Molyneux's Unfocused Innovation

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 NEXT
 

I never realised he was responsible for all of those games actually. I loved Dungeon Keeper. Theme Park and Magic Carpet. And while I didn't play any of the original Populous games, Populous the Beginning was amazing I thought.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Snip

The sad reality is that were just in the last phase of our media's evolution, the evolution into an entertainment media. When it was cheap to make a mainstream games, it had a small group of loyal players, and technology was pounding against us to innovate, developers had to make quality games or die.

Since technology has reached the upmost limits, we don't know what to do with it but keep pushing. We aren't being forced to make new genres or new mechanics, so we don't make new mechanics, we just keep reusing them.

Games are so expensive to make with all the bells and whistles they are expected to have, companies are forced to calculate based on what has sold to please the investors that their money is "safe," and what is safe is sequels and rip-offs. Innovation is risky business, and the word risk isn't in any investor's vocabulary.

I really enjoyed Fable 3. The thing is, I have spent a short while working at Lionhead, and I have noticed one thing - the connection between head and developer is a bit weird. Thats great though - some heads of companies don't really touch the ground floor, they just get wheeled out for marketing and pick up money. But the Lionhead devs sort of interpret what he says and put it in in a way that makes sense for them, hence the shifting tone, maybe some committee design, consisting of PM and the devs, not someone wheeled in for this very purpose (because thats where it begins), would improve things somewhat, and make it feel slightly stronger.
But overall, I was impressed with Fable 3, especially as I didn't think I'd like it to begin with.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
If he were making Dungeon Keeper today he'd probably let the player take their individual imps on romantic dinners.

Overlord II's beaten him to it, or just about.

Sebenko:

Arcanum, Fallout 2 and Minecraft.

Um, Fallout 2 was a triple-A game.

vivaldiscool:

Sebenko:

Arcanum, Fallout 2 and Minecraft.

Um, Fallout 2 was a triple-A game.

Maybe by 1998 standards.

Did triple-A even exist in 1998?

Boo-hoo. I think they still make good games. Or maby I am a fanboy of shiny graphics that I won't get to see since my computer can't take that much punishment.
Or maybe it's the fact that when warez is not illegal where you live, you tend to complain less.

That's right, fuckers, I actually enjoyed Bioshock 2. I finished it 3 times. I'm a terrible, terrible person.

I hadn't realized he had made Dungeon Keeper. that was a fantastic game.

Great article although I'd point out that all established big names come from bygone eras; that's sort of the point... there could be some today but they are still in the process of establishing themselves

Man, I wish Monlynuex would make Dungeon Keeper 3. A freaken loved the first 2. I still remember some of the matches I had with my brothers. Nothing is worse then having your entire army captured, only to have those same guys switch sides while prisoner, and coming to attack you.

Dungeon Keeper 3 was promised, I remember the trailer on Dungeon Keeper 2! :p 11 years is a good enough gap isnt it :p .

In anycase, that game was amazing, I wish there where more games like that, I especially loved the spell that lets you control your own guys, so you could see your duengon from their point of view.

Bullfrog was an amazing company, so sad Molyneux couldn't stay with it :( .

Palademon:
If it ain't broke don't fix it. And Fable 1 didn't need fixing >_>
The way to improve is to add and tweak, not waterdown everything. Fable 1 had many situational spells that did different things. Fable 3 has different things (mostly elements) that I can choose from to throw at people. The real flavour of Fable in Fable 3 only came out with the side quests.

Come on Peter, you can fix this broken series.

I agree, fable tlcs spells were amazing due to variety. Fable 2/3s was basically the same damn thing but but with a different look.
I dont think fable can be fixed however. Fable (tlc) was my favorite game. Fable 2 drifted away from that, it all became watered down, skills, the world everything, the charm fable 1 had had gone too. After 2 LH and PM could have looked at the response and said "ok this is what worked and this didnt" but they didnt do that, no one liked the family, no one liked the jobs, no one cared about the dog. But it was all back. No one liked how watered down it had become, but now it became even more diluted and shallow. if they didnt listen after 2 and just went further along thier path of dumbing things down to make it more "accesible" they arent listening and they obviously dont realise what they are doing is killing fable (it is, ask anyone and its Fable (tlc) >>>>>>>>>>>>> F2>>>>>F3). Fable is dead, PM has just lost it, no one cares about half the crap they have put in the game now, but they dont notice that. Fable tlc had stealing/fightclubs/fishing, that was removed, now you can just hold A to dance with people... Yeah.

