Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
HomeNews Peter Molyneux On Why He Quit Lionhead Studios
Peter Molyneux On Why He Quit Lionhead Studios
Posted on Wednesday, April 11 @ 04:32:11 Eastern by Nicholas Tan
Peter Molyneux had much to say, though much more freely this time, to Eurogamer about his departure from Lionhead Studios and Microsoft to create his own independent studio 22Cans. He already feels unshackled just by the Skype interview itself, instead of the tightly controlled 10-minute spiels he makes at regular events (just as he did for Fable: Journey at the Microsoft Spring Conference before this year's GDC):
You've got to compress all of your passion, explaining the game, demoing the game and fielding questions into 10 minutes. Plus, they always in these events serve alcohol, which is the worst possible thing, because either you get a journalist who's hungover from the previous day without any sleep, or you get a journalist who's drunk and would much rather talk about how Chelsea aren't the football club they used to be.
His shock departure, however, from the studio he founded 15 years ago needed an explanation:
Here I was at Microsoft and Lionhead, and it was very secure and comfortable... Then, about 18 months ago, this sequence of strange things started happening. I started getting all these lifetime achievement awards and BAFTA fellowships, and gosh, who knows what else? I almost lined them up on the shelf, looked at them, and thought to myself, well, are these awards really for things I've done in the past?
...I just couldn't accept the best I am ever going to do in my life has already been done... [T]he best a creative person can ever do is when there is a lot of risk and when there is a lot at stake. That's hard to do within a big corporation like Microsoft... I didn't want to constrain any creative endeavours this new company would do with setting an early deal. That's what I did at Lionhead, and it really did end up constraining what you ended up doing.
...The indie community I found incredibly enticing. I remember going on to the GDC Awards last year and the year before. They always start off with this video that says, f**k you triple-A developer. In a way, although that's obviously a bit of satire and comedy, they're right.
He goes on to describe Milo & Kate for Kinect as a "creative disappointment" and that he wasn't bored with the Fable franchise, as he's still actively contributing to Fable: The Journey. Meanwhile, he's looking forward to his new studio 22Cans:
Well, we are funded at the moment - not funded through a publisher. The thing is we're not going to make an app for iOS and want it to be in the top 1000 apps. That's not what we're doing here. What we're trying to do is make something that's truly a moment, truly a step change. That's our obsession.
...My plan is to find a fantastic team, work on something that is more than just a few pieces of paper or what the triple-A industry calls pillars, which I think are ridiculous, so when I say, look, this is going to change the world and I say this is why, I can point to something and you can see it tangibly there. That's my idea.
Molyneux hints at "cloud computing" and "connection to friends" as influences to his design philosophy, which will likely find their way into his next creation. He hopes that it's something he can "talk about to the world in a few months".