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Molyneux: Retirement is "abhorrent"

Molyneux: Retirement is "abhorrent"

Mon 03 Dec 2012 1:00pm GMT / 8:00am EST / 5:00am PST
People

22 Cans founder responds to Project Godus Kickstarter backlash, refutes retirement speculation

Earlier this month, 22 Cans founder Peter Molyneux said in an interview his next major game will be his last, which prompted some speculation that the veteran designer was planning to call it quits. Speaking with GamesIndustry International last week, Molyneux dismissed the idea entirely, saying he was talking instead about how the launch of a game can be just the beginning of development, as with MMOs or frequently updated mobile titles.

"I wasn't in any way announcing my retirement or saying I'm going to throw myself off the nearest bridge after my next game," Molyneux said, adding, "I'm either going to stop making games when everyone in the world just hates the games I make or the day when I die. I feel more passionate, more engaged, more energetic about making games now than I ever have. The thought of retirement is abhorrent to me. I would have to be in some vegetative state to consider retirement."

"I would have to be in some vegetative state to consider retirement."

Peter Molyneux

Molyneux also addressed reaction to 22 Cans' Kickstarter campaign for Project Godus, which has been mixed, to put it charitably. A little more than one-third of the way through the campaign, fans have pledged nearly 200,000 of the studio's 450,000 funding goal. At the same time, the campaign has drawn the ire of a number of gamers and industry watchers, as well as accusations of cynicism, exploitation, and greed.

The amount of negativity directed Molyneux's way "somewhat surprised" him, but he believes it's an extension of the reactions he draws with most of his work.

"I know I'm a controversial figure," Molyneux said. "We have this food over in England called Marmite. Some people hate Marmite, and some people like Marmite. And I'm definitely one of those people."

One particular point that the designer believes gets people's hackles up is the notion that he should be able to get Project Godus funded without passing the hat among his fans.

"Everyone kind of thinks I'm loaded with money and live in Versailles or something, and drive around in a gold Rolls Royce," Molyneux said. "None of that is true. I'm not starving by any means, but I haven't got unlimited wealth. I used a lot of money to found 22 Cans, to release Curiosity, and to build a team of 20 people."

"There's a lot of reasons for people to hit us with negativity. I've got to accept that."

Peter Molyneux

Beyond perceptions of his wealth, Molyneux said the backlash has been amplified by players upset with the technically troubled launch of Curiosity, and grudges held over broken promises. (The never-realized Fable feature that had players planting an acorn and returning later on to find it had grown into a tree was one example given.)

"There's a lot of reasons for people to hit us with negativity," Molyneux said. "I've got to accept that."

As for why he took the Kickstarter route in the first place despite the reaction it might receive, Molyneux said that going to publishers and investors for the funding could be problematic at the moment as both groups have their hands full coping with the ongoing turmoil in the industry. Despite that, Molyneux may wind up having to seek their assistance anyway, should the Project Godus Kickstarter fall short of its goal (in which case none of the pledged money would be collected for 22 Cans).

In that event, Molyneux explained, "We'd have to look at some of the more traditional routes. I think it would be a tough world to be in if we weren't funded, that's for sure."

The team at 22 Cans is hoping to release an alpha version of Project Godus to backers around Christmas, at which point they will use analytics to track player behavior and change the experience accordingly. Molyneux was particularly eager to begin testing and tweaking cycles early, as he has found traditional focus group testing comes too near the end of a project, too late to incorporate significant player feedback.

22 Comments

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,178 966 0.8
I feel like I'm watching a soap opera...

~AC

Posted:A year ago

#1
Slow news day I reckon....

Posted:A year ago

#2
Popular Comment
It is the reason I was so against the cult of personality when I saw the vultures circulating round PM's utterances.
This is lazy journalism, and also allows substandard reporting avoiding serious reportage.

Not a slow news day by any means, the coverage could include:
- Atari financial report questioned
- THQ new borrowing plan
- EA decision on Wii-U development
- Wii-U bricking report
- DayZ Standalone news
- MS Holiday 2013 plans for XB3
- SONY financial report for Entertainment
and much much more.....

Posted:A year ago

#3

Jed Ashforth
Senior Game Designer, Immersive Technology Group

110 189 1.7
"Molyneux said that going to publishers and investors for the funding could be problematic at the moment as both groups have their hands full coping with the ongoing turmoil in the industry."

Why would neither group be interested in considering a valid business opportunity where they might make money from a high pedigree developer, unless it's not an attractive business proposition in the first place? Kickstarter is starting to look like the lazy funding option for bigger name developers who really should be able to secure more traditional funding. It's not that hard to still get out there and find funding, and Molyneux should find it easier than most.

Posted:A year ago

#4
Is the use of Kickstarter by industry veterans exploitive? I don't really think so.

In point of fact, Id say that projects by established professionals re a lot more likely to actually deliver to their backers.

In any case, "exploitive" is a funny word. What about all those gamers who want games for free and bitch and moan about
charges like they somehow had a right to get other people's work for nothing? How "exploitive" are they?

Posted:A year ago

#5
Why would neither group be interested in considering a valid business opportunity where they might make money from a high pedigree developer,

Because the traditional publisher model is rapidly dying. See THQ as the first example.

The retail chain is the core of that model and it is *quickly* being replaced by direct to consumer digital sales ala Steam.

Most of the traditional publishers "don't know whether to sh-t or go blind' and are gripped in a paralysis of fear.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeffrey Kesselman on 3rd December 2012 5:28pm

Posted:A year ago

#6

Bonnie Patterson
Freelance Narrative Designer

159 432 2.7
Popular Comment
Given that bankers like to be able to point at something identical and say "This is the same so it will make x money" and Molyneux's liking for making things that are weird and new, I can see why he'd go for Kickstarter. And not having a giant loan to repay might be pleasantly reflected in the final price of the product.

