Peter Molyneux, founder of two game studios, lead designer on more than a few AAA titles, a member of the OBE, and harbinger of disappointment for gamers everywhere. The man has accomplished quite a bit in his nearly 30 year career. From selling floppy disks in the early 80’s to promising phantom features in the 2000’s, he truly has done it all. Even to this day, he continues to be one of the industry’s most forward thinking and passionate designers.
However, Peter is a man who sometimes lets his imagination get larger than his hands. He is the best in the industry at selling people features that do not exist, he can be very persuasive. Being a visionary isn’t the easiest of tasks. He often gets very excited for feature ideas that will never see the light of day. Unfortunately for Peter, he feels the need to tell everyone about the ideas before they are locked in.
Why a 30 year veteran of the industry promises things he knows aren’t feature locked is beyond me. I would like to think it’s because he’s passionate about them and wants to share with everyone. If I dreamed up what I thought was the greatest feature ever to appear in a video game, I would probably want to share it as well. For all the love I have for Peter, he let me down. He let me down hard.
Given that, Molyneux is the best at taking what you love in the real world, and giving it to you in a videogame. When I was tasked with looking after my own dog, I was elated. I now had a companion to keep me company on long journeys. He reacted to commands, protected me as best he could, and found treasure. When I had no quests to finish or wood to chop, I was playing fetch.
In all honesty, I think he leads the industry in creating an emotional, immersive experience. The man gave you a family to look after. Having a child in a video game was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. It sounds cliché, but as soon as I saw that little kid standing in front of me I freaked. I started wondering how the kid would turn out; do I need to feed it? If I come back in six months will he have killed all the rest of the family?
For a man scorned by fans and the media for failed promises, Peter remains very passionate about videogames. When you listen to him discuss immersion and emotion in games, you can tell everything he says is honest and from the heart. Sometimes it seems as though he is holding back the most joyous of smiles when he says something. I like to think it’s the same feeling you get when something awe inspiring happens and you get that lump in your throat and your eyes well up. It’s a moment of pure joy.
All he really wants is for players to have the richest, most immersive and certainly the most emotional experience possible. As a gamer I have nothing but respect for the man. For all his faults (if they can be called that) he is constantly trying to push what is possible in video games forward. And for all the disappointment and failed promises, Peter has consistently provided me with some of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had in a videogame.