The enigmatic creator behind Theme Park, Fable and Populous explains why it’s the best time to be a developer.
There are few developers that can captivate a crowd as effectively as Peter Molyneux.
The mind behind such successful franchises as Theme Park, Fable, Populous and others delivered a keynote at Rezzed (Rock Paper Shotgun’s indie and PC games showcase) and in it he focused on why he decided to leave the cosy setup he had at Microsoft to found his own studio, 22 Cans.
Molyneux being Molyneux, he delivered his reasons in a typically charismatic style and rather than us watering down the passionate sentiments shared during the forty-minute presentation to around two hundred attendees, we decided to let the man himself explain why he’s gone back to being an independent developer.
“I had a fantastic, amazing job. I was working at Lionhead with 200 other people – unbelievably talented people. We were making Fable and I love the Fable franchise – why on Earth would I give that all up and go back to the turbulent seas of indie development? I was sitting at my desk at Microsoft, going through the trials and tribulations of running a studio and I was glancing through Vimeo and I saw this video. It’s cheesy, but there’s something in this video that touched my heart.”
“Every game I’ve made has led me to this point, and this point is the most exciting time in this industry,” said Britain’s most famous developer.
“On the one hand we’ve got these triple-A core game experiences that sell anywhere between two million to twenty million; incredible feature-filled quality experiences. You know, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto; those amazing experiences. On the other side you have got some truly exciting, amazing innovational little games which you have to hunt down on the app store or find on websites on PC – and you have everything in between.”
“We need that huge spectrum of development that those polar opposites bring, because the world has a problem. And the problem is it has too much technology and not enough projects that use that technology”
“At this precise moment in time, there must be a one-hundred million people on this planet playing computer games, just five years ago that number was ten million at most. You could go home today and start working on a game that could touch one-hundred million people’s lives – how fucking cool is that?”
“In addition to this whole new audience we’ve got this thing called persistence, I love this word persistence. I love the fact that just maybe someone will make a game out there that I won’t play for ten hours or twenty hours, I’ll play for a lifetime! Imagine me showing my grandchildren a game that I played when I was 53. That’s not too far away now actually, this idea that the things that we play can last forever. I love that idea.”
“The last thing is that the things that we’re using to interact with these games is constantly changing, from touch to gesture control. Crazy things like Google Glasses to this new thing called Haptic Display. That’s all changing and up for grabs, so what an incredibly exciting time! You mix that excitement with the video I saw about the curious thing, and the idea; why not go out there and be an independent developer again? That’s why I’m doing it.”
Molyneux’s bravery cannot be understated, but like a true visionary he doesn’t want to be constrained by corporate dictum. Instead he wants to create and push the boundaries of player expectations without worrying about offending shareholders – at least that’s what we gleamed from the talk.
22 Cans’ first project Curiosity will be available for iOS and Andriod on August 22nd with a PC version to follow later. The expirament, as Molyneux prefers to call it, revolves around the idea of tapping away at a single persistant online cube made of 60 million cubelets, in order to reveal what’s inside.
The game itself will be free, but the kicker is that everyone in the world will have to buy chisels to tap away at the unique object revealing new layers, and only one person in the world will actually see what’s inside the cube. Sounds insane right? Like something only a bonafide creator would come up with, rather than a massive corporation? Yep and yep.
Who know’s whether Curiosity will be a success, Molyneux himself admits that he has no idea how it’ll be recieved, nevertheless it’ll be very interesting to see how experienced and potential gamers respond to it.
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