What if Pokemon Snap was about capitalism?
Peter Molyneux isn’t having a good week. Godus, his kickstarted god game, has been receiving more and more anger and ire as 2014 closed and 2015 opened. Then, early this week, he announced his team at 22cans will be moving onto a new game, The Trial, before Godus gets a full release. Much of what was promised for Godus hasn’t been developed. The game’s promised timeline for 2014 included key functionality like the ‘Hubworld’, which would enable multiplayer. This would open up the game to possibilities that only Molyneux seemed to fully understand and was, as usual, entirely passionate about. With Godus placed on the backburner it’s no wonder so many would be so angry. While Molyneux still says the Kickstarter goals are achievable his past promises and timelines haven’t been honest with some of the realities of game development and are making the legendary game designer look very bad. 22cans appears to be in poor shape with rumors about email addresses no longer reachable by the press and the 22cans forums completely taken down. To move onto something else while the promises of a public funded game may be the best business decision, it’s a hard pill for so many to swallow. It doesn’t stop there for Molyneux though.
Eurogamer recently sat down to interview the winner of Molyneux’s last game, Curiosity. You may remember the tiny craze created by such a simple game, popular mainly over it’s prize. Molyneux claimed whoever was the player who broke the last block of a giant cube would win a prize, which turned out to be the opportunity to become a god in his next game. That winner was a then 18 year old Scot Henderson and the game he would rule over was supposed to be Godus. The interview with Scot revealed a trip he went on to visit 22cans, where he played an early version of Godus, and was briefed about his role as a god in a video game. The opportunity seemed like a decent one, where Scot could make some money and have a unique role in a unique video game. Scot then returned home from his trip to 22cans and communication with the company started to dry up only months later. The frequency of emails and updates lessened and Scot started getting no replies to his inquiries. The god of Godus couldn’t get an answer of the games own developer.
Molyneux was upset in the same Eurogamer piece hearing about now 21 year old Scot’s experience. And really it seems Molyneux is disappointed in a lot of things this past week. Once again, though, his week wasn’t over. Rock, Paper, Shotgun called and interviewed Molyneux and published the transcript directly onto their site. The first question? “Do you think that you’re a pathological liar?”. From there the interview isn’t a pretty one. The interview almost comes across as an argument rather than a question and answer session.
Molynuex is his own hype man. In an industry where PR representatives and marketing arms of publishers often steer the stream of discussion for upcoming video games, Molyneux stands up for his games. Does Molyneux often promise more than he can deliver? Absolutely. But don’t other games? We have mistaken passion and pride for intentional deception. I don’t think Molyneux should be allowed to get away making promise after promise and never keeping them, but I don’t believe he should be the fall guy for an industry that keeps breaking its promises.