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GS: Is being so honest about the good things and the difficult things that happened at Lionhead in some way redemptive for you?
PM: You learn by your mistakes, obviously – and you can look back in hindsight and say ‘What the hell was I doing?’ But really, this whole journey has led me to realize that the design and the passion and the enjoyment is in making a visionary game.
GS: You’re definitely one of the most quoted people in the industry – and perhaps sometimes you’re one of the most misquoted people in the industry. How do you react to that?
PM: I’ve come to realize that the way I speak, the things I talk about are going to be interpreted. And that sometimes leads to misquotes, and that sometimes that can be frustrating, but for example – the talk I’ve given today, there’s nothing for me to point to onscreen – I’m just giving you a braindump of my ideas.
And half of that – half of the interest of that is the interpretation you put on it in your own mind… I’ll be absolutely honest with you, sometimes in the past I’ve actually changed little bits of the game to match the misquote, however insane that sounds.
GS: It’s about what the public expects?
PM: It goes out there, and you can’t withdraw the magazine and take down the websites… I always think misquotes are partly my fault as well for not being clear about things.
GS: It seems like a lot of the other British ‘bedroom programmer’ pioneers who came up in the ‘80s either aren’t around anymore, or have a significantly lower profile. Why do you think you’ve continued to be so known and produce such high profile games?
PM: The place I came from was when I was always a failure. When I was at school, I was just an idiot. And everyone thought I was an idiot, and everyone would always say that I would never do anything or get anywhere. And because of that, I feel I’ve yet to do that game which really makes a difference – that really is the landmark game.
That means that I do push myself – I can look you in the eye and truly say that I’m trying to make Fable 2 the greatest game I will ever build. If you write that, it will get me in an enormous amount of trouble, but that is what I truly believe.