Peter Molyneux Calls Microsoft a "Creative Padded Cell"

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Peter Molyneux Calls Microsoft a "Creative Padded Cell"

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Peter Molyneux says a bizarre moment involving a mandatory adjustment of his office chair convinced him that it was time to get away from Microsoft.

There was a time when Peter Molyneux worked magic. Like Magic Carpet, for instance, a wonderful flying carpet simulator, or Populous, the original god game, or Syndicate, a dystopian, hyper-violent game of extreme insider trading. His output over the past decade or so hasn't been quite so remarkable, however; the Black & White and Fable franchises are both ambitious but neither has thus far lived up to its hype.

But after more than five years of living under the Microsoft umbrella, Molyneux announced in March that he's striking out on his own once again. He left the company on good terms but said there was no question that he had to get out, a point driven home by a rather strange encounter with Microsoft's "chair adjustment personnel."

Molyneux said that recent accolades like a BAFTA Fellowship and various lifetime achievement awards made him "unbelievably proud" but at the same time forced him to question whether or not he actually deserved them, and also fueled an "unbelievable desire to make something." And then one day, as he was sitting in his chair, eyes closed, headphones on, trying to come up with ideas for Fable: The Journey, a seemingly random and unrelated incident finally broke the camel's back.

"Suddenly I felt my chair move. I looked around. Standing there was the Microsoft chair adjustment personnel, this nice woman who comes once a month, fiddling with my chair settings to make sure it was posturepedically correct," he told Develop. "I thought; this is insane. I was in a creative padded cell. Everything I did couldn't hurt me, both creatively and physically. The danger was long gone. I had this huge desire to make something truly special, and I felt like I was being suffocated creatively a little bit. That was the moment I realized I had to go."

Molyneux said he still meets with Xbox executives but believes that his best chance at changing the world will come through his new indie studio 22 Cans. And even though he has a rap sheet that most designers would kill for, he said he doesn't believe that any of his work stands among the greatest games of all time. "To achieve that is my absolute, absolute passion," he said. "All the steps that I've taken in my life have led me to this point."

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So he left because someone touched his chair?

This guy is looney.

Microsoft doesn't trust their own employees enough to let them adjust their own chairs?

This company is looney

They're both looney, but we love Molyneux for it more than we do Microsoft... right? o.O

I thought his last few games failed (eventhough i enjoyed them) because he doesnt know when to stop adding new ideas and thus the games are less than what they could have been. I like that he is imaginative and creative but when making a game you stop implementing new ideas and just make the game - if you have time once your finished then add new stuff. But atleast make the core gameplay good to begin with. Its like he starts off wanting to make the best loaf of bread he can and then half way through decides to make a cake instead and try to turn the bread mix into cake mix. All you end up doing is make an ok cake instead of an awesome loaf of bread.

MartianWarMachine:
They're both looney, but we love Molyneux for it more than we do Microsoft... right? o.O

I do. At least Molyneux dosen't charge $60 for online just so you can get screamed at by 12 year olds.

RaikuFA:

MartianWarMachine:
They're both looney, but we love Molyneux for it more than we do Microsoft... right? o.O

I do. At least Molyneux dosen't charge $60 for online just so you can get screamed at by 12 year olds.

Or make you use GFWL if you want to kill Tyranids and Heretics...

And angry bipedal fungi, and arrogant space elves, and join-us-or-die space communists, and...

RaikuFA:

MartianWarMachine:
They're both looney, but we love Molyneux for it more than we do Microsoft... right? o.O

I do. At least Molyneux dosen't charge $60 for online just so you can get screamed at by 12 year olds.

Yet.

I find it absolutely hilarious that someone would go around the office, adjusting chairs regardless of their current state of occupancy.

Scars Unseen:

RaikuFA:

MartianWarMachine:
They're both looney, but we love Molyneux for it more than we do Microsoft... right? o.O

I do. At least Molyneux dosen't charge $60 for online just so you can get screamed at by 12 year olds.

Yet.

I find it absolutely hilarious that someone would go around the office, adjusting chairs regardless of their current state of occupancy.

I think it's time Microsoft took a page from the Initech handbook and called in the Bobs.

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So your job here is to adjust people's chairs for them?

I think Molyneux going indie is either going to give us something really awesome or complete crap. I hope it's the former and we can get something fresh.

Chair. Adjustment. Personnel. I don't know how, I don't know why, but SOMEHOW this is Obama's fault.

And even though he has a rap sheet that most designers would kill for, he said he doesn't believe that any of his work stands among the greatest games of all time.

Sheeeeet, props to the guy to be able to say that. Hopefully he makes good one his words here.

So the lady who wants to make sure you aren't hurting your back in the chair (I'm guessing that's her job), is what made you say "Screw it MAN! You're bringing me down MAN! My creativity can't flourish here, MAN!"...?

Sure, why the frack not with this guy, he's insane enough as it is...

Or was she just checking the straps on the chair Pete. Making sure you wasn't trying to eat your crayons or write some insane blag about your next game?

I still love Peter Molyneux, his whole life seems to be one long Monty Python-esque sketch.

MartianWarMachine:
They're both looney, but we love Molyneux for it more than we do Microsoft... right? o.O

I know I do. Microsoft's lunacy is just run-of-the-mill "what the fuck is wrong with you people" lunacy. Peter's lunacy is just oddly charming, I can never find it in me to dislike the guy.

Microsoft makes me giggle sometimes. I've dreamed my entire life of being a chair adjustment personnel.