I like the game world of Fable series. I just wish they would make it open world. Problem with Peter is that he bases everything on what he thinks we want, not what us gamers want. Fable 2 came and went and there were parts we, as gamers, hated and didnt want. Also we had things we wanted added and things we wanted deleted. But then Peter ignores all this input and carries on regardless with the waste of space dog and everything else in Fable 3. Evolving weapons, grabbing hands etc really didnt add much. He should concentrate on the core gameplay and a huge game world with a great story. Not spend his time on the pointless little additions that have nothing to do with the core issues. yes he does try new things and thats great, but i wish he would concentrate on things he has already done. Here is hoping Fable 4 will be the title the series deserve.

Perhaps the best thing to do is let Fable come to an end. After being the king and introducing all these new (well, not that new) features where now. Remove them and dismiss them as a failed experiment? Or keep the franchise alive? Honestly, I would want to see Fable go now rather than carry on. It has fun moments but many parts of Fables gameplay are negated because you becoma a monarch.

I'll explain, buying a house and living in it is redundant because the player probably knows they will become King or Queen and live in the castle again. So houses are only there to buy and rent out. Making sure that the player doesn't get the best house for free is not a great idea in my opinion.

Marrying NPCs is another part where the game shoots itself in the foot (and in other Fable games too) because they all look the same. In 3 especially, this is a poor choice because most NPCs don't fit into the King or Queen role. Most look poor and they also look like 10 other NPCs in the area.

Also, get rid of hats for some NPCs. Is everyone in Albion so self conscious that they have to hide their hair or cut it off? It makes them blend into the crowd if they wear the same hat as everyone else. In games a hairstlye/colour of hair can be a distinguishing feature.

I guess I just prefer RPGs that don't try to please everyone by becoming action adventures. Also I prefer to communicate with NPCs by talking with them, not farting in their face. Shaking hands before conversation is ok but when it is the only way to communicate there is a lack of real interaction.

I cannot begin to express how let down i am that you didn't snipe the sound effects when you befriend people in fable 3 after seeing watching the episode and noticing it isn't there, especially since you more or less played the game exactly like i did ;)

Spot on, Yahtzee, spot on. The state of the industry is depressing to be sure. I find myself purchasing less games every year because of the increase in samey, mediocre "Triple A" titles. Is there something to be said when I find I enjoy my time gaming with my Commodore Amiga 500 or NES more than my Xbox 360 or PS3? I'm rather biased towards old games actually, little to no "narrative" setup required and straightforward objectives that make for hours upon hours of engaging entertainment. For all of the millions spent on big name budgets for bleeding-edge visuals, they always seem to die of cardiac arrest when you bring up the notion of "engaging gameplay."

On a retro note, I just bought a like-new Colecovision from eBay and am awaiting it's arrival. It was one of the first consoles I ever owned and saw it thrown out in a basement clean up by my parents some 15 years ago. It's sure to be a wonderful reunion.

Innovation IS dead in AAA. Too much risk with too much money. Yahtzee is right that the industry is headed for trouble. AAA costs too much and the real money is made in social games and WoW.

I've had fun with both Triple A and indie games alike. What I need to be smart about is knowing which ones to buy. My little brother is a big CoD and Halo fan and buys every single new game for both, mostly because his spazzy friends constantly demand he buys them. I think it's mostly peer pressure that so many people buy these games upon release since most of their friends will too.

As far as Pete Molyneux is concerned, giant animal penis. That being said, he did Syndicate?! That game fucking rocked!

I agree 100% about the inconsistent tone in Fable 3, and this comes only from watching my brother play through the introduction. That opening cinematic can't decide whether it wants to be symbolically poignant or rip off Chicken Run. And then the tutorial. Oh the tutorial. The king is undoubtedly the worst-characterised villain in videogame history: his meaningless sadism undermines any attempt to establish a serious Marxist parable, because you can't help but laugh at how cartoonishly evil he is.

As for the rest of the game, well, every five seconds I walk in and think: 'this looks exactly like Fable 2'. And my brother goes "It's Fable 2. But with a menu that makes you walk through doors."

Couldn't agree more about the tone. If the game made more of a commitment to being serious most of the time, made the faceless NPCs less interactive and important, introduced new characters, extended the map, and just added more quests and what not for added playtime, I think it would have been infinitely better. Especially if they stuck to more tongue-in-cheek humor and left more of the kiddy stuff out. I don't know, maybe have an actual developed character? Seriously, Fable is an RPG in name only, if ol' petey wanted to go all out adventure game, then why not have a more developed main character? Especially considering Fable has such a binary moral choice system. All you would have to do is two recordings for each choice, good or evil. That really wouldn't be that hard. I liked the direction they took the story in, they just should have committed more.