I think Molyneux's willingness to play with the medium, especially with intelligence techniques, is a bright and wonderful contribution to the industry, whether or not he realizes in full everything he attempts. I'd be very sad to see him retire, so glad he has no plans in that direction.

Posted:A year ago

#7
@Bonnie - Well said.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jeffrey Kesselman on 3rd December 2012 5:51pm

Posted:A year ago

#8
The previous Kickstarter discussion got sidetracked by complaints about those trying to resurrect past content.

As Bonnie stated - avoiding the need to repay a massive loan can not be argued with. But as I will be attending a conference soon where investors will be asking for more projects to invest in, it would seem that all the spaces at the table are being hogged by those that could raise funding in the traditional way blocking real start-up opportunities!

As was asked in the previous KS discussion - what were the reasons why 22Cans could not get funding from traditional sources, as well as what was the reason why ELITE also was turned down by publishers before going for KS route?

Posted:A year ago

#9

Peter Dwyer
Games Designer/Developer

482 293 0.6
In the words of Khan "He tasks me!"

I'm not sure why the press hyped him so much given his admissions of outright lying to them to get hype! It's a self made fall in my opinion and those press vultures deserve to go down with him!

Posted:A year ago

#10

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

876 1,273 1.5
Wow, it's been a few minutes now since PM updated his new blog, GI.biz. Glad there's some new opinion to look at else I wouldn't be able to think for myself...

Posted:A year ago

#11

Andrew Coyle

7 0 0.0
I for one like hearing about Peters thoughts. Plus, he already stated why he's not going down the "traditional funding" route. 22cans don't need to be tied into a publishers demand, and their need to change content to align with marketing pressures. By taking the KS route they can make the game they want to make, and by customers funding them this is clearly the game the customers want.

Godus is the first game I've contributed to, as I have been waiting 20 years for Peter and Co to make a new Populous game. And I cannot wait. I think Peter is a legend who is so passionate and excited by making games. If only more developers were as passionate as him, there'd be more fun out there.

Posted:A year ago

#12

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

876 1,273 1.5
You see, that's the danger of all this fanboyism from the press. There's a default assumption that there isn't any passion amongst other devs unless you use GI.biz and other places as a blog.

I'm more passionate about my games than PM is about his, because I for the most part spend all day developing them, whilst PM seems to spend all day just talking about them.

Although you'll notice he never joins in at these places. I guess we the unwashed masses just aren't worthy.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 4th December 2012 4:51pm

Posted:A year ago

#13
@Paul, no PM dose not lower himself to speak here, but his 22cans / Lionhead mates seem to come over to try and kick around me and other critics of his over-exposure! (Sam... you there?)

Wont get embroiled making this about PM - what I would say is, we need more voices, and less hype. Gi.biz will have to take a difficult decision and avoid the 'social ranking' of stories about the man - and consider reporting the developments from those voices unheard... I know very difficult, but well worth appeasing your credibility.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Andrew
Animator

148 158 1.1
Whats with all the PM bashing? I'm not sure why people are getting so irate.

He's not hurting anyone by promoting himself or his games. I can't see that he is harming the industry by self publicising. What the big deal? If you don't like the PM articles don't read them, and don't comment on them.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Andrew on 4th December 2012 8:46pm

Posted:A year ago

#15
In the good-old-days, a industry article was posted and there was no ability for discussion - now that some sites have allowed commenting and discussion, we see a number of posters asking others to not post comments!

Look, it is a free discussion and we are allowed to voice an opinion - if you look really closely most of us are not even complaining about PM, but why he is being singled out. Best not read these comments if you do not like to know others have different opinions to your own!

Posted:A year ago

#16

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

876 1,273 1.5
Good answer!

Posted:A year ago

#17

Andrew
Animator

148 158 1.1
@Kevin

I don't mind your opinion or anyone elses for that matter. What bugs me on this stie is why users feel the need to beat the same drum accross 15 different articles.

Every single PM article now boils down to the same PM bashing, Every article about Zynga has Bruce posting first about how amazing Zynga is. The original point of the articles or any discussion about their content is lost.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrew on 5th December 2012 10:50am

Posted:A year ago

#18
What bugs me on this stie[sp] is why users feel the need to beat the same drum accross[sp] 15 different articles.
@Alex, I can understand that you feel that you are hearing the same old voices and issues vented at different articles - frankly I was concerned that a number of editorial features on certain issues attempted to avoid the 'elephant in the room' regarding what public opinion was over the cult-of-personality. I do not think you will see views subjugated to only one article. I still think however your issue is with what is being said counter to a personal position, rather than the number of times it is posted?

Posted:A year ago

#19

Andrew
Animator

148 158 1.1
Heh, well, I am by no means a PM fanboy :)

I do think this industry needs personalities, half the problem with outside perceptions of our industry is that people can't relate to annonymous developers. We could do with a few more individuals who can carry the games development flag. Wether PM is one of these people is up for debate, but he does no harm.

Public opinion is an interesting one though, I can't say I have seen or heard of a public outcry against celebrity developers. At least not outside of the comments section of this this website.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Andrew on 5th December 2012 4:07pm

Posted:A year ago

#20

Paul Johnson
Managing Director / Lead code monkey

876 1,273 1.5
>> What bugs me on this stie is why users feel the need to beat the same drum accross 15 different articles.

That's funny. What bugs me about this is that PM gets 15 different articles. :)

Posted:A year ago

#21

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