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]


  1. Acorino says:

    Well, this was an interview where neither the interviewer nor the interviewee came out looking good.

    Delays shouldn’t be the worry, abandoning the game and many promised features should be, also using a publisher as excuse when the Kickstarter promised the involvement of no publisher.
    Some of the leading questions where unnecessary.
    I think John got hung up on some of the wrong points. Still, some good questions were asked. I just wish someone else interviewed Molyneux without the righteous fire.

    • Lytinwheedle says:

      I can understand delays from some small indie dev or a novice. I can also understand delays if the project ballooned out of scope because the budget quadrupled.

      2 years late on a 7 month deadline is none of the above. Especially when it comes from a dev with 20+ years of experience who should know himself well enought to double his initial estimate.

    • Acorino says:

      Also, I didn’t like how John tried to sweep the accusatory implication of Peter “enjoying luxuries of the Mayfair Hotel” under the rug a bit later in the interview. Bah!
      Why can’t I edit my comment? Is that normal now? Since when?

      • Lytinwheedle says:

        “My hope is that in six to nine months time, people start to finally see the game they really did pledge for. That will be two to three years into development but that’s kind of what it takes when you do an original game. I wish it didn’t.”

        And he’s still lying in the Guardian interview. 2-3 years wasn’t because that’s what it takes to do an original game, it’s what it takes when you drop your backers to do a mobile game cash-cow instead. Will this man ever stop lying and bullshitting?

      • Babymech says:

        There was no accusatory implication. There was a direct quote. Molyneux was trying to evasively pretend that the question was calling him to task for the quality of his lodgings when it was specifically catching him out about never going to events.

        • Acorino says:

          Hm, yeah, I skipped a lot over this interview. Kinda hard to read Peter’s deflective ramblings, which are obvious bullshittery anyway.
          Not to give off a wrong impression: I think Peter is a con artist. That doesn’t automatically mean that John did a most excellent job with the interview, though, but maybe not too bad a job, either. I will refrain from further opinions for fear of procrastinating too much.

  2. Lytinwheedle says:

    Amazing interview, thanks for holding that despicable pathological fraudster to account.

    I love how he tries to use emotional blackmail like some domestic abuser. ‘Oh it’s your fault that I will no longer be in the industry!’. What utter scum.

    • Crea says:

      Your sense of righteous fury is irretrievably broken. Get it looked at.

  3. SpakAttack says:

    Fabulous article – many thanks for posting it verbatim.
    Peter, I love much of your early work, but jesus, you need to sort this shit out.

  4. alex_v says:

    To me this is exactly the sort of reporting that gamergaters will love. Brutal and utterly self-righteous, where consumer rights always trump the brittle efforts of the artist. It’s the angry mob with pitchforks writ large. Slowly we move towards a media where no creator ever dare speak up, for fear of the deluge of hate that would greet them if they fail.

    Not for me. I can understand the practical difficulties of pledges during the funding of a creative endeavour – how many investors have been left disappointed by the results of the artists they support? Many great art has probably been made under such circumstances. For me the creator comes first, and I will never kick one when they’re down.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Peter.

    • Synesthesia says:

      Indeed. You may have been fighting monsters for too long john. I was largely in the consumer crowd on this one, but this just opens the gates for pledgers to become even worse than publishers, when ks was aiming to do the exact opposite.

    • Corporate Dog says:

      Well said. I don’t trust Molyneux to deliver on what he promises. His reputation in that regard has been well-earned, and it’s that same reputation that should’ve had people double-thinking a pledge to his Kickstarter, if it was money they would get so upset about losing.

      He’s a “mad genius” who can produce gems if he has someone to reign him in and control him. His brain works on a constant “scope creep” feed of what would be cool and interesting to do in a game, timelines and budget be damned. To be honest, that alone should take him out of the business of running a studio where those things DO matter.

      But by the same token, I just don’t get the outright hostility. The man has ambitions so big that he can’t rise to them. I see a big difference between that, and the man who sells you his vision, without having ANY intention of following through on it from the start. The former is a failure of practicality and planning, the latter is a failure of ethics.

      And John’s interview just felt like an open-barreled release of id, with an incredibly personal tone to it.

    • frightlever says:

      Creatives don’t get a free pass when they’re charging money, particularly when he is CLEARLY very conscious about hanging on to it.

      Imagine if PM was a builder making house extensions and patios – nobody would think twice about him being brought to task if you wanted a granny flat and he delivered a garden shed.

      • Silith321 says:

        This is true. But in this case you wouldn’t parade him through all of the Internet and call him a pathological liar.

        • melnificent says:

          Well you say that, but trustpilot and other stes enable you to give those 1 star reviews and call them out easily.

