Peter Molyneux has a reputation in gaming for being the master of over-promising and under-delivering – and it is well-deserved.
A Eurogamer piece looking at the sorry state of affairs over at Molyneux-headed developer 22cans – and its latest title, Godus – is a painful read.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun did not pull any punches in its interview with Molyneux, effectively calling out the developer for failing to deliver on basically every promise he has made. Brutal is a word that one could use to describe it.
Molyneux remained firm on his lack of accountability, instead running circles around every point of contention.
RPS: Do you think that you’re a pathological liar?
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.
That’s only the start of the interview – it gets really messy from there. Read the entire thing on RPS. It’s long, but it’s worth it.
Why all the hate?
If you don’t know why Molyneux has the reputation he does, here are some of the key promises (and the subsequent failure to deliver on those promises) that took him from the father of the god game, to the father of hype.
But do remember: the hype train carries passengers who climb on board voluntarily. Let’s not forget that.
The original Fable, and its sequels, had Molyneuz in a tizz, promising massive gameplay features (such as marriage, children, and multiplayer elements).
While some of these made it into the games in some form across the series, it’s the now-infamous acorn promise that rooted Molyneux as the king of hype.
The promise was that you could plant an acorn in Fable and then watch it grow into a tree over time.
Most players of the Fable series will tell you that while the game is charming and quite fun, you actually have very little impact on the world.
In true Molyneux fashion, as soon as a new game popped up he completely slated his past games – even going as far as calling Fable (One, II, and 3) “rubbish”.
Here’s Molyneux over-selling a simple one-button attacking system.
Black & White
For Molyneux’s first outing at Lionhead Studios he spun more wild tales about this news world which would be formed at your fingers, and it would reflect the type of God you are.
Besides the promises of “revolutionary” AI and loads of gameplay features which were later stripped, the game actually performed very well. But it was a lot simpler and smaller in scope than origianlly promised.
Molyneux, who made a name for himself with sim-like Theme Hospital, tried his hand at a similar title set in Hollywood.
The promise to make any movie! Use the game for machimania! Promises! Promises!
What delivered was zip. Nada. The game was average and severely limited in scope, stripped of a large chunk of features promised.
Milo and Kinect
I’ll just leave this here.
Godus is the latest and arguably the most controversial of Molyneux’s failed promises, mostly due to the fact that thousands of Kickstarter backers bought into the hype for the game and handed over $800,000 to the developer to make it.
Some promises made included:
- Development would happen without a publisher
- The game would be coming to PC and Linux
- Multiplayer would be introduced, which would be run by the “God of gods” (Curiosity winner).
- The game would be completed in 7 months.
Godus has, so far, been a mess for 22cans. Almost 3 years later, it is struggling as a mobile game with even more promises coming out of Molyneux that the title is still being worked on.
He previously stated that Godus would likely be his last game. Meanwhile, The Trail has been announced by the studio. So, no.
Love him or loathe him, Molyneux is almost a household name for gamers – but this side of the millennium it’s been for all the wrong reasons.
In response to the recent flurry of “hate” aimed his way, Molyneux said via many, many press interviews that he will stay out of the press from now on.
If history is anything to go by, don’t hold him to that.