So, anyone who follows the video game industry even a little bit knows Peter Molyneux (of Populous, Black & White and Fable fame) has an issue with over-promising.
Take for instance his just-released project, Curiosity – What’s Inside The Cube? It’s smartphone game in which you and other people online chip to the center of a massive cube. It’s a neat concept, but also a fairly simple, low-key debut for Molyneux’s new studio 22 Cans — nevertheless Molyneux went and promised, “what is inside the cube is life-changingly amazing by any definition”.
Curiosity came out a couple weeks ago, and shockingly nobody is talking about how it’s changed their lives in amazing ways. Mostly they’ve been complaining about bugs and online connectivity issues.
So, Molyneux recently started a Kickstarter for a new mobile god game called GODUS, and in the middle of a classic hyperbole-filled Molyneux interview, he was asked about the problems with Curiosity and suddenly Peter’s over-promising circuit broke…
When the interviewer pushed the question of whether it’s reasonable to expect fans to support your next mobile game monetarily only days after the disastrous launch of another mobile game, Molyneux first tried to deflect…
“I’m proud of Curiosity. I’m amazed at what the world’s done with Curiosity. I tried not to over-promise. I only ever said it’s a big cube and you tap on it. I never said anything else about it…”
Then things started to get real…
“But you’re right. I can’t blame people for not believing. I am going to put everything, every ounce of energy, every piece of myself, every statement I made into this game, because this… Populous created me. I didn’t create Populous.”
Then, apparently, Molyneux started to cry.
“I know I’ve said things… I wish I could not say them, I guess. I just… I still believe so much. I swore that when we started 22 Cans that we wouldn’t over-promise, and I guess through stupid mistakes we have. I have to live by those. If it means that the project doesn’t get Kickstarted, if it means that people use the Kickstarter to vent their frustrations, then I guess I have to live by that.”
That’s the double-edged sword of going indie and funding through Kickstarter. Yes, you may be able to get some unique projects funded, but when you appeal directly to people, when you ask them to support you with their hard earned money, you have to deliver on what you promise. You can’t just shrug, say “hey, it didn’t work out” and spend some more of Microsoft’s money. Peter Molyneux seems like the kind of guy who loves a challenge — hopefully he’s up for this one.
Read the rest of Molyneux’s interview at Rock, Paper, Shotgun