Peter Molyneux is famous among gaming community, for his titles such as Populous, Black and White and Fable. Everyone talks about Peter, though not always in a good way.
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Making a promise is one thing, but delivering what has been promised is completely different. That is what Peter Molyneux is known for, the man who likes to promise too much. He warns others not to do mistakes, yet Peter tends to repeat same ones over and over again. Might be due to the fact that no one can be a God in real life, and no matter what there will always be flaws in products you create. Unless you are able to assure people that bugs really are intended features.
Long time ago Molyneux created a text-based business simulation game called The Entrepreneur and published it in 1984. In those days any game could easily sell million copies, The Entrepreneur sold only two. So that was the end of his first game and Peter decided to retire as a game designer. Then his company Taurus accidentally got a contract to port a game and that was somewhat successful.
Glorious years started when Peter and his partner Les Edgar founded Bullfrog Productions. We got the first god simulation game called Populous and even though it has been released in 1989, it is still a lot more fun than the latest title in the genre created by the same game designer. The man decided to leave Bullfrog after designing Dungeon Keeper.
One of his best statements while at Bullfrog: "In Theme Park, if your customers get injured on a ride then they will turn up in Theme Hospital," Molyneux said in a 1994 interview with The Guardian. This did not happen and no surprise there. In 1994, connecting two games in that way was still a science-fiction. Even those famous games lacked features that Molyneux promised to implement. He might have been ahead of his time, but you would think one would learn from his own mistakes and stop giving such eager promises.
In 1997, another company was founded by Peter Molyneux and we all heard of it. Lionhead Studios, and its first game was once again god simulation, called Black & White. It was funny, engaging and rather challenging, but being a God cannot be easy. He invested $6 million in game’s development, yes his own money. The sequel was not so successful, though it was still a lot more fun than the latest god game created by Peter.
What followed was legendary Fable series. It was not a god game, the genre he got famous for. Role-playing action Fable, with open world got huge fan community and was published by Microsoft. Few sequels have been released and when things started to go down the hill it was time to leave again. This time Molyneux joined 22Cans and the first thing they done was to brainstorm a new god game. Godus was funded through Kickstarter in December 2012. Many fans jumped in to back the new title by Peter Molyneux, the very man who started the genre.
Were players expecting too much, or is it the case that Peter Molyneux cannot deliver his promises? The game is currently available through Steam Early Access and if you check it out, you can see all of the negative feedback it got. My favourite tags for Godus are Farmville and Cow-clicker. Is it really that bad? Must be, if a man is crying for it. Peter said in one interview how he is not good at marketing the games, but judging by the whole lot of results on Google he is doing better than most marketing companies.
The trouble is that gamers learnt not to trust promises again, at least I hope that is the case, so many titles were released that did not look like anything they were said to be. Godus looks like one of those at the moment, though it could be improved a lot before the final release. So, are Peter’s tears genuine, or is it just another marketing trick? He is a human, not a God, so it could be due to his emotions. Although, tears won’t help, what users need is a good game with all features that Godus was supposed to have.
We all like to talk and write about the man, he surely knows how to get community’s attention. Negative publicity is still a publicity. Well, it doesn’t really help if your latest game has lot more negative reviews than good ones. In the end, we are all just humans, even those who develop god games. It will be interesting to see how Fable Legends will play, considering that Peter left Lionhead Studios and company got a new leader. In the meanwhile, Godus is going down the hill big time, will he leave to found a new company, or stick with 22Cans for a while?
Dolores is SEO and Digital Marketing consultant who has been completely hog-washed into doing this site by KC.