Molyneux Talks Godus In Wake Of Curiosity Reveal

Molyneux Talks Godus In Wake Of Curiosity Reveal

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22 Cans mustn't grow, says Peter Molyneux; growth was the tragic mistake he made with Lionhead.

The last cubelet's gone, and Peter Molyneux's Curiosity: What's Inside The Cube - the first of what was supposed to be 22 experiments launched by Molyneux's 22 Cans studio - is done. Now all efforts are concentrated on Godus, the god game that 22 Cans initially thought it could do in-house, but has since taken to a free-to-play publisher. That was a deliberate decision, inspired by 22 Cans' experience with Curiosity, Molyneux says. Curiosity's mobile launch was a back-breaking effort for the small studio, and the result was a buggy release that required intensive after-launch labor to keep afloat. "We just can't do that," says Molyneux, "we're not big enough to do that."

Nor does Molyneux wants to expand 22 Cans, as he sees growth as the "horrible, terrible, tragic mistake" he made with his previous studio, Lionhead. "Lionhead grew to like 300 people," he says. "We just forgot who we were. We forgot why we were. We forgot what was important." Hence his deal with free-to-play publisher DeNA, but he wants to assure gamers - and backers of his Godus Kickstarter - that DeNA will have no influence on Godus' design. Everyone who Kicked in for a mobile digital copy will still get what they pledged for. But much of the end result - at least in terms of microtransactions and pricing - is up in the air at the moment, as Molyneux wants to get input from the pledgers before making any decisions.

However there is one decision that Molyneux has already made, and that has to do with the 22 experiments that 22 Cans was meant to be working on. "I'd love to have the time to do that," says he, but adds that "I don't think that would be sensible to do at the moment." Everyone at 22 Cans is working at full capacity, and he doesn't want to crush them with more workload. Some of the experiments - not all, but some - have had to be sacrificed on the Godus altar. That said, Molyneux plans to sneak some of his experiments into the Godus alpha, and there's always time - once Godus is released - for a return to that experimental vision. In fact, the results of those experiments could be plugged into Godus, over time. "You've always got to remember that in today's world," says Molyneux, "you can continue to develop a game for many, many years after the release, if people like it."

Godus' release date has yet to be confirmed. It will be a PC and mobile title, when it launches.

Source: Rock Paper Shotgun

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However much I enjoy god games, I just have not been attracted to Godus. What I liked about Black & White was the number of things I could do as a god, just changing the terrain just seems a little too basic for me.

The more I hear from Molyneux, the more I get the impression of a very smart, very charismatic man... with about the attention span of a flea on meth.

Lionhead was too big with three hundred people?... The recurring theme of later Molyneux-headed games, it increasingly seems to me, is an enormous number of ideas, some half-finished, some never implemented, trailing off into a product that only fairly late in the cycle did someone realize they had to make a game out of. The reward for Curiosity and the approach to Godus both seem reminiscent of this approach: "Oh, now we have to follow through on offering a life-changing prize, don't we...? So, the Kickstarter went through, right?" "Great, now we can start on Godus! I have so many ideas... that I can't possibly build the game I've promised with the staff I have on hand. Hmm, what to do..."

I like Molyneux, in some ways, I really do. I appreciate that there are still people in the business who dream big in an era of risk-aversion. But it's really beginning to seem that he has neither the discipline nor the ability to focus and condense a vision required of a good team leader.

When Godus started, in the mists of time, it was pitched as "Single Player, Multiplayer, Cross-Platform gameplay".

Except now there's going to be some sort of top god spot everyone vies for wherein you get to muck about with the rules, which casts doubt on the single player and makes the multiplayer misleading, as that sounds more massively multiplayer than anything. And in teaming up with a notorious mobile publisher, never mind that they need a publisher at all, there's concerns of pay-to-win and microtransactions seeping into the PC version or loss of cross-platform with mobile, since otherwise the game will be unbalanced.

And so far, despite the announcement of the publisher being over a week old, this is the only response from 22 Cans on the issue. That pay-to-win isn't a contractual requirement but isn't entirely off the table either.

This is not the way to assuage people's fears.

"Molyneux wants to get input from the pledgers before making any decisions." He might want to look in his own backyard then: The backer update threads over on Kickstarter are awesome in that they've gone into complete trainwrecks. Ground zero for backer concerns and by and large they've been ignored and allowed to fester. I've seen some acrimony in these things before, but with the Godus threads it's like 90% acrimony and people requesting answers, 5% positive comments, and 5% developer replies to the positive comments, and has been since I started reading them, when the early previews had people concerned that it was going to be a non-automated cow-clicker. (A building generates faith, I gotta go click on the ball-o'-faith it spit out to get that added to my tally. 10 buildings generate faith, I gotta click on 10 things.)

Karloff:
Some of the experiments - not all, but some - have had to be sacrificed on the Godus altar.

So what you're saying is that they were sacrificed in the name of Godus? XD

The more I hear about Godus, the less I like. Originally it was going to be a spiritual successor to Populous, but it seems nothing like that now.

 

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