    • toshiro says:

      What a classic “guilt of association”-fallacy you start off with. And then, you end with saying that PM is fighting the good fight. What exactly are you talking about here? Which fight is he fighting and why is it good?

      And RPS was of course nothing like the hate-spewing violent gamergaters here, rather they were doing something that I can understand make dishonest people cringe: demand that one takes responsibility for ones actions. You told us plenty about yourself.

    • Coming Second says:

      This is kind of challenging of ethics in video games that the real pushers of gamergate would never do: forcing a big, established, moneyed, crucially male voice of the industry to face up to the fact that, whatever his motives, his actions have made him a con artist. I’m pretty sure a large proportion of people who believe in the tenets of the movement wouldn’t even read the interview, based on the fact it’s published by RPS, an established Voice of the Enemy. If they did their expressed opinion would be based largely on the fact Walker has decided to go on the offensive against Molyneux, rather than a score of indie game devs who didn’t quite deliver their Kickstarter promises.

      Now, I actually agree to a certain extent with what you’re saying. Social media has made life for any visible figure who is, to use a phrase the interview uses, a flawed human being very difficult. A lot of other flawed human beings, safe in their anonymity, are watching your every movement and are ready to savage you and fling every throw-away comment you ever made in your face if you get it wrong. I’m pretty sure Walker himself knows what it’s like. The result has been media training studiously varnishing every single statement that is released by any figure in the industry, to the point where they usually say nothing of interest whatsoever. It would be sad if that meant an end to whimsical, inspiring figures like Molyneux once cut.

      The point here is though that Molyneux really has brought this on himself. A pathological liar is a hard phrase but entirely applicable to his case. He’s spent the last decade getting carried away and making promises he can’t keep, which would be fine if he wasn’t also taking away people’s money on the strength of them. Beyond all the passive aggression and fluff and passion he’s spouting in this interview is the cold, hard fact that he is not giving that money back, despite the further cold, hard fact that he has not delivered, and surely will not deliver everything that he promised in the future. I think that actually him saying he’s going to stop talking to the press is exactly what needs to happen – because he simply cannot help himself. Sad, because I think every one of us has at some point enjoyed one of his games or his speeches, but true.

    • noodlecake says:

      Best response to this article ever. I 100% agree with you. I found this article unpleasant and unsettling. Not something I generally expect from a website of as high a quality as this. Peter Molyneux is not George Osbourne. His decisions will not ruin the lives of those currently unemployed, nor will it cause the disabled to go without food. He is a creative person who is passionate about his ideas but who has a history of failing to deliver. Anybody who could know this already knows this and an all out attack on his character is totally unnecessary and this reeks of the Gamergate attitude of entitlement. If you want to kill creativity and kickstarter funded projects, keep feeding the gamergate monster with interviews like these.

  5. Morcane says:

    I think we need to take a step back and get some fresh air. What are we talking about here…a video game?!?

    The guy’s ambitions are big and perhaps he has ‘lost’ it … I think most game developers we grew up with kind of ‘lost’ it – they were fortunate enough to be around when all of this video game stuff started and really took off.

    ‘Butbutbut my monies….’ Yes, he asked for funding through Kickstarter and you all gave it, no you threw it at the guy. Shock horror. Don’t buy a bloody early access game then and don’t use Kickstarter.

    • Kohlrabi says:

      It’s irresponsible to expect that grown-ups should act responsibly.

  6. scannerbarkly says:

    Interesting read. Certainly not comfortable but i think that is rather the point. It is arguably one of the best portraits of Molyneux out there. The main problem with PM seems to be his genuine inability to just admit to his own failings, he mentions them…but then always offers some context or anecdote as to why his failings are not actually his fault…rather they are some kind of result of charming passions or industry problems.

    Here for me, is the simple and truest example of PM as a person. He built an app that did basically nothing but bring in microtransaction money. Said app was used to find someone to act a a PR tool for his next game. The person was used to generate hype, media interest and mindshare for that game and when that person (remember, just a normal guy…average dude) had been fully used he was tossed aside and all the promises made to him were then forgotten. He was completely ignored because he had no further value to PM.

    DESPITE the fact that regular meetings should have been happening, despite the fact that PM claims to love Godus…not once did this kid enter into his thinking. “I promised things to this kid. I should get in touch with him and at least be honest.” Nope.

    The industry, the customer base, investors, publishers…all are easy enough to abuse because they are faceless, meaningless concepts. What really sums up PM for me is his treatment and apparent disinterest and disrespect of that one kid, whom he got what he needed from and then cast aside like rubbish.

