Peter Molyneux: Everything's Changing
September 28, 2012 Page 4 of 4
I wanted to talk to you, also, about how you arrived at the idea of focus, and focusing on simple concepts.
PM: Just through the atrocious mistakes I've made in the past. Being at Microsoft, I was helping to design Fable: The Journey, and I was also going around all the different studios in Europe, and I was also the studio head of Lionhead, and I was also doing all the PR, and I was also an exec at Microsoft, and I was also looking at the new hardware stuff.
And I just personally can't do a good job on more than one thing. If you believe that you've got an idea, you believe that that idea is worth throwing all your chips back on the table and betting them all over again, then that should be your single obsessive focus, I think.
While you're talking, I was wondering if maybe these massive productions -- Fable-like games that cost tens of millions of dollars -- have maybe pushed things too far in certain directions and become unsustainable?
PM: I'd hate to think they're not sustainable. A lot of the brilliance of how Unity is developing is because Unity aspires to be the tool that will eventually create those sort of games. And I think it's incredibly good for triple-A games to push the quality envelope of where we are.
I just think that triple-A games need to adapt, just like any other genre. They need to adapt, and they need to embrace this new tidal wave of multi-device, analytical, persistent, cloud computing universes that we've put forward.
And at the moment they don't feel like they're being adapted, partly because they're squashed by the hardware evolution. I mean, Apple comes along and iterates on its hardware every six months. It takes us, in the console manufacturers, six years. By the time another console generation comes out, God knows, it'll probably be in your brain or something. That's part of the problem. But it'd be great.
I'm absolutely sure one day, development on a title on this is going to go up in the tens of millions. You can already see development like Infinity Blade. And there's going to be more of those -- and all those texture maps and animations and all that stuff, it costs money.
I've got a two-sided question. Now that you're outside of the Microsoft console world, what is holding that back? You did allude to the hardware, but what is holding that back from jumping feet first into these sorts of things you're talking about?
PM: For development?
PM: Well, there's two big problems. One is, making an existing triple-A game is incredibly hard to do. Insanely hard to do. Whether it be Call of Duty or whether it be a new franchise. It's insanely hard to do. To do all that stuff and to totally embrace this new, disruptive world is, it's doubling our efforts.
Quite often a publisher or whatever will turn around and say, "Oh God, I wish you supported achievements better," or, "Could you support Live more?" But it's not something that you want to have ordered on. You want to get those teams to get obsessive about it. And doing those two things together is very, very, very, very difficult. It's very difficult.
And the other side of the coin is, now that you're in the startup world, small team, you talked a little bit ago about that there isn't a game that pushes this device in the way you see its potential. What's holding that back?
PM: Well again, it's the same problem. There's just a hell of a lot of stuff to get used to. For us existing, very unfit developers, who have been in the safety of the triple-A universe for a long time, we need to get fit again. And for anybody coming new, there's so many different things going on so quickly it's hard to focus on what one.
Now it's all settling down a little bit, and we totally realize that cloud is here to stay, and cloud computing is here to stay, and analytics is here to stay, and multi-device is here to stay, we can start settling down on that. I hope. But you're starting to see some real enhancements in things like free-to-play already. It doesn't feel so greedy anymore.
We've been through a lot of evolution over the last few years in the industry, in general, and we've seen a lot of things change. Well, there's no end state, but you don't know where we're going. Or do you think you have an idea?
PM: No, I don't know where we're going. I just know we're going somewhere new. This is the best analogy I've got. What we do is like exploring a new country. It's like going after the source of the Nile.
We have no idea what's around the next bend. It could be a cliff, it could be a pit of crocodiles, it could be a path with a big arrow on it. But it does feel like, sometimes, you've got your machete out and you're beating through the unexplored country. But we know we're going somewhere. We definitely know we're going somewhere. We aren't quite sure the route we're going to take there.
And where we're going, I think, is that we're going to fulfill our potential. And our potential is a true, true, proper entertainment medium, a true entertainment medium. The first ever entertainment medium that engages people, that doesn't demand that a person sits there and sucks up information like a sponge without any form of feedback, and engages people. That's the real invention that we're going to, and that's an amazing invention. That's true democratization of entertainment, not just of development.
That's way too passionate, isn't it?
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