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Interview: Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux

Thursday, 17 June 2010 23:05 GMT By Johnny Cullen

petermolyneux

Love him or hate him, Peter Molyneux is a major figure in global entertainment. His habit of “upselling” his projects has earned him the nickname Six Gun Pete, but we found the Lionhead boss in relaxed form in Los Angeles last night. We spoke with him after going hands-on with Fable III.

The Microsoft Games Studios Europe creative director talked about Fable, his relief at Kinect’s formal reveal, and why Milo isn’t on the showfloor at E3 this year – to most people, any way.

Warning: Mid-way through the interview, Molyneux dropped a big Fable II spoiler. You’ve been warned.

Hit the break for our full chat with him.

[Interview by Patrick Garratt]

VG247: I’m not going to talk about this game [Fable III] first. I want to talk about the other game. The one we didn’t see and the one I want to see: Milo. Where is Milo, Peter?

Peter Molyneux: So, it is in development, it still is in development. We’re continuing to develop it; it was decided not to show it here at E3. You know what I’m like, I would show it every day of the week. And actually, you when I look at it, I think there’s some smart reasons why we didn’t show it.

Now, it is pretty amazing, it is actually on show to celebrities. But it is amazing; it’s ten times more amazing then you think it is. You can see it in July if you go to Oxford. Because I’m doing a talk at TEDGlobal on Milo in July.

VG247: I’ll do that.

Peter Molyneux: It’s worth going to. And it’s an amazing honour to be able to do a TED talk. It’s a big thing.

VG247: How pleased are you that Kinect has finally been announced? Obviously, you are a huge ambassador for the system.

Peter Molyneux: You know, I’m going to say some really positive things here. The huge problems that Microsoft and their technical team solved is just an outstanding feat. And really, that technical team, who aren’t getting any press or any recognition, really deserve a medal, because they took one of the hardest problems to solve and they actually solved it. And it works. It works well.

And the experiences that you see at launch are good, they’re robust and they work. But I would encourage you and the whole world not to think of those experiences to define what Kinect is. It just gives you a glimpse of the future. I think that those launch titles are great, but the second wave of titles is where the real greatness comes.

VG247: You’re talking about next year?

Peter Molyneux: Here’s the thing. When you’ve got something as radical as what that is, when there is nothing in player’s hands, when you’re thinking about seeing their body and their face and hearing their voice, it’s going to take some time to bake.

And really, it’s only been around for a year. These are huge design problems to solve.

VG247: You’ve said that you built Kinect functionality back into Fable. You said that quite early on. That’s still the case, clearly?

Peter Molyneux: Yes, it is. It’s another thing that was chosen not to show at E3, or not to really comment about.

VG247: Well, I just played it. I want to kill Walter, and I wasn’t allowed. Why can’t I kill Walter, Peter?

Peter Molyneux: Well, you can kill him. We’ve just disabled that. That is part of the story which is being crafted for the game.

Now, it’s a problem when you’re at somewhere like E3, because the thing about Fable is I want you to actually love Walter. The character is voiced by the actor [Bernard Hill] who played King Theoden in The Lord of the Rings, and we built him up for about six hours for this point that you just played then, downstairs. When he goes blind… I don’t know if you saw that moment?

VG247: Yeah, I did.

Peter Molyneux: I want you to first of all feel angry that he’s gone blind. And it’s so much more interesting that he’s gone blind than died, because being blind is something we’re all scared of.

After that, you go into desert and you’re literally dragging him along. And as he gets weaker and weaker, he gets heavier and heavier and you get slower and slower. And I want that point to come where you just think “I’ve gotta leave him”.

VG247: I did leave him.

Peter Molyneux: I know, but it’s an A or B choice at the moment. I want that to be more emotional, and I want you to be walking away from him and him to be calling out and saying, “Please, please don’t leave me.” I want you to feel the emotion of that moment.

It’s very hard to capture that at E3. If you choose to kill him, then you should be able to kill him, for sure. Of course, when you’re king, you can do all sorts of things to him.

