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Do whatever it takes to de-risk projects - Molyneux

The MGS creative director believes games can learn from TV about researching projects

Peter Molyneux has told GamesIndustry.biz that videogames developers and publishers should look towards the TV industry when it comes to researching what will sell, as a means of de-risking projects as far as possible.

That way, says the Microsoft Game Studios creative director, investors will feel much happier about putting money into productions.

"If risk is not knowing the game you're making, then I think first party, third party, second party, whichever party you say, should be risk-averse," he explained in response to a question about creativity versus risk. "But if you want to create something, invent something, do something new, then you've got to realise you're investors need to have the comfort to make that investment.

"If that means doing user research before you kick off a project, making demos or flavour videos, or locking people in a room and brainstorming them until they understand the concept in order to take that element of risk away - so be it."

He went on to explain that the TV industry has a finely-tuned model of consumer research, which has led to some incredibly successful new series' hitting the screens in the past five years.

"I can tell you, they've got this nailed now. Gone are the days when some long-haired person would sit out in the wilderness for countless weeks and come up with this weird and wacky script - they just don't do that any more.

"I don't know this for sure, but I suspect it's true - when they did a TV series like Dexter... that's a TV series where the hero is a serial killer. Now, if I said that to you, you'd say it sounded awful. But they did the research and hey, guess what? It's a success.

"So I think this is another part of my role - can we look to places other than the games industry and look at how they approach and de-risk things for their investors? How do they create new IP?

"I think television especially, about five years ago, started to have this Renaissance - this golden era - with all these new series. It's going off the boil a bit at the moment because of the writers' strikes and so on, but you can look at that industry. It costs millions of dollars to make the shows, but they can still make a series about a mass murderer, or undertakers, or whatever you decide to choose and make them a success."

The full first part of the interview with Peter Molyneux - in the build-up to his keynote at GDC Europe next week - is available now.

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