  7. noodlecake says:

    I found this interview very unpleasant. It reeked of entitlement and was completely oblivious towards the creative process. It actually lowered my respect for John and made me sympathise a lot more with Peter (from the little bit |I could get through). It reminded me of the ravings of people who post on youtube and was very unlike RPS. This has always been a website that I respect for it’s friendliness and compassionate and understanding attitude towards the industry and those involved.

    You weren’t interviewing a Tory MP about budget cuts causing thousands of people to die in poverty, you were interviewing a creative person with puppy-like enthusiasm who always means well and is passionate about what he does. I really don’t know what you hoped to achieve. Every answer he gave is the exact answer I give when people rant about kickstarter projects failing. He clearly isn’t a pathological liar.

    • Themadcow says:

      Yeah, this was unpleasant reading. Movie makers spend their lives overhyping films, getting actors to promote them and then we go along to the cinema and find out it’s total shit. Those actors then come out years later and say “yeah, I knew it was crap” etc… and they get a pretty free ride despite just jogging off into the sunset once the film is released on DVD.

      Molyneux is guilty of many things – overhype and incompetent project management being chief, but I don’t get the opinion that he’s a bad person as such, just deeply flawed (which is a trait of many creative people). This interview was bordering on bullying and from what I’ve read on here and the Guardian I sincerely hope people back the hell off for a while. It’s not like the game doesn’t exist ffs – there’s worse examples of software released every day.

      • Xantonze says:

        True. The guy didn’t put arsenic in powder milk for babies: he asked people with enough money to back him up on KS to make games so that they could entertain themselves. He’s also paying his employees btw.
        PM has a long history of “candid” bullshiting, and it’s true that it’s a bit infuriating as the guy must know the financial and technical constraints that prevent some of his ideas to be realized, but he’s not taking the money at gunpoint.
        I guess that strange PR scheme must rub RPS the wrong way, but is it worst than putting millions in trailers and such that RPS gladly links to to generate clicks?

        PM has that cackling rooster air about him that is surely annoying, but you can just as well ignore him and not buy his games until they’re tried and tested.

        I’d like to see RPS playing that offensive stance with Ubisoft et al, but sadly (as we saw in recent interviews with subaltern staff) they find closed doors, or guarded by PR people. This interview feels like John is all too happy to bleed PM… because he’s the only guy who took up the glove.

        The whole Curiosity thing is truly appaling though, too bad the winner wasn’t briefed about the “PM way” beforehand. ;(

        Anyway, I’m quite curious to see the end of this: will Godus be properly playable at some point, and will the young guy get his share? It would be a good ending for once. If only……

  8. PopeRatzo says:

    Kickstarter chickens coming home to roost.

  9. bit.bat says:

    I thought Peter Molyneux unknowingly summarised the crux of his arguments quite well in one of his responses:

    “I was wrong. But it’s not a lie.”

  10. Love Albatross says:

    Oh my fuck this is incredible. What a wonderful interview. Nice work. Really good to see this kind of thing.

    I enjoyed this quote from the man:

    “He’s still going to get what is coming to him”

    Keep an eye on the obits, the God of Gods will get what is coming to him…

  11. jaklar says:

    Congratulations on the interview. As expected, the reporter is coming under fire for the tone and such. Too bad. If he were interviewing a politician about false campaign promises (while collecting donations), he’d be regarded as a hard-hitting journalist. For some reason, the game industry thinks itself under a different set of expectations.

    An industry that makes more money than music and movies combined, yet consistently ships bug-riddled garbage and screws consumers, yet is beyond regulation, deserves to have more hard-hitting articles written, instead of more re-written press-releases and rosy previews.

    So kudos for doing your job.

    As for Peter. It really hurts to see him consistently dig his own grave. No one to blame but himself. I don’t believe he is a pathological liar, but he is a chronic huckster. In another time, he would have been hired to rope you into a carnival sideshow.

    • Themadcow says:

      Politicians are elected on a promise of public service, a duty to do their best in the general interests of the nation. Their promises (manifesto pledges) are far, far more serious undertakings than a frigging Kickstarter campaign. For that reason it’s entirely reasonable to hold them to account in the fiercest terms if they lie or go back on their promises. They also go into that line of business knowing they’ll be in the media firing line.

      What happened to the Curiosity guy is the only area where I’d say PM has really, really acted like a dick.

      • jaklar says:

        Subtract “politicians” and substitute CEOs, Managers for sports team, sports players, etc. Everyone is entitled to tough questions when money, performance, expectations, and promises are involved. Should we not ask tough question of the charlatans running E-Sports leagues, players who cheat, just because “it’s a game?”

        Better yet, John clearly established the confrontational tone with the very first question. Peter could have elected to end the interview right there. He’s an adult. He’s not cornered. He’s on the fricking phone.

    • Niko says:

      Gamers have become way too used to tame interviews made at press events.