VG247: The lady that was showing me the game downstairs said there were children in the game, and that they were working. I asked if you make working conditions for the children better and she said yes immediately.

Peter Molyneux: And you can make them worse.

VG247: Right. It’d be fair to say you are obsessed with these sort of moral choices. It is a life-long obsession from what I can gather.

Peter Molyneux: It is, it really is. It started in Black & White and it went on. Half of these choices you make in Fable III are made while you’re becoming a revolutionary.

And they’re very easy to make, these promises to people. Take our politicians, for instance. And what we’ve done this time is that those promises become choices later on: do I keep my promise or do I break my promise?

There’s this character called Paige, and she says, “Look, when you’re king, I want you to turn all of these factories into schools.” And you have that choice. The consequences of taking that choice later on is really interesting, because that is what power is all about. It’s all about choices.

It’s all about you just saying, “I don’t care I promised that, you know, times have changed.” And there’s a really interesting saying which I wrote on the wall: “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I think that’s a really interesting thing for people to feel.

We allow you to be king, and we make it very hard for you to keep all of your promises.

VG247: I remember you saying – I think it was in the first Fable or Fable II – that very few people were actually evil.

Peter Molyneux: That’s very true. Especially Americans. Like, five percent of Americans were evil.

VG247: Do you expect to see a similar trait in this game, or are you going to force people to maybe be a little more evil?

Peter Molyneux: Well, I’ve got a really, really interesting stat to do with Milo that’s even more interesting on the good and evil side. But I think when you actually give a choice to be blatantly evil or good… I suppose some Americans really struggle with the evil side. Take the end of Fable II, for instance: will you save your dog and let all these people die?

People find it a little bit easier to make that decision because it’s less about what they’ve been taught as kids, that you must never be bad or never swear. And it’s more about, “Oh my God, what would I sacrifice to save my loved ones?”

There’s a lot more of those sort of choices in there. You’ve made these promises and you may want to be good to all of them, but you’ve got limited resources. That’s what our presidents and prime minister struggle with – I mean, in America, Obama promised faithfully that he would shut Guantanamo Bay, he would revolutionize the health service and neither have happened 18 months later. What happened?

He could have just picked up the phone and said, “Shut the damn place”. Why couldn’t he do that? And I think that’s a very interesting moral choice. People will struggle more with it because there’s no point in putting these moral choices if everyone chooses good all the time.

VG247: I had heard quite a lot of talk earlier this year that Fable III would be a pseudo MMO. There was a lot of rumour about that. I’m assuming that’s kind of correct, in that you still have some kind of multiplay?

Peter Molyneux: Yeah, we’ve still got the Albion orbs. Now you can invite any of those, or any of your friends at any point in the game. They come in as their own hero with their dog. They are free to do whatever they like in your world, so be careful.

VG247: Can they kill characters?

Peter Molyneux: They can kill characters in the game.

VG247: They can literally affect the story?

Peter Molyneux: They can affect the story. There are times we make sure that doesn’t happen. As the owner of the world, you’re the only one that can turn safety off.

Because we felt it was very frustrating and unfair if someone had come back to a town and someone’s slaughtered your entire family. But if you turn off safety, then it’s fair game. Also, you are free to marry your co-op player and you’re free to have children with your co-op player.

That means co-op players can have sex.

Or, if you don’t want to do that, you have your man and you’re playing with another man, you are free to go into business partnership, which is kind of almost the same as getting married; but with a man.

VG247: Can you be gay?

Peter Molyneux: Absolutely.

VG247: You can?

Peter Molyneux: Oh yeah.

VG247: Can you get married?

Peter Molyneux: Yeah, you can have same-sex marriage. And you can adopt as well. And there’s sexual diseases. Getting that through Microsoft geo-poli is tough, I can assure you.

VG247: How are you finding the 360 as a piece of hardware? Are you finding it limiting at the moment? Are you up against it?

Peter Molyneux: I’ll tell you what; it’s a brilliant thing that we’re releasing Fable III on PC. Because, I’ll let you know, I still love the PC. I think it’s a different machine nowadays; it’s got some weirdness about it.

