For those of us who have been in and around the games industry for a few years, we've become used to the promises which fall from the lips of Peter Molyneux. Or more specifically, we've become used to simply not believing them.
The 55 year old developer made his name as the designer of games like Populous, Theme Park and Dungeon Keeper - titles which delivered on their great promise - until a shift happened around the time of a game called Black & White. Molyneux spent so much time talking up the ground-breaking features of this monster-god title that by the time it came out, there was no possible way it could live up to its potential.
This became the model for all of his interactions with the press - buzzwords and hyperbole which was all presented with enough passion that pretty much every time we hoped and prayed it would be true. But time and again, we were disappointed, especially with the lavish features expected to appear in 2001's Fable.
You see, Molyneux's games were never bad, often they were quite fun, but the expectation of what he was promising made the reality a bit of a disappointment. He just never seemed to be able to stop himself from saying that his next game was going to be the best game ever made, often suggesting features which the current technology couldn't possibly support.
And so to today, when Molyneux's company 22 Cans has a crisis on their hands - their new game Godus is nowhere near ready for release. That happens in game development, but its a little different when over 17,000 Kickstarter backers have given you over £500,000 quid of their hard-earned cash.
Molyneux is under fire and rightly so. The game was supposed to release in September 2013 but there's still nothing resembling a PC version, nor are there any of the proposed features, bar a slim mobile app. And it's just been announced that the team is shrinking, moving assets to development of a new game. Backers are outraged, and they're sending their ire in the direction of a very visible target - Molyneux himself.
In anemotional interview with The Guardian, Molyneux basically says he's had enough. But the tone of the piece is mostly apologetic, something we've heard before. The game maker has never been afraid to suggest he's wrong in the past but there's a real finality to this latest surge of sorries.
"I love working on games, it is my life. I am so honoured to be a part of the games industry, but I understand that people are sick of hearing my voice and hearing my promises. So I’m going to stop doing press and I’m going to stop talking about games completely. And actually I’m only giving you this interview now in answer to this terrible and awful, emotional time over the last three days. I think honestly the only answer to this is for me to completely stop talking to the press.”
He goes on to talk about the vitriolic response, and actual threats made to his family. It's becoming an increasingly large, and shameful, part of the gaming industry as a whole but when you're promising a product to people who have invested thousands in (the top tier was 5 grand) you put yourself in the firing line.
“They’ve been sick of hearing from me for so many years now. You know, we’re done.” It's true Molyneux has become noted for spinning his games with too much bs but when a figure with such a long relationship to the gaming world can behounded into silence by his supposed fans, it's time to admit there's something seriously wrong with the nature of communication in the gaming industry.
Read the full interview here.