  12. Darkheart says:

    I feel for PM as a human being and the stuff he said about not seeing his sons plays and fighting with his wife makes me sad, but let’s be honest: He drove himself into this pile of shit.

    You can clearly see it in this interview: The longer you let him talk the more hyperbole he gets. This seems to be the source of the problem.

    The only way he can redeem himself now is to really deliver all he has promised here and elsewhere. Though, I think it’s not going to happen, if he wants or not.

    At least my instinct didn’t fail me when I looked at the Kickstarter vid all this time ago. My first thought was “How boring.” I’m too lazy to look it up, but was there ever talk about a mobile version in the Kickstarter? Micro pay and all? That would have raised a massive flag for me immediately. All those mobile games are basically cons if you ask me.

    I sound bitter… blame the world (or the God of Gods lol) for that!

  13. Premium User Badge

    CdrJameson says:

    About the server/publisher stuff.

    I think what he was trying to say was that the mobile and PC were going to use the same server tech, which was supplied by the mobile publisher, so that mobile and PC players would play in the same world.

    The mobile publisher changed their tech, so 22-Cans had to rewrite the PC side (because it used the mobile tech).
    So the PC side doesn’t have a publisher, but is still at the mercy of the mobile side’s publisher for its multiplayer implementation.

    I think there was a gap of understanding there.

    • Pantalaimon says:

      I read it that John understood that, but PM made a big thing in the pitch about the PC game not being at the mercy of a publisher, when in fact it still did end up being at the mercy of a publisher later, and that represents kind of a significant sea-change.

      • Premium User Badge

        CdrJameson says:

        Yeah, publisher of mobile having a say over the PC version is far from the ideal, but the summary..

        “…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.”

        …is true because it’s two different contexts of ‘publisher’, although it sounds like it should be self-contradictory nonsense.

        • vlonk says:

          Who in their right mind signs a probably 7 digit contract and does not put in a clause to compensate in case exactly this shit happens: basic technology gets pulled under your feet. What a disaster! Unmitigated, yet forseeable. Did not even need a lawyer to see this problem coming… No backup plans, no safety nets, no counsel. Naive mistake from a guy who is 30 years in the business. That is the story here for me.

  14. Psychomorph says:

    You should interview Ubi Soft.

  15. oceanclub says:

    Honestly, it’s the brutal kicking he deserves and I do hope he comes out of it a better person. He’s gotten away with bring a bullshitter for the best part of 2 decades and it has gone from being a idiosyncracy to something which is hurting people and destroying his undoubted legacy.


  16. oceanclub says:

    “To me this is exactly the sort of reporting that gamergaters will love.”

    Naw, it’s about a cis white guy and doesn’t mention his sex life once.


  17. Humppakummitus says:

    I’m going to go for a pint. Maybe cry a bit.

  18. Havalynii says:

    I don’t know that you’ll ever read this, Mr. Molyneux, but in case you do…

    Go to your son’s games. Be home for meals with your wife. Godus is a game. They are your life. Don’t lose sight of what matters in all of this circus. If you’re a good husband and father, that covers a multitude of sins. Don’t throw yourself on the altar for people that are upset that you failed to deliver the entertainment they paid for…they’ve got a huge Steam backlog anyways.

    • beetnemesis says:

      Seriously, I haven’t even finished Crusader Kings II yet…

      • Havalynii says:

        Yeah, I feel like I need a doctorate to play that game. :)

  19. monkiusz says:

    Great, really, great interview John! One of best I have read in my entire life. Seriously. That’s a way how adult people should talk with each other.

  20. sabby says:

    After reading through a few times, I wonder is it really worth putting the life/career of this man under such intense scrutiny as to visibly put him in the state of distress this interview reveals? I thought the entire mayfair hotel thing was incredibly goading and unprofessional. Even if it were for a break, is the man not allowed one of those? Who are you people to judge what he may or may not do outside of work – seriously?

    • Rizlar says:

      It was a fair question, the scrutiny feels really uncomfortable because of the lack of distance Molyneux shows in responding. He seems to make everything incredibly personal, and yeah, being that personal on the internet, in a public sphere under the gaze of thousands, seems very dangerous.

  21. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    I’m gonna go a little offtopic and say that this was a long interview that could have been split into two or even three posts but makes a better whole, so thanks for not splitting it up.

  22. rotekz says:

    This opinion will be appreciated like a fart in a lift but I found this interview to be nasty, sadistic and sickening. Peter to my mind is sincere and endeavours to be truthful. He’s got a lot wrong in his forecasts and made many mistakes but I don’t see that as justification to paint him as a pathological liar.

    I’m not going read replies or waste time discussing any of this with all those that inevitably jump on me. Just getting my brief opinion out there.