I still like the 360, I just miss the, “Hey, what it’s going to turn into next year?” But you know, it’s definitely a nice bit of kit. I think things like Kinect really extends the life a bit, for sure.

Fable III release on October 26, 2010 for Xbox 360 and PC.

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9 Comments

  1. Anders

    Looking forward to it. Loved the predecessor.

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Erthazus

    It’s so casual. I don’t know. I’m not so looking forward in to it.

    But to have my own Casual kingdom… Is kind of interesting.

    “VG247: Can you be gay?
    Peter Molyneux: Oh absolutely.
    VG247: You can?
    Peter Molyneux: Oh yeah

    JESUS! LOL.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Psychotext

    I was very impressed by the trailer. Good stuff.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. Patrick Garratt

    My best interview of the entire show. I enjoyed it a lot.

    #4 5 years ago
  5. Von Dies

    “Also, you are free to marry your co-op player and you’re free to have children with your co-op player.

    That means co-op players can have sex.”

    Right there, I imagined him giving you the ol’ eyebrow wiggle. Made my day. Much lulz ensued.

    Oh Molyneux I do love you. (:

    Looking forward to FableIII!

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Blerk

    The trailer and the gameplay videos looked great, this’ll be on my Christmas list for sure.

    Do I detect just a little bit of damage-control for the hardcore regarding Kinect there?

    #6 5 years ago
  7. batcave

    Can’t wait for Fable 3!

    #7 5 years ago
  8. Gadzooks!

    The Fable games have a wonderful british charm that in my opinion is matched only by LBP.

    They are not the deepest of RPG’s but certainly one of the most enjoyable, and the series is not tainted by holywood blockbusteritis.

    The stories, characters and quests in Fable are down-to-earth considering the setting. Fable fills a niche. It’s relaxing, charming and there is always something fun to do in towns and plenty of side-quests and challenges.

    Peter Molyneuxs greatest strengh is that he knows how everyday human interactions work, and always manages to inject a very human feel into his games.

    Very much looking forward to Fable 3 as both Fable games so far have been highlights of console gaming for me.

    #8 5 years ago
  9. Callum

    You. Can. Get. STI’s.

    This guy is amazing. Actually amazing. Whats he like in person Pat? Shamanisitc? Godlike? Mistical? or plain wierd?

    #9 5 years ago

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    Destiny developer Bungie has said it will change the way Crucible rewards work. Destiny players are always complaining about the perfidy of RNGesus, but there’s one area where it particularly hurts: the Crucible. PvP players often receive nothing at all for excellent performances, and sometimes Guardians receive the best drops merely for logging in as […]

  • Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 in the works for 3DS

    Azure Striker Gunvolt is getting a sequel. Azure Striker Gunvolt developer Inti Creates has confirmed that the sidescroller has been popular enough to warrant a second instalment. The sequel will also be released on 3DS, the team said on Facebook. Very little information is available at present, unfortunately. “As time goes on we will have […]

  • Life is Strange Episode 2 not delayed, says developer

    Life is Strange developer Dontnod Entertainment has said the second episode is on track for release this month. I guess it would know. Life is Strange Episode 2 has been expected on March 13, but late last week Square Enix told Destructoid it had been delayed. Dontnod has since denied this report, describing it as […]

  • First SteamVR game reveal is Job Simulator

    Job Simulator is the first game to be announced specifically for SteamVR, Valve’s virtual reality tech. Shoot Many Robots and Aaaaa! For the Awesome! developer Owlchemy Labs is the first team to put its hand up and say it’s worked with SteamVR. In a blog post, the studio unveiled Job Simulator, which will be playable […]

  • HTC, Valve partner for Vive VR headset

    The first SteamVR announce is a headset a manufactured by HTC, the Taiwanese mobile company revealed over the weekend. Valve told us last week it planned to unveil virtual reality hardware at GDC, calling it “SteamVR” at the time. Now HTC has pre-empted Valve by revealing Vive, a headset developed thanks to a collaboration between […]

