We told you back in late July all about our recent pow-wow with game development legend Peter Molyneux. Or, as we now like to refer to him in the SPOnG office, ‘our new favourite millionaire developer friend, Peter Molyneux’.
Peter dropped some strong hints in the interview about Lionhead’s next major project
informing us that he, “...got the idea for the game… last year - I think it was September 23. If you look in the news, there was an event that went on in the world that gave me the idea for the game."
This of course set off rampant Internet speculation as to the nature of Molyneux’s next game. Was it something to do with the fallout of Hurricane Katrina perhaps? Or the FBI killing of Filiberto Ojeda in Puerto Rico? Or maybe the fact that on September 23, 2005, scientists finally managed to implant human DNA into mice. Or was it all of the above and more? Time will tell. And as soon as SPOnG has any more concrete information, you'll be the first to hear it.
Peter also told us of his admiration for Nintendo ("...the genius of what they did was realise that consumers don't give an arse about how many bits and bobs and flips and flops and that malarkey consoles have”); Sony’s bandwagon jumping (“quite blatantly…and not coming up with such a sexy message, is poor"); and mused on the contemporary trend for daft product naming (“I'm waiting for the Nintendo Poo and then they'd have the set").
Exclusively telling us more about Fable 2, Peter enlightened us about new content in the game and some quirky ideas for merchandising: “… the things we promised, which people thought they were going to see in Fable… There is, for example, the classic acorn growing into an oak tree, that I mentioned in an interview some time and everyone latched onto. As merchandising, I’d love to give away grow-your-own Fable oak trees… So there is going to be a very tongue-in-cheek moment about acorns growing into trees. But there was a list of those things, some of which are things that maybe you wouldn’t initially think of. For instance, I didn’t really feel it was possible to, for example, play the whole game without using any magic, or to play a game as a swordsman, so you’d feel like a real swordsman. And obviously, there’s a new story.
"Those things are normally what goes into a sequel, and then, there are the big surprises. And there’s a very, very, very big surprise in what Fable 2 has got, which I hope will be very unexpected. This is me in my PR mode, I must admit, but I haven’t seen this particular thing – and it is one of the really big pillars of Fable 2 – done well in any game. In fact, it was done very well in one game, and that game is now almost 30 years old. That’s a clue…”
Aha! Another sneaky clue. Peter likes to drop these in just to keep us all on our toes!
Talking more about the whole aesthetic of Fable 2, Molyneux was clear in his vision: “I want Fable 2 to look absolutely, jaw-droppingly beautiful. That’s why I came away from E3 thinking that there are lots of very dark, shiny, metallic games, but there aren’t very many beautiful games. We’ve been thinking about how to make the Fable 2 world beautiful. Sometimes, it is what I would describe as darkly beautiful – there are sinister and dark elements to it, but it’s still beautiful.”
Speaking more about Sony, whom he had earlier dismissed as ‘bandwagon jumpers’, Peter told us: “Sony have taken the Live stuff from Microsoft and the controller stuff from Nintendo, and they’ve got this Blu-Ray stuff which offers much more capacity, but it’s a lot more hassle. So there’s everything to prove for Sony, but then 70% market penetration is pretty good…”
We cheekily asked him if he had made more money flogging Bullfrog to EA or Lionhead to Microsoft, to which he replied: “That’s a very loaded question. Obviously, money wasn’t the issue in either of those transactions. I don’t know, really. I haven’t done the math,”
SPOnG is sure that he doesn’t really need to ‘do the math’. The bottom line is that Peter, and his teams at Lionhead, are now in a much better financial position since the Microsoft buy-out. Which, whatever your thoughts on the matter, does mean that they can continue doing what they do well – making ground-breaking videogames – without having to worry about securing that all-important next round of funding.
Finally, Peter was upbeat and confident when telling us about the future of game development, telling us:
“There’s going to be more originality in the next ten years than there has been in the history of games so far, I think. Because we’re going to have to. We’ve got everybody who wants to play games; now, we’ve got to create the games for the people who don’t even think of games as entertainment.”
So there we go, some more nuggets of wisdom from our new favourite millionaire developer friend, Peter Molyneux.
Tune in tomorrow for the full, unexpurgated interview.