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Molyneux: industry wasn’t ready for Milo’s “concept”

Wednesday, 14th March 2012 14:48 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Speaking in one of his last interviews as creative director of Microsoft’s European studios, Peter Molyneux’s has told VG247 that technological ambition had nothing to do with Milo’s demise: it was all about the concept.

“The real problem with Milo, and this is a problem we had lots of meetings over, was where it would be on the shelves next to all the computer games.”

Peter Molyneux has confirmed that Milo was canned not because it wasn’t technically possible, but because the games industry wasn’t ready for a “this delightful celebration of youth”.

Project Milo – or Milo and Kate, as it was also known – was shown at Kinect’s unveiling during E3 2009 as a demo of what could be possible using camera recognition. The game featured the player relating to a young boy named Milo, talking to him about homework, playing with fish in ponds and more.

But despite the apparently huge ambition of the title, Microsoft eventually canned it not because it was high-tech, but because of it’s concept.

“The problem with Milo wasn’t the ambition,” said Molyneux, speaking earlier this month in San Francisco. “It wasn’t the ambition or the technology; it was none of that. I just don’t think that this industry is ready for something as emotionally connecting as something like Milo.

“The real problem with Milo, and this is a problem we had lots of meetings over, was where it would be on the shelves next to all the computer games. It was just the wrong thing. It was the wrong concept for what this industry currently is. Maybe this industry one day won’t be like that, but at this particular time, having a game that celebrates the joy of inspiring something and you feel this connection, this bond; it was the wrong time for that.

Milo and Kate. The games industry wasn’t
ready for it, according to Peter Molyneux.

“Maybe we’ll revisit that later on.”

Following reports the project had been canned, Microsoft backed away from Milo in late 2010, saying it was “never announced as a game” and it “was never really a product.” Molyneux and Lionhead salvaged much of the tech for Fable: The Journey, however.

“There was a lot of technology that was in Milo that’s now in The Journey, but it’s just not this delightful celebration of youth,” Molyneux added.

“What we were trying to achieve with Milo was this key thing: the most powerful story I could possibly tell is a story that reminds you of your own childhood. We’ve all had times in our childhood, common experiences when we felt down, and we felt up, or we celebrated doing something for the first time, and I loved that thought.”

Peter Molyneux was confirmed as having left Microsoft last week to found start-up 22 Cans. His final Microsoft game, Fable: The Journey, will release for Kinect this year.

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16 Comments

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  1. ManuOtaku

    Lets see how fable the journey turns out, if it turns like the gunstringer, well i will get it in a heartbeat.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Patrick Garratt

    The Journey looks really good, to be honest. Proper game.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. DSB

    If he’s right, then the industry is in a sorry state.

    Once the coporate aspect becomes so menacing that people aren’t allowed to explore the sense of wonder that probably got most of us playing games in the first place, something is very very wrong.

    I’m not the fiercest optimist or anything, but I still believe in the medium. Ken Levine is building a city in the sky and filling it full of dead robotic presidents with miniguns.

    There’s hope!

    #3 2 years ago
  4. unacomn

    And the Lamest Excuse Ever Award goes to…

    #4 2 years ago
  5. KAP

    wait wait wait a min… first he over promises on his games THEN he says well actually you guys simply dont get it.

    Peter mate, get lost… your games a pants. LEts leave it as that yeah?

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Ben

    @5 He’s not saying ‘you guys don’t get it’, he’s just saying that Microsoft couldn’t see a place for it in the industry, as it stands today. Which, in economic terms, means that they couldn’t see it selling.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. ManuOtaku

    #3 “If he’s right, then the industry is in a sorry state”.

    Saddly i think this holds some true, if we look at this gen and the previous one, we can argue that were many cases and situations that demostrates and or validate this idea, albeit iam optimistic regarding this matter, like you stated theres still some hope with a few games, that are more the exception than the rule,though, at least they keep the little flame alive.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Ben

    I think it’s telling that in response to the first showing of the Milo demo, the sexual innuendo jokes were in full force in the media. I think he’s totally right that, on the whole, the industry is not mature enough for such a game. Yes, we have fantastic games like e.g. Journey (and Flower etc.) – titles which are built upon an original, meaningful core concept – but sadly these are few and far between. Games are yet to be perceived (by people outside of the industry) as anything other than entertainment incapable of having anything meaningful to say about human nature.

    That’s not to say that it won’t mature into such a medium, but at the moment (and for the forseeable future) it just isn’t there…

    …which is sad, because the medium has so much potential for such things.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. OrbitMonkey

    I think it would have sold… I think it would have sold lots. Theirs a lot of gamers, even 360 gamers who can still get emotionally involved in a game. Just listen to the gale force whining over the ending of Mass Effect 3

    ;-)

    #9 2 years ago
  10. polygem

    the game couldn´t work because of potential abuse. in the demo they showed the women writing something on a sheet of paper, then kinect scanned it in and milo did read what she had written (as far as i remember)….what do you think the average gaming douchebag would write on these and then post a video of milo reading it on youtube…right it has to do with sex or racism or both. this is a problem for the reputation of a company – so they wont risk it.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. JimFear-666

    lie lie lie … Milo nevers existed. It was only a video made to hype the kinect like most of the video we saw with the “natal-e3″ presentation.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. manamana

    “If he’s right, then the industry is in a sorry state.” well said.

    Everything often seems so streamlined and the industrie is wondering where to go next, whats the next big thing or on which bandwaggon to jump on next. Developers should provide more irrational crazyness – I believe that its essential for a certain amount of evolution in games.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. fearmonkey

    I was looking forward to this, really sorry it was canned.
    I understand canning it with the child idea, but why can’t they do something like a talking pet with the viva pinata/kinectimals. I’d love to see a game like that. The only thing like that was the creepy fish game “Seaman”.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. manamana

    @Jimfear … Demo gameplay

    How much troll do you see when you look in the mirror?

    #14 2 years ago
  15. sg1974

    @14 Big problem here. The 2010 demo is nothing like and nothing near as impressive as the 2009 demo. He says people didn’t believe it was real in 2009, and then to prove them wrong he has to wait a year before he has something “real” to prove them wrong. So, er, the doubters were right in 2009.

    Molyneux over-promising and under-delivering yet again. Shame, because he is a visionary – albeit an unreliable one.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. yacaman

    No Molyneux, you werent ready.
    The World would have embrassed something this new and exciting, Your project was
    the reason anyone gave a #%$^ about NAtal or Kinect.

    I would have bought an XBOX………

    #16 2 years ago