  • Watch the Evolve Chappie Challenge tomorrow on Twitch

    Sony Pictures Entertainment, 2K and Turtle Rock Studios have announced a tournament being hosted by ESL, which will see Evolve players take on newest movie robot, Chappie. The ESL has teamed up with Twitch for the live 4 on 1 competitive event, and you can watch as it all unfolds tomorrow, March 1 at 3pm […]

  • If you’re attending PAX East, stop and have a look at Necropolis

    We haven’t heard much on Harebrained Schemes’ latest since it was announced in November, but today, the team has seen fit to release some interesting gifs of its a new project, Necropolis. Necropolis is a third-person action rogue-like with procedurally generated which can be “re-rolled mid-playthrough” and is headed to Linux, Mac and PC sometime […]

  • Dragon’s Dogma Online really is lovely, as these screenshots prove

    More Dragon’s Dogma Online screenshots have been released, and this batch is just as lovely as the last gallery we posted. Since this game will likely never leave Japan, the images are a bit of a salt rub for fans of the IP, but hopefully another entry in the series will be released at some […]

  • Action-RPG Death’s Gambit has a classic-Castlevania feel to it

    How would you like to become an agent of Death and rid the world of immortals? Then Death’s Gambit may just be the game for you. Announced by LA-based studio White Rabbit, the action-RPG with platforming elements tasks players with fighting gigantic enemies on an alien, medieval planet. Players will also encounter formidable beasts, knights, […]

  • Modder adds offline co-op into Resident Evil: Revelations 2

    PC users lamenting the lack of local, offline co-op in Resident Evil: Revelations 2 will be pleased to know a modder has remedied the omission. The mod, created by FluffyQuack, adds offline co-op mode to Episode 1 but the only caveat is players will need to use gamepads instead of mouse and keyboard (via Gamespot). […]

  • Number of Steam accounts with Dota 2 installed hits over 42 million

    Dota 2 has seen its installation rate jump 85% year-over-year, resulting in the MOBA now having close to 43 million installations worldwide. The figures were published via a report from video game research and consulting firm EEDAR, which studied Steam accounts daily to better understand the service’s player behavior and title performance. According to statistics […]

  • Nintendo issuing Eon Ticket codes for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

    Nintendo is handing out an Eon Ticket to Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire owners which will allow them to visit the Southern Island. Once a player arrives, depending on which version of the game they own, Pokemon Latios and Latias are able to be caught. The Eon Ticket was originally issued via StreetPass, but […]

  • Here’s a couple The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt screenshots to brighten your day

    Two images for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have surfaced on the game’s Facebook page. Grabbed by Gamekyo, the images show Gerlat and Vesemir chatting with a fellow, and the other shows Geralt riding up to some ruins where some people have been hanged. CD Projekt Red will make an appearance at PAX East next […]

  • Hyrule Warriors Boss Pack DLC contains unlockable character – potential spoilers

    While you already know the next DLC for Hyrule Warriors will allow you to play as the gigantic beast Ganon, there’s a rather humorous unlockable character contained in it as well. Potential spoilers follow below. When the DLC arrived in Japan February 26, YouTuber moccos-tan IsedelicaAs posted a video of the unlockable character, which is […]

  • Star Trek Online players gather on Vulcan to pay respects to Leonard Nimoy

    Star Trek Online players paid tribute to Leonard Nimoy yesterday by gathering around a fountain on Vulcan, the home planet of Spock in the Star Trek series. According to a post by barnacle999 on reddit, when he logged into the MMO “there were around 20 full instances and several partial,” culminating in around 1000 players […]

  • Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin gameplay video shows invasion of The Forlorn

    A new Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin gameplay video has been released, and provides the viewer with a look at the NPC invader system. Watch below as The Forlorn hunts down the player through the game with “with deadly skill and tenacity.” He even teams up with other enemies, making your fight […]

  • Visual upgrade for Wasteland 2, improved modding tools in the works

    A visual upgrade and improved mod tools are in the works for Wasteland 2, according to a blog post from inXile Entertainment. The upgrades will come about as the game’s codebase is migrated from Unity 4.5 to Unity 5. “A major benefit of moving to Unity 5 is that 5 will include many of the […]

