Game contests: The God Peter Molyneux Forgot

On the most recent episode it was lamented that there were no more Peter Molyneuxs. That primed my brain for when I happened to stumble across this hilarious article from 2015 that I‘d never seen before. There are so many choice quotes in this. It’s about the winner of the Curiosity tap cube app that was promised something life changing. But the winner is a very unimpressed 18 year old who'd never played a Peter Molyneux game.

https://www.eurogamer.net/amp/2015-02-11-the-god-who-peter-molyneux-forgot

It reminded me of this roller coaster of a piece I read a few months ago about someone trying to track down people who changed their names to Turok to win a contest for a "where are they now?". The answer WILL! surprise you (they were paid PR crisis actors).

https://www.vg247.com/2020/06/24/change-name-to-turok/

In the end you could say both contests were scams, but for very different reasons. I wonder how it all shook out for the winner of Peter Molyneux's contest, in the end. If he ever even got an apology or if they just ghosted him. Thankfully he doesnt seem too concerned about it.

Here's something I recently found out about a contest Irem held to promote Steambot Chronicles in Japan: they ran a giveaway for the to-scale replica Trotmobile they had at their TGS booth but they only got one applicant and, because Irem was insistent the winner pay the obscenely high freight cost (around ¥2m, so in the ballpark of $20k USD), the guy declined and Irem ended up just junking it.

There are probably better articles out there about the guy who changed his name to PlayStation 2, but I like the pictures in this one.

https://web.archive.org/web/20171128023726/https://www.rollingstone.com/glixel/interviews/peter-molyneux-talks-regrets-and-whats-next-w474369

Did some digging to find the last word on Brian circa 2017:

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Did Bryan Henderson, the player who was supposed to become the “god of gods” in Godus for finding the inside of the Curiosity cube, ever get his prize?

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“That was a real problem. The only thing to say is, Yes. You‘ll remember that Godus is a free-to-play game. And while 33,000 people are playing the game, 33,000 people aren’t spending money on the game. So in terms of pure profit, actually Godus has not quite even broken even. We got Kickstarter money of about $1 million. After you‘re done with the pledging and all that stuff, that works out to about $400,000. But Godus cost about five times that to make. We really struggled, at times, to finish Godus. I’d love to pay Bryan money. It would be insane to do it just for a publicity stunt, because that's what it would be.”

This guy is such a dick oh my god. You're a multimillionaire just throw the guy $50,000 (THE PRICE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE IAP IN HIS CURIOSITY GAME) and call it even. THE ENTIRE THING WAS A PUBLICITY STUNT TO BEGIN WITH.

He tries to claim that all his lies were actually just about building morale on the dev team. Sure, buddy.

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

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"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?

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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."

That interview led me to this remarkably combative interview (just weeks after the 2015 eurogamer story) where the very first question asked of Peter Molyneux is "Do you think you're a _pathological_ liar?"

https://web.archive.org/web/20171202005136/https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/02/13/peter-molyneux-interview-godus-reputation-kickstarter/

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RPS: Do you think that you’re a pathological liar?

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Peter Molyneux: That’s a very…

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RPS: I know it’s a harsh question, but it seems an important question to ask because there do seem to be lots and lots of lies piling up.

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Peter Molyneux: I’m not aware of a single lie, actually. I’m aware of me saying things and because of circumstances often outside of our control those things don’t come to pass, but I don’t think that’s called lying, is it? I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly lied, at all. And if you want to call me on one I’ll talk about it for sure.

Unreal.

The interview is super long and brutal (and worth reading!) but I'm going to excerpt the l(long) part about Brian. Basically it seems like he stopped talking to the press for two years (until the above 2017 story) because people were calling him out on his bullshit and he was not handling it well.

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RPS: No, but it’s frustrating. Let’s go back to Bryan Henderson. The Eurogamer story revealed that you ignored him for nearly two years – that’s awful. And you’ve apologised, but how can that even have ever been a thing that happened?

Peter Molyneux: You’re right, John. It’s wrong. It’s one of those things where I thought someone else was handling it and they were. It was someone – and these are excuses, it’s pointless me writing these excuses – and I thought they were handling it. They left and I assumed incorrectly that they had handed their handling of Bryan off to someone else and they hadn’t.

RPS: But it never crossed your mind to talk to him or anything like that? You were changing his life.

Peter Molyneux: It’s terrible, it’s wrong, it’s bad of me, I shouldn’t have, I should have checked on these things, but there is a million things to check on, John, and that one slipped through. There wasn’t any intention not to use him, or not to incorporate him, but we needed the technology before doing and I am truly sorry and we are writing a letter of apology to him today.

RPS: OK, but only because Eurogamer chased after you.

Peter Molyneux: They, they, they actually did make me realise that I hadn’t checked up on it, it’s true. I am a very flawed human being, as you are pointing out, and I totally accept that I’m a flawed human being.

RPS: Everyone’s a flawed human being, that’s not my point at all.

Peter Molyneux: And when there are thousands of things to check on, you try to rely on your team and this slipped through the net and, you’re right, it shouldn’t have done.

RPS: In 2012–

Peter Molyneux: Why would I have ignored him? I mean, why did I do that? It’s just incompetence.

