Peter Molyneux Interview

In an interview with Glixel, Peter Molyneux opened up about his newfound approach to publicity and talked about mobile games, his compassion for No Man's Sky creator, Sean Murray, his canned Kinect project, Milo, and the way people misunderstood the things he's said over the years. Here's an excerpt:

I suspect if you asked the average journalist, "Has Peter Molyneux been as successful on mobile as he was on PC and console," they would say no.

I'm sure. And in one sense, they would be absolutely right. A third of the entirety of EA's revenue came from Populous for almost two years. It was unbelievably successful. Powermonger was number one in America and number one in Europe. Syndicate was number one in America and number one in Europe. Magic Carpet was number one. Theme Park was the most successful title I've ever done, actually. It sold 50 million copies. It was huge in Japan, massive in Europe. Black & White was number one. Fable was the most successful role-playing game on the Xbox. Fable 2 was number one. Fable 3 was number one. So that's a pretty fucking awesome record. But you go to mobile, and you're not number one.

The last game I did, The Trail, within seven weeks of it being launched, more people played The Trail than all the people that played Fable 1, 2 and 3 on all the formats, PC and console, put together. Within seven weeks.

When you look back on your career, is there anything you would have done differently?

Oh God, if anyone says no, they're a sociopath. There are many, many things I would do differently. Should I have left Microsoft? I'm not sure I should have. Should I have sold Lionhead to Microsoft? I'm not sure I should have. Should I have sold Bullfrog Productions to Electronic Arts? I'm not sure I should have. There are so many mistakes to be made. But really it's how you deal with those mistakes.

If you face a mistake, you have to think about reinventing yourself. And the older you get, the lazier you get, and the harder it is to pull yourself out of the mire. To get the best out of yourself, you have to be at risk. You have to be on the cliff edge. If you're in a place that's too comfortable, then you can stagnate.

What don't people understand about Peter Molyneux? What do we get wrong about you?

I think the whole press, me talking to the press, hyping a game up, I think people misunderstood what I was doing. I was doing what I did every day in the studio. In Fable, I said we were going to make the best role-playing game of all time. Why would you bother making a role-playing game if you weren't going to try to make the best one?

I think people, completely understandably, thought that that was hype. And it was, in a way. But it's no more or less hype than you have to use on a team. If you've got a team, in Fable's case, of 50 people, which grew to 150 people for Fable 2 and Fable 3, you've got to motivate them to make something great. I think people misunderstood that. I should have been a lot more sensible about it, a lot more logical about my press approach.