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Report: Microsoft kills Milo

Thu 23 Sep 2010 7:42am GMT / 3:42am EDT / 12:42am PDT
GamesDevelopment

Molyneux's Kinect title allegedly canned yesterday, with 19 staff let go

Lionhead Studios

In 1987 Peter Molyneux founded Bullfrog Productions, along with his then partner Les Edgar in Guildford,...

lionhead.com

Development on Lionhead's ambitious Kinect title Project Milo (aka Milo & Kate) has been cancelled, sources close to the project have told GamesIndustry.biz sister site Eurogamer.

The rumour has it that the plug was pulled on the child-interaction game yesterday, leading to the loss of 19 contractors.

Reportedly, the title's tech will be pooled into a future Fable title.

This is not the first assertion that Milo & Kate would not make it to market, with Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg claiming it was merely a tech demo this June.

Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux has repeatedly denied such claims in the past. However, neither he or Microsoft have commented on the current allegation as yet.

20 Comments

Kevin Clark-Patterson
Lecturer in Games Development

291 23 0.1
Best hoax ever at E3!

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Ben Furneaux
Lead Designer

114 48 0.4
Gutted.

Maybe not a game per se, it was an incredibly exploration into human/digital interaction. It's gotten some criticism that it was essentially an 'illusion', but all games are, I'd just call that immersion.

There was something magical about it.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Jack Attridge
Sound Designer

2 0 0.0
This had so much exposure it could have made some good money back. Seems a waste.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Richard Fornara
Senior 3D Modeller

2 0 0.0
Its always sad to hear news of another project being cancelled with job cuts but especially so when its tech could have the potential to be so ground breaking. (Good luck to the contractors!)

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Max Priddy

64 12 0.2
Well looks like Josef Fritzl's gonna have at least one game scratched off his pre-order list!

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Terence Gage
Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
It would be a bit of a blow to Kinect if what is widely regarded as its principal piece of software never sees light of day.

I think it's fair to say that it would have been nothing like what was shown at E3 '09 - especially considering that since then many of the hardware capabilities of Kinect have been stripped out.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Abraham Tatester
Producer

70 52 0.7
Sounds like a retreat of sorts for MSFT and the Kinect. Can't really see anything positive in this—tech demo or not. Agree with Jack that it's a big waste of accumulated publicity and consumer/industry interest.

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Ben Cadwallader
Animator

2 0 0.0
It does seem a tad shortsighted by Microsoft as Milo looked like a potentially new stand-out idea for Kinect. While titles such as Kinect Sports etc will probably do well for Microsoft, you can't escape the feeling that they look rather like visually souped-up versions of Nintendo Wii titles. I'm no in-depth expert on the Wii's software catalogue but I haven't seen anything quite like Milo, and I'm also slightly surprised MS didn't bundle even a demo version of Milo with kinect.

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Josef Brett
Animator

296 0 0.0
Shame. I was starting to get interested in this after a talk/demo given by PM after E3 this year and filmed by http://www.ted.com (that none of the gaming site seemed to pick up on that I could see).

It looks different to it's original (heavily scripted) iteration, but still fascinating.

Edit: So this news is released on the day Eurogamer publish this interview: [link url=http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2010-09-23-molyneux-mo-problems-interview
]http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2010-0...[/link]

unfortunately ironic.

As for the comments about how the tech could never work - I'm sure advanced AI etc is beyond the 360, but if it was convincing cheat, it could still be a good game. Molyneux describes the project as "interactive storytelling" which could totally work and be emotionally engaging and effective.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Josef Brett on 23rd September 2010 5:50pm

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Erlend Grefsrud
Creative Director

22 0 0.0
Maybe it was simply canned because the game doesn't work and was rigged to look like it did with a well-trained presenter manning the controls? I can't even begin to imagine the monumental amount of assets required to make anything but a dumb puppet that waves back and greets you with a few stock phrases.

Then again, I'm not exactly a dreamer.

Posted:3 years ago

#10

carri cunliffe
GameHorizon Conference Director

8 0 0.0
I am shocked especially is this the one game demo they have used to promote the product. It has had so much promotion what a waste.

Poor Milo!

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,232 2,161 1.0
Erlend Grefsrud is precisely correct.

The Milo project as displayed with 100% scripted and manipulated. The best A.I. developers and speech recognition techniques using some of the most powerful parallel processors in the world can't even come close to that level of interactivity. I believe all consoles can do great things with great people working on them....but a miracle of that magnitude was never in the cards.

This is the cancellation of a construct. Not a working product.

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Ben Furneaux
Lead Designer

114 48 0.4
@ Christian

I totally admire the 'man behind the curtain' / 'massive hack' effect, just so long as it's fun, and it's convincing.

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Mike Reddy
Programme Leader BSc

30 0 0.0
We'll give Milo a home.

Posted:3 years ago

#14

Private
Industry

1,176 182 0.2
Such a pity was really looking forward to playing it and finding out it does not work in any way like advertised and can say afterward "I told you so" to all the people who where always saying how cool it is and how great it works after watching recorded videos.

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Luke McCarthy
Indie Game Developer

35 0 0.0
Microsoft fake a tech demo? Unheard of!

I pretty much expected this to happen. The technology to make this happen like people imagined it would work simply does not exist.

Posted:3 years ago

#16

Jim Diaz
Freelance Reviewer

1 0 0.0
The janitors must have vacuumed up the "fairy dust" at Lionhead.

Posted:3 years ago

#17

Jamie Watson
Studying Bachelor of Games & Interactive Entertainment

179 0 0.0
i hope this isnt real and ends up been like GOG "were closing shop" if this a marketing stunt than thats ok... i hope this isnt true it so much of future...ill just wait for offical statment from the man himself...

Posted:3 years ago

#18
Seems like history repeats itself. Quite similar to Blizzard and its cancellation of Starcraft Ghost. Maybe they have alternative projects in response to fierce competition. But it is such a pity though that they made it a brouhaha in E3 yet they are cancelling it.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Winson Low Wei Shen on 24th September 2010 4:43am

Posted:3 years ago

#19
Microsoft always does this: their R&D builds something that's useless but demonstrates a technology, either new or their version of an existing tech. I thought Milo concept was good, but seriously doubted the true depth of interactivity offered by Milo "himself". I think it was a mixture of real and cheat techniques, kinda like a beefed-up speech recognition engine running in your car's bluetooth s/w stack; while it can recognize certain command phrases and numerals, it cannot deal with names, you have to train your car to deal properly with unusual names and variations on existing names (at least I do with my car!)—otherwise your car has no idea what entity your speech is referring to. Considering the amount of processing power being taken up by the algorithm driving Milo, and the lack of massive parallelism in the 360, I'd say that this demo would never be able to do anything much beyond what was demonstrated in the released videos. Besides, since when has a game been successful that started as a tech demo? Innovation can most definitely be successful, and I see this as Microsoft's attempt to innovate, but I think that the MS execs realized they'd get much more ROI on this if they just cannibalized the technology for other purposes. If you look at the irritating Windows "search dog" or the stupid "Office Paperclip", you'll see that they're really into intelligent assistance. Milo's not dead; his organs live on in mysterious sourcecode repositories scattered across the MS campus…

Posted:3 years ago

#20

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