RPS: OK. In Rezzed–

Peter Molyneux: I mean, I’m sure you are going to write, ‘Peter Molyneux’s incompetent’, and I am.

RPS: No, look, this is ridiculous. Everyone is a flawed human being. My purpose here is not to hang you out. My purpose is to get to the truth of what’s going on here. In Rezzed–

Peter Molyneux: Yeah. I’m giving you– I mean, I would say, if you really want to get to the truth, come down to the studio.

RPS: At Rezzed in 2012, you said that what’s in the middle of the cube is “so valuable, so life-changingly important, I don’t want to waste the value of what’s inside that cube.” Could you have done more to waste it?

Peter Molyneux: Again you’re going down a very emotional line. But it’s born out of– when I did Curiosity and I thought of putting into the center of the cube a royalty share of the revenue for Godus, as soon as his role of God of Gods started, I thought that was a pretty good thing. And as soon as that comes to pass and as soon as we’ve got the technology to do that, I think, he will be getting that money and his reign will last six months and I think it will be an amazing feature.

RPS: OK, so you said that Bryan will be God Of Gods for six months. Just to double-check on this. When we spoke to you on 2012 you told us that it would be a significant amount of time, you estimated five or ten years.

Peter Molyneux: We what?

RPS: You said five or ten years, is what you told us.

Peter Molyneux: For what?

RPS: For being God Of Gods.

Peter Molyneux: No, I’ve always said that his reign would only last a certain amount of time but the God of Gods role, if Godus continues to be as successful as it is on mobile, could last that long. I mean there are mobile games that are being played now – and there are webgames that are being played now – that are decades old.

RPS: Let me quote, you said: “By the way, there would need to be enough time to make it meaningful for him in every sense of the word, but we could make it five years, we could make it ten years. I think I wanted before–”

Peter Molyneux: And then later on I came out and said it would be six months. And I said that again and again. What are you trying to do? You’re trying to prove that I’m a pathological liar, I suppose, aren’t you.

RPS: I’m trying to establish that you don’t tell the truth.

Peter Molyneux: Let me just ask you one question. Do you think from the line of questioning you’re giving me, that this industry would be better without me?

RPS: I think the industry would be better without your lying a lot.

Peter Molyneux: I don’t think I lie.

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After reading that long interview, I got a sensible chuckle out of this fictional [satirical interview.](https://www.pcgamesn.com/godus/an-interview-with-peter-molyneux)

His left hand man, some Belgian dude who now owns a PR company in the US left him after more then a decade working together because he could no longer run damage control and take Molyneux´s lies.

Molyneux genuinely seems to have some sort of severe personality disorder.

I hadn't read that RPS article, wow!!!

A small Molyneuxness that I mentioned in the podcast is this article about the making of the racing game Hi-Octane: http://alextrowers.blogspot.com/2017/09/hi-octane.html

In which first, EA pulls a Molyneux by declaring that EA has the best PC lineup of that quarter - but they had no games planned. So somebody had to make a game for EA in 2 months, and they'd just gotten into this arrangement with Bullfrog, so Molyneux agreed it could be them.

So these folks make this racing game with a unique sliding/turning mechanic, and then Molyneux comes to play it and can't figure it out so they have to strip it all out. But the thing that's the most fun about is how they planned to give all the cars these different stats and stuff - and visually it says the stats are there, but under the hood they're all exactly the same because there was no time to do it! that rules

Molyneux really burnt all the goodwill he (pretty inexplicably) had left with that Godus and Curiosity stuff. Like prior to that I think he was attached to enough good games (or at least ambitious and weird enough games) that people let the broken promises slide, but there was really nothing to Godus.

I would totally buy a rerelease of Fable 2 on PC though, even though I'm sure it doesn't hold up.

@donrumata#5486 Nah he was full of it long before that and a few people( I think, I was not the only one was I?) called him out on it long before he left Microsoft.

Early 2K´s there was talk about his super secret project(I and tons of others had heard about it so there goes the super secret thing) called Vladimir.

He said it would be revolutionary, as big as life itself.

For a few years nothing was heard from it until Adam Doree and I happened to be on the same vip mini bus taking us from our hotel to the X06 venue in Barcelona.
We asked him about it and he said the project name had hanged and it was now called after his godson Demitri and would marry the artificial with the real until the lines of both became blurred and both became one.

When I replied that he was making a more advanced Tamagotchi(obviously he had these ideas since those days with a bit of Seaman thrown in) he replied that this was far more advanced and the creature would be alive. The PR rep on the bus could not stop him from talking altho she tried but insisted to us this was all of the record and we could not write about it.

Fast forward a few years and lo and behold, Demitri has become a FMV to promote kinnect and in over a decade of time the man has literally nothing real to show for everything he has been talking about.

It's kinda interesting because Demitri became two separate projects, Milo is the second (at the very least) iteration, the first one became Black & White. The whole creature thing came about because the initial setup of having a human child as a tamagotchi you could slap around to teach them stuff felt problematic pretty fast. They still had a human adult model in the first couple prototypes they showed, although the monkey was immediately the real star of the show.

I wonder how influential Demis Hassabis (of Theme Park fame back then, these days likely better known for Google's AlphaGo) was in those pursuits. He followed Molyneux to Lionhead and left them in 98, when Black & White was already underway.