Peter Molyneux has one last chance to make something great

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MolyneuxMilo

If there’s one thing Peter Molyneux is known for, other than being enigmatic and charismatic of course – is broken promises and unfulfilled hype. We’ve seen it with Fable (I’m still waiting for my acorn to become an oak tree, Peter!), I’ve not really felt like a god playing Black & White – and what in the hell happened to Milo?

When Molyneux speaks, he promises a world of magic where everything is possible – but when you play any of his games they’re decidedly average. Molyneux realises this – and wants it to change. In a frank, candid and emotional interview with develop, the Fabled developer says he has just once chance left to create something truly magical – and it’s one of the reason’s he’s left the comfort of Microsoft.

“I took a long hard look at all these awards lined up on the mantelpiece and asked myself, do I really deserve these? Are these a representation of everything I’ve done before? I couldn’t believe it. Is this it? People were saying “you’ve done it all, Peter”. Have I?” questioned Molyneux in the interview, when asked about the day he decided to leave Microsoft.

“All those awards, they should have gone to the people I worked with at Lionhead too. I don’t think I deserved them. I couldn’t accept that I’ve already done my best work. I’ve waved my arms around on stage and talked to the press for years and got people excited about games, but my passion is making games and I think I’ve still got something to offer.

“I don’t think I’ve made my best game. And I haven’t made one of the greatest games ever, have I? To achieve that is my absolute, absolute passion.”

It’s something he realised he was unable to do under Microsoft’s thumb – and made the choice to get out so that he’d have the chance to really make games again.

“I had this unbelievable desire to make something special. Of course I didn’t have the idea for the game itself, partly because when you’re at Microsoft any idea you have is property of Microsoft. But then, this terrible thing happened to me,” he told develop. One day I was at the studio sitting on my chair, in the zone, my eyes closed, my headphones on, blaring music in, trying to think of ideas for Fable The Journey. Suddenly I felt my chair move. I looked around. Standing there was the Microsoft chair adjustment personnel, this nice woman who comes over once a month, fiddling with my seat settings to make sure it was posturepedically correct.

I thought; this is insane. I was in a creative padded cell. Microsoft was so safe. Microsoft was so nice. You’re so supported. Everything I did couldn’t hurt me, both creatively and physically. The danger was long gone. I had this huge desire to make something truly special, and I felt like I was being suffocated creatively a little bit.

That was the moment I realised I had to go.”

His games of late may not be masterpieces – but he is responsible for real gems like Populous, Dungeon Keeper and Theme Park – and also produced the original Syndicate. He’s certainly a man with grand ideas – and maybe now he’ll be able to execute them. Preferably without Kinect.

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Last Updated: April 11, 2012

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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