    • reptilianbrain says:

      Exactly sadistic is 100% accurate.
      Sickens me to read all these cheerful comments here, kind of reminds of the ugly faces of the crowd from northern renaissance paintings.

  23. beetnemesis says:

    This is… not a good interview.

    I’m not objecting to asking hard questions, but this just reads like two people shouting over each other for an hour. It’s a public haranguing, not an interview.

    Jon Stewart interviews people he disagrees with strongly all the time, and it never devolves into something like this.

    I’m not saying John Walker has to be Jon Stewart, but I just wanted to add a voice contradicting everyone lauding this interview. It was disorganized and emotional.

    • Gnoupi says:

      This, pretty much.

    • sabby says:

      it felt more like John Walker trying to be gaming’s Paxman – the issue with that being not a single dev in the industry deserves the aggressive lines of questioning paxman reserves for politicians.

  24. EireJohn says:

    Any chance of putting the audio for this interview online ?

    At first I was all aboard the ‘Call Molyneux Out’ train but somewhere along the line the interviewer appears to have gotten too emotionally worked up – by the time he was needling the chap about his choice of hotel I was actively feeling sorry for Peter!

  25. tokyosexwale says:

    I registered just to say thank you for doing this. This is why I read Rock Paper Shotgun.

  26. Janichsan says:

    Two observations: a) the unedited transcript style of this interview makes for some really incohesive ramblings. b) I can’t help but see another Phil Fish moment brewing up.

  27. jaklar says:

    All the detractors are acting like Peter isn’t an adult. That he can’t figure out how to say, “That question offends me, this interview is over.”

    He’s a big boy. He could have ended the interview at any time. He didn’t.

    Instead, he happily grabbed the shovel and kept digging, like one of his Godus citizens stuck with bad path-finding.

    • Xantonze says:

      Yeah, and what reactions would that have brought..
      Outraged at his lack of courage? Joy that the knight slayed the dragon?

      • playfuldreamer says:

        Why is it that reactions are of concern? Shouldn’t the goal be truth and accountability?

  28. jaklar says:

    “Peter Molyneux, Derek Smart is on Line 1.”

  29. Mr Coot says:

    Very difficult to read. I think sometimes it’s best to hold back a bit in view of the human cost. Leave room for a dignified exit. PM seems a bit stretched here, perhaps not well. I do think the PC oriented Kickstarter backers and Curiousity winner deserve more attention, but I’m not sure how best to get PM and 22 Cans to comply, or even whether they should be left to deliver eventually, Derek Smart style.

    You did surround the opponent, Mr Walker. You know, he knows, everyone who’s read it knows. Best to give him an outlet for escape, according to the wisdom of Sunzi. Sunzi didn’t care about the human cost (which does concern me), he just didn’t want to have fight desperate soldiers with nothing to lose.

  30. Enkinan says:

    Well holy shit. that was intense.

    John was definitely a hard-ass, but I think at this point someone had to be. He was constantly trying to wriggle away into his comfortable escape patterns to cover his failures and John just kept shutting him down.

    Well done

  31. playfuldreamer says:

    Lurking would best describe my approach to RPS, but that changes now. Thank you, John.

  32. Billy says:

    “Do you think that you’re a pathological liar?”
    Honestly John, I think it’s an alienating first question, no wonder PM says later on that you were “driving him out of the games industry”.
    I’m not saying he’s categorically not THAT, but…
    Anyway, I’ve not finish reading the interview and it seems long, so I guess he didn’t hang up the phone… Early on at least…

  33. Noc says:

    Honestly, what struck me a lot about this is John repeatedly insisting that he “doesn’t have an agenda” despite, I dunno, opening by asking Molyneux if he’s a pathological liar and continuing to try and nail him for everything up to and including…staying in a hotel that one time and thinking it was nice?

    Like, look at all the comments from people who like this article! There’s a lot less, “I’m glad to actually get to hear what Molyneux has to say about all this,” and a lot more “Haha, awesome! Way to stick it to that asshole whom I hate.”

    And man, John being grumpy about things is fine! John’s grumpy about things sometimes, we know that. But the disconnect between the insistence that this is Important Journalism and the just…hostile and deliberate obtuseness feels really troubling.

    (Especially since Molyneux’s crime is the awful, unforgivable one of “saying that he’d make a really good video game and then not doing a very good job.” Oh wait, he also hasn’t produced an art book yet. That certainly makes him a monster.)

    . . .

    On Molyneux himself, though, I get the definite sense that his issue is one of, like…wanting to share things with the public! Of crowdsourcing, because that’s exciting and gets people involved!

    Like, he’s 100% right about a lot of stuff: projects fizzle! They go over-budget, sometime drastically so! That’s all just stuff that happens even with the best people and the best organization, because if you’re trying to make something that doesn’t exist yet you can’t anticipate all the bumps you’ll hit.