I always look up to Peter. He may be a dinosaur in the current mainstream era but I grew up with the notion of making games as fun as the Bullfrog ones back in the day.

Shamanic Rhythm:
I agree 100% about the inconsistent tone in Fable 3, and this comes only from watching my brother play through the introduction. That opening cinematic can't decide whether it wants to be symbolically poignant or rip off Chicken Run. And then the tutorial. Oh the tutorial. The king is undoubtedly the worst-characterised villain in videogame history: his meaningless sadism undermines any attempt to establish a serious Marxist parable, because you can't help but laugh at how cartoonishly evil he is.

As for the rest of the game, well, every five seconds I walk in and think: 'this looks exactly like Fable 2'. And my brother goes "It's Fable 2. But with a menu that makes you walk through doors."

That's an understatement. The most ridiculous thing about overthrowing the king is that by that point you frigging realize that he's been so "evil" because he's trying to friggin' save Albion. The whole thing made me feel like a complete ass for overthrowing him. And then if you actually keep your promises and become a benevolent king, you kill your entire population, not to mention the fact that you would only need to implement the "evil" policies for a year and then you could become a benevolent philosopher-king. The entire thing was completely ridiculous to the point where I had not only lost all immersion in the game, but was openly laughing at it for forcing me to make these retarded decisions. But Yahtzee already summarized most of my complaints in the video.

Not to mention the fact that YOU'RE STILL KING. IT'S NOT ABOUT FREEDOM OR DEMOCRACY OR MARXISM, IT'S ABOUT ONE MONARCH OVERTHROWING ANOTHER. Some revolution eh?

Electrogecko:

Lordofthesuplex:

These days, everywhere, I look I find more and more evidence that the breed of games I like most - immersive, artistically-driven triple-A console titles - are dying. Unsustainable. Ruinously expensive to develop and insufficiently purchased by consumers who have gradually been bred to immediately reject anything that doesn't have the shiniest graphics, the realistic-est physics and the growliest insecure-est white male space marines.

And now you see why I support the Wii so much Mr. Croshaw. At least it tries and does things different with this industry and doesn't bend over backwards for the graphics whores and space marine shooter snobs. I'm not saying the other consoles don't occasionally have more original artistically driven stuff but it's few and far between now between stuff like Killzone, HALO, Call of Duty, ect. I don't buy a console just to play FPSs set in space or in a real life war. I need variety.

I was going to say something similar. Why is it that Yahtzee is so bent against the Wii and Nintendo if this is the way he feels about games? Does he think that triple-A means a visual level that the Wii can't handle? That motion controls have led to no innovations or expansions to the medium? He seems to be being hypocritical in the passage you quoted.

I think part of it is just playing the crowd. Escapist isn't exactly friendly to the Wii, so Yahtzee's videos reflect that. Just like the attitude that says every FPS has you playing as a bulked up spesh mahreene, whereas I find those to actually pale in comparison to the number of shooters reflecting either modern or historical engagements.

Anyways, the topic at hand. The biggest problem, in my opinion, anyways, has gone from the companies themselves to the shareholders. Whereas a company head may support trying new IPs, such as EA's venture with Mirror's Edge, the shareholders want games that make money. Which, in my mind, is why we are starting to see games getting churned out with shorter development cycles and bigger marketing campaigns.

HankMan:
Fable 3 does try to be too much.
That doesn't mean it isn't fun to play, but it's broken. I wish Petter hadn't condensed the storyline so much (among other things)
And apparently the 'game' does end when you become king.

what?

Interesting.

I'll be honest in saying that Peter Molyneux bugs me, though I do keep buying his Fable games. I do tend to agree that he tends to run with some really bad ideas. The whole thing about using a series of rooms to manage inventory is a horrible annoyance, but I got the impression it was intended to appeal to the "durrr, I can't be bothered to read" casual demographic who complain about menus and inventory screens. I honestly think Fable 3 was pretty decent overall, but actually suffered from doing things like making eating meat a moral desician, since if your not a vegan your pretty much evil (and this was actually praised by various animal rights groups).

