip my hat and bow down to you dear mr. walker, that was brilliant.

    this is what real journalism should look like, not only in gaming, the “real news journalists” could learn a lot from this.

    thankyou!

    • honuk says:

      it’s not real journalism at all. it’s masturbating. because john knows the majority of his readers have a distaste for peter molyneux. hell, I have a distaste for peter molyneux. but that doens’t make this a brave, hard hitting piece of journalism. it makes it click bait. there are many kickstarters that have literally folded. taken money and produced nothing. some of them you hear one story about that’s it. some of them you don’t hear about at all. but this one has molyneux’s name attached to it, so it’s a gold mine.

      often on this very site, people–writers and readers alike–defend the notion that kickstarter isn’t a pre-order, that there is risk, that blah blah blah. and all that means is kickstarter has become a place where people go to make shit that they already know people like, which is the exact opposite of what everyone still sells crowd funding as being about. but that’s a different topic. the point here is that when double fine delayed their game several times, then asked for more money, then launched another, separate kickstarter for a different game, then released half of the original game instead of all of it, there were no screaming phone interviews. when star citizen comes up with random shit to promise every day so crazy people can donate thousands more of their money for something that doesn’t exist, there is maybe a little snark, but never any indignation. the molyneux thing is simply a circle jerk because he’s an easy target. he’s right about that.

      • Babymech says:

        You have a very unusual and possibly painful idea about what masturbation is, and should possibly seek medical assistance with that.

      • Deano2099 says:

        Actually, if anything, I’ve found RPS to be harsher on Double Fine than has been warranted. It’s just mostly been done in snark in news posts rather than direct confrontation.

        I wish they’d run an interview like this with Schaefer, because as anyone who has watched the documentary knows, he has answers for the questions Molyneux doesn’t.

      • Premium User Badge

        DrollRemark says:

        How many of those Kickstarter projects were fairly small fry though? How many of the people behind those failed kickstarters have tried again to generate money, and succeeded? How many of them have been backed by an industry veteran with a reputation for failed promises.

        It’s not fair to say “Oh you’re not this harsh on everybody.” John can’t be everywhere.

        • Baines says:

          RPS did sometimes run things about other Kickstarters not delivering. RPS stopped running those articles around the same time people started asking questions about Anita Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter. (RPS denied a connection, and said that Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter wasn’t game news.)

          I would say that RPS has been kinder to Schafer and Double Fine that it has Molyneux. I would guess that there is a bias favoring Schafer, whether warranted or not. RPS certainly gives some targets harsher treatment than others, and softballs or doesn’t cover similar behavior from others. But that does go back to the “warranted or not” part, and Molyneux does just doesn’t seem to stop. He keeps over promising, and not delivering. He keeps saying stuff and contradicting it. He keeps trying to defend things that are just wrong. He shows no sign of learning, and his admissions of fault (when he does admit fault) come off as words spoken with no thought or meaning. Molyneux continuously brings criticism upon himself through his own words and actions. (And it isn’t that Molyneux is in some kind of self-sustaining lose-lose situation. There are plenty of things he could do to turn around how he is perceived. He just doesn’t do any of them.)

      • Pantalaimon says:

        I don’t think the majority of RPS readers have a distaste for Molyneux. A majority probably feel continually let down and frustrated but that’s different. This is not click bait, though. This is a length interview that is worth the read, it’s revelatory, we come away learning something and people might develop their opinions on the subject. It could even have a positive long term effect on the output of PM. That could not be further away from clickbait.

        I agree that Double Fine and co could do with being taken to task a little harder on their projects, though. They are in a similar position, they always go over time and budget, however, they have a better recent track record and none of their games are failures in the way that every post-millennial Molyneux game is. Another difference is that they are much more self-depreciating in their output, they’re very aware when they’re failing and they have a conversation with their supporters/fans/whatever. They are obviously much more savvy with how games development currently works.

        • Bob Barker says:

          ….what about Spacebase DF9? I think by anyone’s standards that would be a “failure”.

