Molyneux: Oblivion is like a 20,000 page book, you’ll never finish it

Tuesday, 21st October 2008 11:47 GMT By Mike


In an interview with T3, Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux said that playing a game like Oblivion that last for 60-70 hours is the equivalent of giving him “a book that is twenty thousand pages long,” which is something most people will never finish.

“Well, Oblivion was a fantastic achievement,” he when asked about game length.

“Now for me, as a designer, if I hear ‘sixty or seventy hours’, then in my mind that is the equivalent of giving me a book that is twenty thousand pages long.

“And if I said to you, here’s a fantastic book, go and read that… Are you likely to finish a twenty thousand page book? No.

“So in Fable 2, the story lasts thirteen to fourteen hours and by the end of that story what you are like, what you look like and how the world treats you is completely up to you,” he went on.

“If you want to be evil or good or kind or cruel, then that’s totally up to you. With Oblivion it was basically all about me killing things.”

Full interview through the link.

By Mike Bowden



  1. Syrok

    Well, the story in Oblivion is 20 hours long, but the fun starts after that. :)

    #1 6 years ago
  2. Psychotext

    There’s fun in Oblivion? Why wasn’t I told?!?

    #2 6 years ago
  3. Smartypants

    I want to know more about this ‘fun’ that you can apparently find in Oblivion. Where is it? Can you link to a map that clearly shows where ‘fun’ is located in Oblivion? Ta.

    #3 6 years ago
  4. Syrok

    Well, fun is a bit of an overstatement, but there are more interstinge quests outside the storyline. :)

    #4 6 years ago
  5. absolutezero

    I found the fun :

    #5 6 years ago
  6. Psychotext

    Looks like a web page to me.

    /tries to have fun

    #6 6 years ago
  7. JPickford

    I loved Oblivion (to my surprise) but I didn’t do the main story at all. Those Oblivion Gates were no fun.

    #7 6 years ago

    I’ve spent around 400 hours playing COD4 since it got released.

    How many pages is that??

    #8 6 years ago
  9. Esha

    “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

    That’s all I can think of when I try and visualise Oblivion as a 20,000 page book. A book rather implies new content for each page, but almost all of Oblivion was pretty much a static repeat of the last thing one did. The really original quests were few and far between, and a few quests beyond that were made to seem interesting by clever dialog that tricked the player into thinking so, but actually weren’t. This became fairly obvious on closer examination of the content at hand.

    If Fable II’s “book” is less interesting than that, then I’ve suddenly lost interest in it. And to think, I was actually tempted to pick up a 360 just to snag this game. You’re a total buzz-kill, Moly.

    #9 6 years ago
  10. Psychotext

    G1GAHURTZ: It’s about 200 pages, with the last 19,800 pages just filled with obscenities spouted by online gamers. :D

    Esha: Where on earth did you get the “less interesting” book thing from. He’s just describing it as a shorter, tighter experience.

    #10 6 years ago
  11. Smartypants

    @absolutezero: I know plenty of rpgs that are fun without mods, I shouldn’t be forced to download and install mods to find the fun!

    /hopes Fallout 3 is fun

    #11 6 years ago
  12. Newbie101

    I sense the ground work for ‘Thats why Fable is 5 hours long’ acoming….

    #12 6 years ago
  13. Psychotext

    5 hours long Newbie? Reeeaaaaaalllly?

    Reminds me of Gears actually. Reviews stated it was about 10 or so hours long, and then on every retelling it got shorter until people were talking about its 3 hour campaign. :D

    #13 6 years ago
  14. Smartypants

    I’ve read somewhere that the story lasts thirteen to fourteen hours, not five. Can’t remember where I read it though, maybe you should google it.

    #14 6 years ago
  15. Newbie101

    Sorry, that wasn’t based on any facts, just guessing.

    Besides, your defend Fable without playing it till the cows come home and slam any other RPG.

    To be honest, I think Fable will be a great game but it really isnt an RPG. You can’t compare it to Oblivion. Fable is more like Ominisha but with extra customization.

    #15 6 years ago
  16. Smartypants

    @Psychotext: you’re right, GoW was ridiculously short but apparently hype affects journos even more than it does us discerning gamers*. I hope that GoW2 is a bit longer than 4.5 levels.

    */remembers GTA4

    #16 6 years ago
  17. Psychotext

    Defending it Newbie? No, simply calling you out on a stupid statement. You could at least read the reviews before commenting on length.

    #17 6 years ago
  18. Blerk

    Game length is a very difficult thing to point out anyway, because everyone progresses at different speeds. If you leg it through an RPG at full pelt and complete it just by finishing the story missions then you’re pretty much missing the point anyway.

    #18 6 years ago
  19. Psychotext

    My faves are the people that point to speed runs as an example of how short a game is. :)

    My god, Fallout 1 can be completed in 9 minutes!

    #19 6 years ago
  20. Newbie101

    Calm down, it was a semi joke. I know that Peter has already said its seven hours long.

    It just reminded me of Fable 1, when he came out and apologised I was only jokingly saying he was laying out the ground work for another apology ;).

    You’ve been constantly defending the game both on here and on EG and whenever someone has disagreed with the art style or gameplay change you’ve said ‘No’, ‘Its just you’, ‘Your wrong’ etc…

    #20 6 years ago
  21. Psychotext

    You know what you should do now don’t you Newbie? Go and dig up my posts to try and prove your point… go, fetch!

    #21 6 years ago

    RE: Gears

    It depends how you play it.

    I played Gears on hard first, and got through it pretty quickly.