    But usually the promises he makes and pitching he does happens semi-privately to publishers or VCs, so when a project dies it does so quietly and out of the public eye. Or sometimes a company’s like “Yeah, we got this cool game!” and then a year later they’re like “Eh, nevermind.” But even though the snags he’s hitting are entirely normal, it’s this huge thing because it’s all happening in the open and had gotten crowdfunded — which has the additional effect of making him feel like he has to deliver something at all costs.

    It’s also the reason that companies usually have PR departments and/or dedicated social media people: to be like “we shouldn’t talk about [x] yet” and “we should keep up with that prominent community member who won a thing and who we promised stuff to.”

    If anything, I think that’s the lesson he should learn from this: that measured and well-thought-out public relations stuff run by people who can make that their whole job is actually really important, and that he can’t just wing it anymore.

    • toshiro says:

      He gave him the opportunity to take responsibility for his actions. He declined. You’re over analyzing it. It is indeed very simple.

    • Hanban says:

      I’m not sure I agree with how you characterize (some) of those who liked the article. Personally I didn’t find the article to be too hostile, but then maybe the culture I’m from is more accustomed to frankness. Given the context and history of Peter (a man who has made some of my favourite games) I don’t think the questions were out of line. Not a comfortable read as many have pointed out, but not unwarranted and certainly not unprofessional.

      • Noc says:

        It feels hostile to me because there’s a lot of deliberate obtuseness!

        For instance, that bit where Molyneux is like “our publisher discontinued the server stuff we were using and…” and John was all “Ahah! You said publisher! You made a big thing before about how you didn’t want to be beholden to publishers but now you’re beholden to a publisher so you’re LYING!”

        …and it took several rounds of difficult back-and-forth for Molyneux to finish explaining that the “publisher” was just also acting as the vendor for the server tech they were using. That’s clearly not John “trying to get the facts,” it’s him trying to catch Molyneux out on a lie.

        And what bothers me isn’t even that! It’s John repeatedly that he “has an agenda” with this interview when there’s a very clear, very specific theme to everything he says — specifically, “You’re a liar, I want you to admit that you’re a liar.”

        Like, we even get this bit:

        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.

        And then the front page of RPS is all Peter Molyneux Interview: “I haven’t got a reputation in this industry anymore; I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly lied,” and it’s just…yeah, basically what Molyneux was expecting.

        I don’t expect a lot from Molyneux! He was evasive and spinny and clearly not on top of things, but none of that’s surprising. But I expected better from John.

    • Philomelle says:

      I’m not sure where you’re getting so much schadenfreude from. Most of the comments who enjoyed the interview, mostly react with disappointment or pity.

      On my part, I struggle to enjoy what Molyneux says about anything because… well, he’s not really speaking about anything at all in this interview. He says a whole lot of words, but all of them are noise.

      For example, I enjoy seeing people talk about game design but when Molyneux actually does get to talking about Godus’s design, he doesn’t say anything. He talks about how combat is amazing and interesting and unique, and how there’s this whole world you can shape and it’s so totally cataclysmic, but he doesn’t drop a single word about how it will actually play. It’s a whole paragraph of absolutely nothing.

      it’s a major issue for me because I cannot parse him as a game designer anymore. He’s asked about Godus and he instead goes on for a while about how he’s ruined his personal life by neglecting his son and fighting with his wife, but he still doesn’t say anything about Godus. He’s very quick and eager to hand journalists a cross, a nail and a hammer, then demand that they crucify him there and now while they stand there, baffled, and wonder why he won’t just talk to them about his game.

      • Noc says:

        That’s all very true!

        But it’s also all stuff we already know? Anyone who’s been paying attention to him for the past few years knows what comes out when you hit the Molyneux Pinata with the Criticism Bat.

        Which doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t criticize him, but does make this interview look a lot more like John venting his frustrations on the guy than it does him trying to provide facts and insight — and given that we know we aren’t going to get useful answers out of Molyneux, the only value it provides is “Ooh! We get to see him have to respond to getting called out!”

        • Philomelle says:

          You’re right in that this is exactly what we’re used to expecting from Molyneux, but I don’t think John was simply venting his frustrations here at all.

          The thing here is that while John knows that Molyneux is going to bullshit him from reading all of his past interviews, as a journalist he still is obligated to bring some information back to his readers. That leaves him in an unfortunate situation where he’s cursed regardless of which direction he takes. Play soft and deliver people yet another pile of Molyneux-flavored drivel or play hard and get something out.