  • Battlefield Hardline brings “Hollywood crime drama” to single-player campaign

    In the fifth developer diary for Battlefield Hardline, the team discusses how it’s bringing “Hollywood crime drama” to the shooter’s single-player campaign. The video was released a couple of days ago, so apologies are in order if this has been posted already, but I promise I searched the site and never found it. Visceral Games […]

  • Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is a pause for tactics isometric RPG coming in 2016

    Masquerada: Songs and Shadows is a 2.5D isometric RPG, built in the vein of Baldur’s Gate and Dragon Age in the works at Withing Hour Studios. The game allows the player to pause combat to plan party tactics. “Set in the Venetian-inspired fantasy city of Ombre where rare masks are the key to casting magic, […]

  • Underworld Ascendant surpasses Kickstarter goal

    Underworld Ascendant which was launched on Kickstarter earlier this month, has met its  $600,000 funding goal. With six days left 10,786 backers pledged $610,541 In light of being funded, the team has also switched up the stretch goals as bit, as you can see in the image below. The studio, OtherSide Entertainment, is fronted by Paul Neurath, […]

  • Latest Evolve patch fixes progress and save game data loss on Xbox One

    A patch for Evolve has been released on Xbox One which fixes lost progress and save game data users had reported. The patch also fixes an issue with shadows and flashlight, makes incremental improvements to matchmaking, invites, and rejoining, and there were progressions balance changes. “The issue with lost progress and saved games was mostly […]

  • Online servers for Ridge Racer Unbounded shut down in Europe

    Online functionality for Ridge Racer Unbounded is no longer available, Namco Bandai Europe has announced. Solo mode and the track editor are still playable, minus the sharing options. Ridge Racer Unbounded was released on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in March 2013. Thanks, MCV.

  • OlliOlli will be a cross-buy title on 3DS and Wii U

    Curve Digital has announced OlliOlli will be a cross-buy title when it releases on 3DS and Wii U. The Roll7 title will be the first third-party title to offer the functionality on the systems. OllliOlli will be released on the eShop March 5 The game launches on Nintendo’s eShop on March 5th, followed by Xbox […]

  • Darkbeast electrifies latest Bloodborne video

    The latest Bloodborne video shows off another monster in the game. This one is Darkbeast and he’s full of electricity. The video is the last of IGN’s month-long coverage of the title.

  • Future Assassin’s Creed games will have greater focus on modern timeline

    Ubisoft plans to focus more on modern timelines in future Assassin’s Creed games, the company suggested during its latest community livestream. During the Twitch stream, one of the lead writers for the Assassin’s Creed series, Darby McDevitt, said the modern timeline for Brotherhood’s town of Monteriggioni could inspire future development. “That only came about because […]

  • Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 is coming to Xbox One next month

    Halfbrick has announced Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 for Xbox One will release next month. The mobile title made its way onto Xbox 360 garnering 1 million downloads as of March 2012. It has a new multiplayer mode for up to four players with Battle and Party modes along with a new progression system. An announcement […]

  • New GTA 5 PC screens – shit the bed!

    Rockstar has pumped out 15 new screens for the PC version of Grand Theft Auto 5. Don’t touch them, because they’re electric. And if you touch them, you’ll get shocked. The PC version of GTA 5 has been delayed until April 14, which both sucks and blows. BUT! There’s a new trailer coming between now […]

  • Sony Japan accidentally erases 20th Anniversary PS4 contest entries

    Sony Japan has accidentally erased all information obtained from PlayStation owners who entered to win a 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4. Those who purchased PlayStation 3, PS4, Vita or Vita TV between December 4 – January 15 were handed a calendar with a code which entered them into the contest. Somehow, all data collected from the […]