    Completing it on hard unlocks the ‘insane’ difficulty, which I then played it on and it took me much longer.

    I’m more interested in an intense challenge that could be quite short than a slow paced story that takes ages.

    Wind Waker, for example added what seemed like about 4-5 hours to its length simply through making you sail everywhere looking for little bits and bobs.

    That was one of the main things that pretty much killed the whole game for me.

    #22 6 years ago
  23. Newbie101

    We’ll didn’t really need to search;
    defending the game based on some peoples opions of the fight system.

    There’s one other one in-which someone says ‘Is it only me who doesn’t like the art style?’ and you replied ‘Its just you.’ But I CBA to drag that one up too!

    Theres nothing wrong with it, its gonna be a great game, I was just saying that some peoples comments on games have a touch of bias ;).

    #23 6 years ago
  24. Prox

    Moly overload, please relent.

    #24 6 years ago
  25. Psychotext

    lol… well done Newbie. You have proven beyond all doubt that you’re a loser of the highest order. :)

    Wouldn’t be so funny, but what you linked to is actually a fairly good discussion on the spell system rather than anything defensive. Come on, I’m sure you must be able to get some better stuff than that! From past experience with you, you seem like the obsessive type… I’m surprised you don’t keep a text file with my quotes in it.

    #25 6 years ago
  26. Blerk

    I wish I had a stalker.

    #26 6 years ago
  27. Retroid

    I loved Oblivion, so I smite all ye with my +5 glass sword of twatting.

    #27 6 years ago
  28. No_PUDding

    Who cares abotu fighting systems. You can’t have an RPG with an acceptable fighting system.

    It never happens.

    But Oblivion was a mess. I would defintely take Fable 2 MILES over and above Fallout 3 and Oblivion. But not Morrowind.

    Bethesda are worse than Peter Molyneux when it comes to PR bullshit, atleast you know Peter is exaggerating.

    #28 6 years ago
  29. Blerk

    I’ve played plenty of RPGs with great fighting systems. You’re obviously playing the wrong ones.

    #29 6 years ago
  30. Newbie101

    Yeah, I know it was a good discussion, I was just saying thats all. I’ll find the ‘No its just you’ reply to someones comments on the art style.

    All I was trying to say mate is everyone’s entitled to an opinion, be it if you think its right or wrong, thats all I was starting to get at. Thats what makes discussions like this interesting as everyone has different views!

    #30 6 years ago
  31. No_PUDding

    Blerk share…

    If Morrownd could ahve had Dark Messiah style sword play, I’d have shit my undies with glee.

    #31 6 years ago
  32. MesserWolf

    The good part of Oblivion was the assassins guild. Those were the only good quests of the game ….
    # hours != quality

    #32 6 years ago
  33. Tonka

    Are there 20 000 page books?
    If not then his simile is invalid.

    #33 6 years ago
  34. Tonka

    Oh, and Blerk.

    Nice sweater…
    /snaps picture for scrap book

    #34 6 years ago
  35. mightyhokie

    I never really go into RPG’s until Oblivion. When I got my 360 it was really one of the only games out there. I read it was cool so I gave it a try. I have one character that has a little over 200 hours on him, and several more with 10+ hours on them. I loved Oblivion. I did my first portal, got my ass handed to me, then decided to get into some of the side quests. The main story was the last thing I did. I loved that game and I certainly thought it was fun.

    Still, he is Peter the Great. He has a point. I guess if you like something then it is worth the time. I certainly wish Harry Potter was 20000 pages!

    #35 6 years ago
  36. Smartypants

    If Oblivion was the first rpg you really played then you are the perfect example of Bethesda’s target audience for that game. I can understand you had a great time, Oblivion is only disappointing for those of us that have played and enjoyed earlier Elder Scrolls games.

    #36 6 years ago
  37. Vincent

    I don’t feel that way. I’ve played the Elder Scrolls since Daggerfall (not hardcore enough for Arena) and I’ve enjoyed each as much as the other, different as they are. Each game in the series is a product of its time, for better or worse (usually both).

    As far Molyneux’s argument, I can see what he’s saying and Oblivion’s main plot is probably longer and more padded out than it needs to be. But I do like the idea behind the Elder Scrolls philosophy where you can basically determine for yourself when the game ends. You don’t need to read all 20000 pages, seeing 100% of all the content is not the point. You choose which “chapters” match your character.

    #37 6 years ago
  38. elbarno

    I’ve also played the elder scrolls series from daggerfall forward (didn’t really play redguard or battlespire though), and I think they’ve outdone themselves with each game, including Oblivion.

    Ok, so the game’s leveling issues were a problem, Radiant AI wasn’t anything special, and the game was just as “static” as its predecessors. But when you think of an elder scrolls game, the open-ended do anything you want gameplay comes to mind. I don’t think it would be the “elder scrolls” without it (unless they tried some zany side story game with completely different game mechanics in the same universe).

    Oblivion is incredibly long, and does get repetitive after a while. The static characters leave much to be desired as far as dialogue and emotion, and after a while its the same explore-slash level up. I added all the mods to bring the gameplay up to snuff, and it did improve the experience a lot, but eventually I lost interest and haven’t looked back at Tamriel.

    I think Bethesda should bring the next elder scrolls game online. I mean, most MMOs are pretty much just as static. If they could come up with a really innovative live combat/magic system and provide the seemingly endless possibilities as say Ulitma Online, I think you’d have a pretty kick-ass game. Or perhaps you’d have Darkfall. We’ll see. =)

    #38 6 years ago

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