  39. Meat Circus says:

    “I love Godus”

    He just can’t help himself with the lies, can he?

    • Tuor says:

      I think he’s one of those guys who truly believes whatever he is saying at the time. In one sense, it’s kind of sad; in another, it is kind of frightening.

      • Kala says:

        Mm. Believing your own bullshit is not the same as lying, but it does look very similar to the outside observer.

  40. Bull0 says:

    Jesus. Well done, you didn’t fuck around at all. That was riveting. He’s his own worst enemy. I feel bad for him, blathering on about how incompetent he is like that’s why people are upset and not because of the constant lies. You can have the best excuse in the world for lying, it’s still lying. Not that I even think “I just love my craft so much that I can’t control what comes out of my mouth” is either a good excuse for that, or that in Peter’s case that’s even true. People who love things tend to take a little more pride in them than Peter obviously does(n’t).

  41. Amatyr says:

    Holy shit. Real games journalism. Who would have thunk it. ;-)

  42. David Bliff says:

    Great interview. Good on John for asking direct, tough questions, and good on PM for agreeing to the interview and sticking it out.

    And once again RPS demonstrates a clearer commitment to ethics and a moral compass for the industry than pretty much any other outlet, despite being a frequent target for GG.

  43. zeekthegeek says:

    The only Lionhead game I’ve ever liked was the Movies. There I said it. And old Pete wasn’t on that one.

    • spelunker says:

      Actually he was. But he absolutely despises the game with the passion of a thousand suns. It’s quite extraordinary how much hatred he has for that game, to the point where he now even deliberately leaves it out of any discussion of his industry career. He honestly wishes it had never been made.

  44. jondare says:

    Christ john, i wish our political journalists were even half as tough in their questioning as you. That was amazing.

    That said, i can’t help but feel bad for Molynoux. He really does sound like a man that just wants to make the best game possible, and gets really excited about things, and don’t always think things through before he talks. I mean, it’s sad for the people who inevitably get disappointed, but on the other hand, i’m kind of happy to have a person in the industry with so much passion.

  45. eggy toast says:

    This is a really long article but it’s also the best thing I have ever read on RPS. Good job, John, for not backing down.

  46. rondertaker says:

    oh my god

  47. Pantalaimon says:

    Tough read. PM remains a hero to me, as I’m sure he is for a lot of people, and watching your heroes fall or falter is the hardest thing, and so this was a grueling read. However, I feel like this interview will do the world of good for the man. I feel like it was entirely appropriate to put him on the spot about his past behaviour. It’s in his own best interests that he faces up to it and I hope he can tame his mouth but not his passion. I feel like he made an honest case for himself and I absolutely believe him, he’s not a liar or a manipulator, he’s a creative who gets swept away with the idea. It’s just unfortunate that outside of the publisher-studio system it has become even harder to pin him down and really nail a game.

    But an industry without Molyneux is unthinkable. What kind of gaming landscape would that be, where one of the greatest creative minds doesn’t take a part in it any more? It would be a crying shame if that ever happened.

    I hope Godus reaches its conclusion for the sake of the backers and I hope it’s a solid enough game for the sake of 22 Cans. I then hope he goes away and takes a break and the next we hear of him and his game is when it’s available to be played, so we can judge it on that and not anything said prior to release. This is how all his great games were made. They just appeared out of the aether. We need more of that.

    • sonson says:

      “an industry without Molyneux is unthinkable. What kind of gaming landscape would that be, where one of the greatest creative minds doesn’t take a part in it any more?”

      Basically the last decade? His mere presence does not elicit or produce greatness. He hasn’t done anything worth critical plaudits since Black and White.

      • Pantalaimon says:

        But he has been a presence and his presence is still important.

        And I think it is proven that in the past, yes, his presence was enough to guarantee greatness, but for a great many reasons that has not been the case over the past fifteen years, as you say.

