We have a tag for 22 Cans here at Destructoid, and it’s technically the first one from an alphanumeric standpoint. It’s hardly ever used, but every time it pops up I think of Peter Molyneux. “What is he doing right now” I often ask, as I reflect on his storied career at Bullfrog and subsequent freefall from public grace. For a while there it was tough to figure out exactly what he was doing, as he “exiled” himself from the press. As we all know, things Molyneux says don’t tend to stick. Because this time it’s okay since he’s promoting his new game.
Speaking to Eurogamer in a piece that reads like the polar opposite of the infamous RPS interview (for both good and bad reasons), Molyneux noted that it was “tempting” to retire — it’s something he thought about a while ago, but it’s also clearly a reflection of the recent “hack,” in which someone gained access to his Twitter account to erroneously announce his retirement from gaming. He muses a bit on what’s going on at 22 Cans, noting, “Last year the studio endured an exile of sorts as staff grew bored of working on Godus, a game everyone, it seemed, hated.”
Looking to the future, Molyneux is still working on his other project (rather than solely fixing the one he started, hyped, and is still broken), Godus Wars, which will be released next week. He states, “I had the chance to stand back and I tried to get to the core of what that journalist [John Walker of RPS] was saying, which was, you’re over promising and under delivering. What’s the solution? Here, a year later, is the solution.” It’s a companion to Godus in essence, free for original owners.
Molyneux continues, saying, “After a couple of days I came up with this simple strategy: I would just be a coder and a designer, and I would talk to the press perhaps about something I had done and had released, but not talk to the press about what I am doing, because that is clearly not working, and redefine my relationship with those people,” as he talks to a member of the press about what he’s doing. Sadly, it was also revealed that Bryan Henderson, winner of Curiosity, has still yet to receive any money from 22 Cans. Even for the most ardent Molyneux defenders, this is a sore spot.
I’ve always had a complicated relationship with Molyneux myself. I still remember reading about the promises of Project Ego in a gaming magazine over a decade ago, and feeling crestfallen when basically none of it happened. “Is this the same guy that helped create some of my favorite games like Dungeon Keeper, and Populous?” I couldn’t believe it. While he was once a passionate visionary, his perpetual hype and mediocre projects started to rightfully wear on people. But to me, he’ll always have his legacy.
In a way I feel bad for him. He deserves the scrutiny, but the dude clearly loves video games, and just like Hideo Kojima and Miyamoto, he wants to create them until the day he dies. He’s just…not as good at it anymore. Not speaking to the press and doing what makes him happy was probably the best — though it’s a trend I don’t think is likely to continue, as he seems to require a general sense of approval, which is something he hasn’t really had in a long while.
“It was tempting to retire…” [Eurogamer]