  • Hearthstone datamine suggests Blackrock Mountain expansion on the way

    Hearthstone’s next update may be based on World of Warcraft’s Molten Core raid, if datamined information posted on Hearthpwn is spot-on. According to files mined from the latest patch, three new cosmetic card backs are on the way, one of which is called Molten Core. The data suggests that pre-ordering the Blackrock Mountain expansion will […]

  • Using Battlefield Hardline single-player gadgets increases your metagame rewards

    Gadgets contained in Battlefield Hardline’s campaign mode have been detailed, and each provides the player with various ways in which to solve crimes. According to design director Scott Warner, one way to “diffuse” a conflict when confronted with criminal activity is to flash your badge and ordering the criminal to freeze. Putting your gun on […]

  • Mortal Kombat X video is all about story mode, new characters

    After promising a new Mortal Kombat X reveal “soon”, NetherRealm Studios has made good on said promise by releasing the story trailer. The video shows parts of the story mode featuring Mileena, which takes place 25 years after the events of 2011′s Mortal Kombat. Outworld has become a larger threat and new fighters joining the […]

  • Destiny’s shotgun and pulse rifle buffs mean it’s time to rethink your load-out

    Destiny’s most-ignored weapons got major boosts this week. It’s time to start thinking about how to work them into your set-up. Even if you’re used to using scout rifles and sniper rifles as a general loud-out (neither class was touched by 1.1.1), the buffs to pulse rifles and shotguns should make you rethink your contextual […]

  • Battlefield Bad Company 2: five years later, what did it do so right?

    It’s been five years since the release of Battlefield Bad Company 2. What did the much-loved entry in the franchise do for the Battlefield series? Westie’s played Battlefield Bad Company 2 for over 1,260 hours on PS3 and PC. That’s dedication. In his latest video he discusses the stand out moments from a FPS classic, […]

  • War is hell in this Zombie Army Trilogy gameplay trailer

    Here’s five minutes of headshots, shambling zombies and an undead Hitler from Rebellion’s upcoming Zombie Army Trilogy. The Sniper Elite spin-off arrives on PS4, PC and Xbox One March 6 and includes three games (obviously) and a new Horde mode.

  • Titan Souls releases on PS4, Vita, PC on April 14

    Ace indie giant-slayer Titan Souls will be released on PS4, Vita and PC on April 14. Publisher Devolver confirmed the date to Eurogamer. Those of us in Europe will have to wait until a day later for release. Titan Souls is a tough-as-nails indie game where you have one life to slay a giant enemy. […]

  • Destiny weekly update: lowdown on Inferno Crucible, Vault Transfer improvements

    Destiny’s weekly update has made some pretty significant changes – let Arekkz Gaming take you through them. Bungie has revealed the first release date for the new Inferno Crucible mode, and made it a lot easier to access your vault. You should subscribe to Arekkz Gaming. It will improve your life.

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory Feb 27, 28

    It’s Xursday again – what treats does he have for you this week? He’s in the North Tower, to the right of the Stranger’s room. Let’s take a look at the latest weapons and gear from your favourite Destiny trader. No Backup Plans [Titan Gauntlets] – 13SC ATS/8 Arachnid [Hunter Helmet] – 13SC Heart of […]

  • Battlefield Hardline will be stable on PC at launch, Visceral assures

    PC format is “by far the best gaming platform around,” says Hardline producer. “We’re doing what we can to take advantage of people’s different system with the graphics, framerate, controls, etc. We’re not just porting it over.” Battlefield Hardline developer Visceral is reassuring players that there will not be a repeat of the disastrous Battlefield […]

  • Win Pneuma: Breath of Life for Xbox One

    We have 10 download codes for new indie puzzler Pneuma: Breath of Life for Xbox One to give away. The be in with a chance of winning a code, just enter your details below and we’ll pull the winners from the hat on Monday March 2nd, after 2pm GMT. Pneuma: Breath of Life is a […]

  • Life is Strange Episode 2 delayed

    Life is Strange Episode 2 won’t make its expected release date. The first Life is Strange episode released on January 30, and we had expected the second to follow on March 13. Square Enix has since confirmed to Destructoid that the next chapter won’t make its release date. There’s been no word of the new […]