          I think that John chose to simply copy/paste the interview as is speaks volumes of that. He could sift through all this horseshit for at least a hint of information but because there is no information there at all, he instead posted the thing as is and gave us an excellent portrait of Molyneux in action instead. It’s not pleasant at all because Molyneux is a very unpleasant person and John needed to verbally knee him in the groin to get something out, but it’s more than we’ve been given from most other interviews with the man.

          I agree that it’s not a pleasant interview at all, but I appreciate what I ultimately learned from it.

  34. toshiro says:

    I must say I am mesmerized by this. I have also passed judgment. Molyneux is indeed a pathological liar, and he lacks the capability of scrutinizing himself. He is also very keen on shouldering the: “I am a victim” (white, successful middle aged man)- coat; and the entitlement this man feels, is also in the pathological end of the spectra.

    I do not wish him any harm, because he is a sad old clueless man. But I also do not feel the slightest empathy for him. I would actually not get surprised if he committed suicide as a revenge against the media. This is how people like him works. I think this is the end of him, and I think the game industry is better off without him.

    • sabby says:

      what a terrible person you are

      • toshiro says:

        Feel free to elaborate on why you think that. Or are you just a troll?

        • Themadcow says:

          ” I would actually not get surprised if he committed suicide as a revenge against the media. This is how people like him works” – because of that. It’s one of the most unpleasant things I’ve read in a while.

          • sabby says:

            if being a ‘troll’ is confronting you on your odious reply, then so be it.

          • toshiro says:

            I guess it could be interpreted as something I would like to happen. It surely is not. Quite the contrary, I hope he has a long, good life and comes to terms with himself. But I get greatly provoked by those that will not, under any circumstance, accept accountability. I will not apologize for that. But I also do not want to upset people, so I am a bit unsatisfied with this. I guess my reply would be: why is that unpleasant for you? How do you interpret it?

          • toshiro says:

            @sabby then so be it.

  35. Fuz says:

    Holy shit, that’s a fantastic interview. Hat’s off to you.

    Now, keep this sot of questioning also for other people in the industry and not only for Moulyneux.

  36. asume says:

    A journalist who probably hasn’t even coded a “hello world” in their life is baffled that making new things is hard.

    Anyone who has tried to bring something from a concept to a product, no matter the industry, would agree with all of Peter’s points.

    • toshiro says:

      Haha, is this Molyneux himself perhaps? If not, why would the journalists technical qualifications in ANY way matter? I think this is an insane thing to write, and I believe that people who writes insane things are indeed insane, so there you go.

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s not about qualifications, but there’s a guy who has never created anything, let alone a game, doing his best to put out of business a man who at least has delivered games, some of them not half bad. What is it that gamers win in this situation, besides the dodgy entertainment value?

    • Moraven says:

      And anyone with project management experience would be baffled why every single product is over budget and past the deadline.

    • wu wei says:

      I’ve had much harsher conversations with managers and clients over projects that weren’t even a tenth overdue as Godus. Yes, software development is hard. That’s why we have this thing called “requirements”, which we work with the client to assign weights and timelines to, and which we strive to minimise as much as possible.

      Which is simply good practice. Stop acting like coding is witchcraft.

  37. MattMk1 says:

    I’d be a lot more impressed if RPS did an interview this “hard hitting” with someone who still matters in the industry or represents a developer or publisher whose displeasure could potentially hurt RPS in some way.

    I think the last time I saw RPS reporting this venomous was over the sexist torso statue debacle, and that was another easy target.

    Peter Molyneux is just perfect for this. Big enough to get plenty of attention, but soft, squishy and reeling from self-inflicted injuries to the point where he can’t really fight back. Never thought I’d feel sorry for the silly SOB.

    • toshiro says:

      Do you have evidence that they are mutually exclusive? That this is done to satisfy the blood thirst of John and deemed safe because he is no longer all that relevant? Your gut feeling is clear, but do you have anything beyond that?

      • MattMk1 says:

        What, besides the facts? John Walker just beat the ever-living crap out of a tomato can, and there is no record – that I am aware of – of him swinging remotely this hard at anyone in a position of power.

        Let’s hold him to the same standards he sets for others – your track record matters, your intentions do not.

        • Premium User Badge

          bokkiedog says:

          Someone commented on John’s not having gone after a “hard target” who mattered before. Presumably you forget his being one of the only journalists with the balls to call out EA for lying about SimCity, when Polygon was simply reprinting their PR crap?

          • BooleanBob says:

            Thanks for reminding me of this. That was definitely a time when John stepped up to the plate (and the rest of the press conspicuously failed to).

  38. ts061282 says:

    Who needs Brian Williams or John Stewart when you got John Walker?

  39. Moraven says:

    What did I just read?

