The Rainmakers

The Rainmakers
Peter Molyneux

Howard Wen | 6 Mar 2007 11:00
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TE: What's your feeling about religion and videogames, and the likely controversy surrounding it? There's been recent fuss over the Left Behind PC game, which makes any controversy that Populous had - over its "savior" character - back in its day very minor in comparison.

PM: I think religion is an intrinsic part of the world and part of our evolution. What is fascinating is that every culture has its own interpretation of religion, and that religion has featured throughout history. As cave drawings show, even as early as then primitive man had his own perception of religion. The problem with religion is that it is one of the easiest ways to offend the vast majority of people, and so any videogame, whether it be Populous or Left Behind, has to realize that any reference or treatment of religion is risky, to say the least.

TE: Your fellow contemporary Will Wright has made a name for himself with games that, in their essence, are "god games" as well - especially The Sims and Spore. But his body of work appears to lack the morality-as-gameplay element seen in your best-known titles. What are your thoughts about this?

PM: I think it's easier to create a story and character around fixed morals in the case of story-based games.

Will's games are some of the most brilliant ever created. I think it would be easy for him to create a moral game, but he has chosen not to do this for perhaps very good gameplay reasons. Will's games are interesting, because most of his games are based on current issues and about characters you create. He does, however, allow you to do some unspeakably vicious things to your characters!

TE: How do you feel about the criticism that a number of your games "over-promised" compared to the final product (e.g., Fable), which critics felt lacked a bit in gameplay?

PM: Fable proved to be a really hard game to finish, because we had never done an RPG before and had never ever done a console game before, and we were under a great deal of pressure at the end.

TE: Is this the result of you having to balance between needing to promote a game early in its development vs. what the finished title turns out to be?

PM: I do get into an awful lot of trouble for doing this. It's just that I get so passionate and excited when I'm explaining a game to anyone, be they a journalist or someone I just met down the pub. The root of this is probably that I genuinely want to create the best game ever, but such a statement requires an explanation about how this will be possible.

I have tried to "restrain" myself in recent interviews, but found it really hard to answer a simple question like "Why are you doing Fable 2?" without launching into a detailed explanation. When I meet with the team, usually I say, "Let's make Fable 2 the greatest game ever." At least I'm consistent! Fable 2 in my opinion - here we go again - will live up to expectations.

TE: The vast majority of your games were developed originally for the PC platform. Can you explain why this has been the case?

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