Molyneux is also a little bit worrying but not so much as people who hire other people to adjust people's chairs to a default setting.

Sorry, but molyneux has been upstaged in this story by the revelation that microsoft hires chair adjustment personel. I mean...what other jobs to microsoft have people going around doing?

cursedseishi:
So the lady who wants to make sure you aren't hurting your back in the chair (I'm guessing that's her job), is what made you say "Screw it MAN! You're bringing me down MAN! My creativity can't flourish here, MAN!"...?

Sure, why the frack not with this guy, he's insane enough as it is...

The thought that Microsoft employs at least one person to adjust everyone's chair for optimum ergonomics, rather than trusting that they can handle their own butt-holsters, is what did it for him. Microsoft doesn't want to take a risk that their developers might not perform at their optimum capacity, making optimum profits; Molyneux sees the chair adjustment as a metaphor for not wanting to take risks of any kind, which is the antithesis of creativity. I hope he does produce something amazing; he's kinda pretentious, but we need big names who love creating games and exploring what they can do.

As interesting as the chair adjustment personal job sounds I personally would like to be the guy who goes around making sure no corner is too sharp for people to injure themselves on but just sharp enough so that everything isn't completely rounded.

he should make a game about the hardships of being a small timer in the chair positioning crew and you work your way up to the top of the... chair?

RaikuFA:
So he left because someone touched his chair?

This guy is looney.

Yes but he is the kind of looney that we all love to have in our lives.

I'd love if someone checked our chairs once a month at my office. I'm pretty sure we're in violation of some kind of health laws. Someone even had to take like 3 weeks off work because they developed severe back pain from our shitty as fuck chairs.

Something was touched, but I think it wasn't Peter's chair, but his head...

Ralen-Sharr:
I think Molyneux going indie is either going to give us something really awesome or complete crap. I hope it's the former and we can get something fresh.

I have to agree. I'm looking forward to discovering whether Microsoft's overbearing presence was smothering Molyneux's creativity or if they were the only thing wrangling his wild ideas into forming an actual shippable product. From what I've experienced of his games I think both possibilities are about equally likely. Whether his games are amazing or unplayable I have no doubt they'll be interesting.

It always seems that Molyneux has big impossible ideas. I wonder if he's been restrained by the level of available technology more than anything else? I'd love to play the game that Fable was hyped to be. Maybe the tech has caught up to it?

XMark:
It always seems that Molyneux has big impossible ideas. I wonder if he's been restrained by the level of available technology more than anything else? I'd love to play the game that Fable was hyped to be. Maybe the tech has caught up to it?

He's always been restrained by reality more than anything else.

But still... Microsoft has "chair adjustment personnel"? I... will be right back, after I'm done laughing hysterically.

Aww, poor Molyneux. :( I'ld definately put the Fable series up there as one of the best series of all time. So what #3 was just more #2. #2 was great! So i saw no real problem :/

Really hope he makes the breakthrough game he wants to.

Thunderous Cacophony:

The thought that Microsoft employs at least one person to adjust everyone's chair for optimum ergonomics, rather than trusting that they can handle their own butt-holsters, is what did it for him. Microsoft doesn't want to take a risk that their developers might not perform at their optimum capacity, making optimum profits; Molyneux sees the chair adjustment as a metaphor for not wanting to take risks of any kind, which is the antithesis of creativity. I hope he does produce something amazing; he's kinda pretentious, but we need big names who love creating games and exploring what they can do.

This statement is perfectly worded. *claps*
Also nice name xD It's the antithesis of mine. i'ld have taken that if i thought of it.

ReservoirAngel:

MartianWarMachine:
They're both looney, but we love Molyneux for it more than we do Microsoft... right? o.O

I know I do. Microsoft's lunacy is just run-of-the-mill "what the fuck is wrong with you people" lunacy. Peter's lunacy is just oddly charming, I can never find it in me to dislike the guy.

I know, right? He's like...

...I spent over an hour trying to think of a way to describe him, and failed ._.

Wow. Even when leaving a company Molyneux is cwazy.

As much I hated Fable 3, and as much I don't like the way The Journey looks, I just can't not like Molyneux. The guy is an oddball, but his enthusiasm for making weird and oddball games is incredibly infectious. He sometimes is way too imaginative for his own good, and that does geet in the way of making a completely coherent game, but I love that he isn't as cynical as other developers or other industry types. What needs, on top of a new studio like 22 Cans, is someone to reign him in every now and then before he hurts himself. Not like what Microsoft was doing, obviously, but someone to give him a reality check before his stomach gets bigger than his eyes.

Well, if you'd created two incredibly successful game studios and one was bought by EA, the other by Microsoft - you'd go crazy too.

So many wasted franchises.

MartianWarMachine:

ReservoirAngel:

MartianWarMachine:
They're both looney, but we love Molyneux for it more than we do Microsoft... right? o.O

I know I do. Microsoft's lunacy is just run-of-the-mill "what the fuck is wrong with you people" lunacy. Peter's lunacy is just oddly charming, I can never find it in me to dislike the guy.

I know, right? He's like...

...I spent over an hour trying to think of a way to describe him, and failed ._.

I always say he's kind of like a video game character in and of himself.

Calls Microsoft a "Creative Padded Cell"

Yeah, I can get behind that.

He left the company on good terms.

Wait, but... calling them a "Creative Padded Cell" is leaving on good terms?

0.o

You don't mess with people's chairs.

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