  40. MichaelGC says:

    Amazing interview. Not to say it wasn’t harsh at times, but I imagine it seems harsher when written down. (Peter’s little joke at the end suggests he wasn’t too distressed.) I’m impressed with both of them – it can’t have been an easy discussion. It wasn’t easy to read, either, but I’d far rather find out what people are really thinking than have everything sanitised into corporate/political/PR-speak.

    John can’t win, really: if he’d gently probed & softballed I suspect there would have been a similar number of complaints (although obviously they’d be coming from different folks). Peter mentions his (undeniable) passion for what he does a number of times, and I think that’s a reasonable (if rather limited & partial) explanation for some of the missteps. However, if John made missteps conducting this interview, then I think his passion for what he does would be an at-least-equally reasonable (and much fuller) explanation for any of those.

  41. Saklad5 says:

    Sheesh, this interview was harsh. I mean, Molyneux is obviously not malicious. He’s just extremely overworked and over stressed. He isn’t trying to harm anyone by not following through. He is, however, a textbook case of someone who needs to take a break RIGHT THE HELL NOW. There is no way someone can be productive with a sixteen hour workday, even without a family as well. He could probably get this thing done much faster if he halved his workday and got some rest. This interview is not helping.

  42. Latro says:

    You know, for all the people trying to defend Molineux here, in this long “I dont lie I dont lie I dont LIEEEEEE” speech… lets see

    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.

    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.

    … which is typical Molieneux. He tells you something, then later come all the conditionals, all the interpretations, nuances, ways it cant be done exactly like that, and thats not what I meant, and…

    He, in my opinion, is not a scam artist – what he is is incapable of OBJECTIVELY looking at his endeavours without making anything he says an overblown promise. He is that kind of person that thinks miracles are routine for him and there is nothing wrong with asking for the opportunity to try because hey, this time he will deliver… or the next, or the next, or the next.

    I mean, if in 30 years he is not capable of correctly budgeting a game and estimating the time to take, for values of “correctly” that mean “with all the fuzziness implied in any software project”… what the hell was he doing in Kickstarter?

  43. Groove says:

    Brilliant, simply brilliant.

  44. Bahoxu says:

    “Are you a pathological liar?”

    Well now. Thats quite hostile.

    I didnt realise Godus was such an emotional issue to you, John.

  45. jaklar says:

    Two geniuses who should never do interviews: Lars von Trier and Peter Molyneux.

  46. daver4470 says:

    Wow. Just…. wow.

  47. __FOXHOUND says:

    You guys are better than this, or at least, I thought that you were. I’m ambivalent on the subject of Molyneux, but you come across as an opportunistic bully. That could get chalked up to heated emotions and awkwardness – some kind of determination to make this not a “press event” — but your pull quotes are wildly unfair, sensational, and punitive.

    Pursue whatever agenda you have against this guy, but I won’t be reading your site any more.

  48. DrollRemark says:

    I can’t help but feel that everybody who though John was being mean here, has never read/seen/heard one of Peter Molyneux self-flagellating postmortem apologies before. This is a man who cried during a much more reasonable interview during the Godus kickstarter period.

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

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

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

    link to

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yeah, this is also important to remember of his whole “taking his ball and going home”. He’s broken down like this before. It’s what he does. Then he comes back with a new promise of horses.

      Be it calculated maniuplation or genuine tragedy, this is how Peter operates, at full-on emotional gushing all the time but with very little actual momentum or memory to it. Which also goes for his trail of forgotten promises as he chases after his new obsession, again be it calculated hype or genuine childlike excitement.

      I very, very much doubt we’ve heard the last of him being, well, him. I’m kind of glad for that, but for goodness’ sake don’t believe him.

  49. reptilianbrain says:

    Wow damn I liked this site so far, but after this disgusting piece I feel I should actually block it to not visit on habit.

    Clearly the person who is interviewing Molyneux has ZERO understanding of how creative process works, has NEVER done a big ($$) creative project himself (not a game, nor a film). Has NEVER managed big budgets and really is just a neckbeard troll who has a chance to assault a guy responsible masterpieces and industry-defining works of art while hiding behind the phone.
    “Half a million pounds” this is fucking laughable and disgusting – trying to count Molyneux’s money – “but backers” – as if Kickstarter is not a donation platform. I cannot remember a single good game that was not delayed.
    Molyneux did not walk on the game, the sum (500k) is laughable by even indie film standards. He is trying to deliver it and here comes this troll with a loud-speaker of a site, who wants to “break a story” and thinks he is on to some Watergate investigation.
    It’s fucking horrible, just horrible. I am ashamed I read this. The author of interview deserves to be thrown out of profession into some sub-TMZ bottom-feeders pool

  50. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Usually interviews are like pop. Mostly soothing with the occasional piano forte, before a vocal harmony ending.

    This? This interview was Slayer.