        • April March says:

          There was a time when Peter was a symbol of chasing your dreams, of aspiring for more than a game with slightly better than current-gen graphics that had the gameplay of Famous Title A but also the gimmick from Famous Title B. He was a reminder that there could be something to the industry other than crass commercialism.

          That time was about ten years ago.

          Nowadays, you can find a game ten times as different, grandiose, bizarre, unique, revolutionary or envelope-pushing by browsing random itch.io pages. Peter is no longer a symbol of dreams – he is a symbol of the oldschool dev who knows he is on the path but can’t step aside enough from his AAA ways to realize those dreams, to compromise on what he can do instead of saying ‘we need this many thousand dollars to implement this feature’.

    • eggy toast says:

      Bill Cosby was a childhood hero of mine, both as Dr Huckstable and also as a man in real life. I didn’t go to Temple or become an MD but many life decisions I made were influenced by his example. (Let’s just say at least as many as good games Pete touched)

      That doesn’t mean that we should all be nice and politely not ask him about the many women he sexually assaulted. It also doesn’t mean that he deserves us being nice to him, when we ask about the many women he sexually assaulted.

      The fact that he acted like a monster, with no conscience, for decades, means that we should probably stop treating him like a hero, and start treating him like someone we don’t entirely trust.

      • Pantalaimon says:

        Well, I agree, but although you’re replying to me here, I didn’t say that interviews like this shouldn’t happen, or that people shouldn’t question PM. I think it’s great that it’s happened and I want to see the positives here.

        To make that comparison, though, is just a tad ridiculous. There is a SLIGHT difference between someone who has produced a string of underwhelming videogames, and someone who abused women… I hope you appreciate that.

        • trankdog says:

          There’s also a difference between making a string of underwhelming video games and deliberately undervaluing a Kickstarter budget which you know would not be enough money to deliver a product. That is fraud.

          • April March says:

            ^ it is fraud that is generally considered to be good practice, though.

          • Pantalaimon says:

            Of course there is a difference, but we don’t know that this was the case. He asked for what he thought they needed, at the time, in order to complete the project, assuming the project took the 9 months or whatever.

            You can interpret that how you want but on the basis of it, that doesn’t make him a liar or a fraduster, it just makes him someone who can’t correctly estimate project lengths. It makes him a bad manager, but again, that’s not criminal.

            If people think that it’s baffling that after thirty years, PM hasn’t learnt to correctly judge these things, then surely there’s also something to saying that people should be aware that his projects always run long and have development issues. As much as people have a legitimate beef with the man, they should also take better responsibility over where they are spending their money, when they spend it – rather than being surprised down the line when these things happen.

  48. NonCavemanDan says:

    Good Lord, that was both rough (and amazing) to get through.

    I’m a long-time lurker who rarely has anything worthwhile to say on the internet but, if you’re reading this John, thank you.

    Thank you for asking the hard questions and thank you for wanting to uphold integrity in your industry.

  49. Kapouille says:

    To quote a friend of mine : “this interview is a train wreck, it’s basically 2 idiots colliding”. I agree.

    • Coming Second says:

      Well, at least your post proves that two idiots can agree on something.

      • AlienMind says:

        0wned

      • Hanban says:

        That was a great laugh, thanks.

      • Kapouille says:

        Precisely. I agree with you.

      • Kapouille says:

        But let me elaborate a little (not that you should care, as opinions have no value) : young journalist in search of recognition uses outrightly aggressive prose in attempt to get studio PR/manager with terrible track record to profusely apologise and mumble excuses: nothing new is learnt, faeces are thoroughly spread over manager’s face, angry crowd laughs and throws virtual stones at said manager. I guess it could be seen as an exercise in releasing frustration.

        • Guvornator says:

          In what way is John, who is 35+ and has been a games journo since God knows when (at least December 1993) a “young journalist”?

        • Dawngreeter says:

          This reply is basically an idiot elaborating on idiocy by piling more idiocy on top of it.

      • JB says:

        Oh, snap!

        All the points to you,CS.

  50. jack4cc says:

    Finally an interview done right. You win the Internets, John!