Is Peter Molyneux a Genius?
Peter Molyneux is a polarising figure. Some adore the ambition and creativity that imbues each of his releases, whereas others feel that he over-promises and under-delivers. No matter which side of the fence you lie on, it’s clear to see that Molyneux is an auteur and his contributions have shaped the industry.
A pioneer, Molyneux does something many developers refuse to do: take risks. Although not all of his ideas work, he should be applauded for his innovation rather than reprimanded for not sticking to the status quo. Like all incredible developers, failed attempts allow them to refine and perfect ideas. Metal Gear set the foundation for Kojima to alter the landscape of the industry 11 years later with Metal Gear Solid and without Karateka, there would be no Prince of Persia. So why does Molyneux get so much stick for simply being aspirational?
A divisive developer, the British icon has a tendency to oversell parts of his games. While this may be just his excitement about the possibilities getting the better of him, it can also mislead fans. Despite that, the ideas are still there, just not fully realised. For example, the final third of Fable 3 saw you take on the role of King and make decisions that would alter the face of Albion. Although unique and thrilling, choices didn’t include enough weight. Some did halt you in your tracks to consider the ramifications but most were just simple decisions. In addition to that, it jumped a ton of days which meant the segment was over far too quickly. Even though there are issues, it’s a memorable section which stands out due to its originality.
Sticking with the Fable series, the second iteration is my personal favorite. The world is packed with charm and character which makes exploration a joy. British culture seeps into every orifice to create hilarious interactions that stand out amongst its peers. While this is a wonderful adventure, it garners hate for undercooked aspects which you can easily overlook. When promoting the sequel, the dog was a clear focus. The companionship was supposed to be central to the game, with your pet’s appearance morphing depending on your actions. Although a great idea, its implementation was rudimentary.
Taking a Risk
Taking the bold move to leave Microsoft, Peter developed his most innovative title to date, Curiosity: What’s Inside the Cube. The mobile game was a huge cube with tiles on each side. You and millions of others would simply tap it to remove a tile, with the last person winning something ‘life-changing’. Okay, they fully dropped the ball with the prize as it felt like an advert for his next game. The winner didn’t seem to get everything he was promised, never mind something ‘life changing’. Regardless, the social experiment is a groundbreaking idea and led into his return to the God game genre.
Godus looked to take inspiration from his previous titles, Populous, Black & White and Theme Park to create a new take on the genre. Plenty of creators have gone to Kickstarter to help fund their projects. Heck, we wouldn’t have got Shenmue 3 or the Castlevania spiritual successor, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night without the platform. However, Molyneux was panned for his method of funding which ultimately led to bad press for the release of his mobile venture.
Admittedly, his career has gone downhill since 22cans but surely it’s time for a comeback? For the first time in years, Peter is back coding for a new game that is due to release on consoles and PC. The decision to leave mobile is sure to help the success of this upcoming project and comments made about the similarities with his Fable games will pique the interest of gamers from that era.
It is clear that Molyneux creates games to push the envelope and that’s what excites me about his upcoming project. He is an innovator. He wants to try things that will inspire others. I can’t even imagine what interesting quirks he’ll embed in his new game, but I’m positive it’ll be like nothing else currently available. Due to this, I think as a community, we should encourage Molyneux to proceed with his vision and receive his next project with open arms. Yes, not all his ideas work but whatever he’s working on could include that special something that inspires a generation.
What are your thoughts on his upcoming game? Are you excited to see what he comes up with? Will it reach the heights of his earlier work? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter, and don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more great video game content.
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