I'll also say that one of the things that I like about Fable is that it demonstrates that you don't have to be tied down by either bright and cartoony and for kids, or grim and gritty and for adults. It covers a lot of material, and that's the point of the whole thing. Just because there are mind-raping cthulhuoid horrors, and sex with women (lol), does not mean that the entire thing needs to be some grim faced hyper-realistic mess, drawn entirely in shades of grey, where it never stops raining.

I like artistically driven Triple A games (Just Cause 2 and Arkham Asylum lulwut?) Neither are bad, but neither are exactly artistic, even Arkham Asylum since it's just a good superhero game.

Also, name more then 10 artistically driven Triple A games. No Tim Schafer, he admitted himself he's in it to try and make wildly popular games that earn him a lot of money.

So I just realized he was co-founder of Bullfrog... my mind's slightly blown btw.

As much of an at best casual interest I've taken in the Fable games, I have to admit that I too have always respected Molyneux, because he has the balls to stick his balls on the rails for all to see, but isn't afraid to leap off and apologise to everyone for not delivering. He'll admit being too ambitious or misguided, but at least he was damn well passionate about it in the first place. I'm hoping he manages what he wants to achieve some day, and I just think Fable 4 isn't going to be that realisation.

The cartoony visuals are supposed to help illustrate the "fairy tale book" theme that the entire franchise is built around. It works for me, really.

Speaking of Dungeon Keeper, I really need to figure out how to get DK2 working on my computer. It doesn't seem to like Vista 64 and an 8 core processor.

If people keep buying cookie-cutter shooters, people will keep making them. It is as simple as that. Innovation occurs when it is the only option left; very few people will take the risky option when the can make 3x the amount of money with the product they released last year

Electrogecko:

Lordofthesuplex:

These days, everywhere, I look I find more and more evidence that the breed of games I like most - immersive, artistically-driven triple-A console titles - are dying. Unsustainable. Ruinously expensive to develop and insufficiently purchased by consumers who have gradually been bred to immediately reject anything that doesn't have the shiniest graphics, the realistic-est physics and the growliest insecure-est white male space marines.

And now you see why I support the Wii so much Mr. Croshaw. At least it tries and does things different with this industry and doesn't bend over backwards for the graphics whores and space marine shooter snobs. I'm not saying the other consoles don't occasionally have more original artistically driven stuff but it's few and far between now between stuff like Killzone, HALO, Call of Duty, ect. I don't buy a console just to play FPSs set in space or in a real life war. I need variety.

I was going to say something similar. Why is it that Yahtzee is so bent against the Wii and Nintendo if this is the way he feels about games? Does he think that triple-A means a visual level that the Wii can't handle? That motion controls have led to no innovations or expansions to the medium? He seems to be being hypocritical in the passage you quoted.

Nintendo are hardly the most innovative either. They've got their major IPs. The recent Super Mario collection for the Wii is a prime example. Nintendo are no better than any other company. For better or worse they gave us motion controls and a 3D handheld, but even then their first thought is "How do we get Mario, Zelda and Metroid on this?"... Ok, Microsoft is a little worse I guess because what they did is design their own motion control system and go "Now, how can we make this more like the Wii."

PS3 has done some pretty good work, the move seems like a shameless rip off of the Wii, but at least its, for the most part, being used on games that attract a core audience. Even they suffer though, churning out God of War sequels that keep getting progressively worse. But they developed a console MMO which was an interesting move.

360 gave us some interesting titles too, Overlord, Dead Rising and, yes, even Fable.

None of the devs are majorly innovative. If Nintendo do take more risks, it's not a noteworthy amount.

Good article. It pretty much summed up my own thuoghts on Molyneux. He's a great idea man, but not so good at executing these ideas. Have all these ideas are great, but instead of takeing a few good ones and making sure they work well he's takeing them all and letting them go a just working.

The glitter trail was terrible! Talk about being led by the nose! The lack of inventory in Fable 3 is dumb. Apparently there were a lot of complaints about the inventory from fable 2. Thats not an issue with haveing an inventory but with having a poorly designed one. Console games have terrible list inventorys, list after list after list and they suck, yes, but that's as much a limitation of the system you are working with as the developers innovation.

Molyneux makes good ideas, not good games.

This was one of the smarter one's I've read. He nailed why in Fable 3 I basically said "Ok... But I don't care" for more than half the useless crap.

Edit: Also would like to add that Molyneaux needs to keep it up, but just stop with Fable already

Wait... Molyneux created Syndicate?

Wow.

How the mighty have fallen.

Oh great....doom and gloom, I'll be honest right or wrong Im really sick of hearing about how bad the industry is,

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here