Yes, he's back once again, with the ill behaviour, power to the Peter. When it comes to revealing secrets, dropping hints and giving opinions about proprietary technology, the Lionhead Studios boss is a renegade master. Seems like you just can't keep a good Molyneux down.
But you can try, which is why there were at least two PR executives on constant guard during our recent chat with him. (We're pretty sure there was a sniper hiding in a cupboard.) And why they gave us strict instructions, before we even entered the room, not to ask Molyneux about Milo and Kate. Read on to discover what we found to talk about instead.
Eurogamer: I've been told I'm not allowed to ask you about Milo and Kate.
Peter Molyneux: You can ask me anything you like about Milo and Kate. But I can only answer in a very limited way.
Eurogamer: Is it a game? Is it coming to market?
Peter Molyneux: So here's the thing. Let's be completely honest about this. You know me, I would talk about it before I had the idea. If I had an idea for a game, I'd talk to you about it down the bar before I'd even talked to a member of the team.
But that's the wrong thing to do. The trouble is that Milo is so... It's an interactive story, it's redefining what you think of as interactive story-telling, and it's so new and different than anything else we've ever done before.
Actually putting a release date on it, or saying whether it's a product, reduces our freedom to develop it. Because if I started giving you a date... You know, you can't put a date on something like that.
Eurogamer: Date, SCHMATE.
Peter Molyneux: Yeah.
Eurogamer: OK. But let me just ask you this: will I be able to buy it in the shops at some point in the future?
Peter Molyneux: Of course! I wouldn't be working on it if I didn't hope that to be true, yes.
Eurogamer: Fair enough. See, that's all we want to know!
Peter Molyneux: But, you know, these things... When you're working on an adventure... Like, say I said to you, 'I'm working on a time machine.' You'd ask me the same question - will I be able to buy it down Radio Shack in two years time?
Eurogamer: Actually I'd say, 'Can I have a go?'
Peter Molyneux: Of course you would. And I would be happy, completely happy for you to come down and have a go. If it was off the record.
Eurogamer: That's no good, is it? What about Milo? So that's my headline: '"I would let you have a go of my time machine," says Molyneux.'
Peter Molyneux: Exactly. And you'd say to me, 'Is it going to be a product'? And I'd say, 'Yeah, of course. I wouldn't be working on it if I didn't believe in it.'
But, you know, there are many things which can go wrong between coming up with an idea and it being finished.
Eurogamer: So what you're basically saying is, you believe time travel to be a very real possibility.
Peter Molyneux: Time travel is absolutely possible. It can be mathematically proven.
Eurogamer: Where would you go if you had a time machine? Would you go back and look at dogs through the ages?
Peter Molyneux: I would just go back about a hundred years and become one of the most awesomely rich and powerful people in the world. I would use that power and wealth in many spectacular ways.
Eurogamer: So you'd be like yourself, but in olden days?
Peter Molyneux: Yeah. Enormously wealthy, hugely influentially powerful, and I would probably destroy humankind.
Eurogamer: On that note, shall we talk about your new videogame, Fable III?
Peter Molyneux: Yes.
Eurogamer: I asked the readers, via Twitter, if they had any questions they'd like me to ask you. In fact, I asked you if you had any questions you'd like me to ask you. You ignored me.
Peter Molyneux: Did you? Oh, well I don't look at Twitter now. Because I'm not really allowed to Twitter, unless it's been approved.
Eurogamer: You've been disconnected from the social network!
Peter Molyneux: If I were you, I would ask, 'Are there any features you haven't talked about?'
Eurogamer: Are there any features you haven't talked about?
Peter Molyneux: Funny you should ask that question, because there are.
Eurogamer: Can you talk about them now?
Peter Molyneux: Yes.
Doing press just before the preview copies go out, and before the review copies, is difficult, because you can't build things up any more. You've got to talk about how things work.
So the thing I haven't really talked about is levelling up. I've talked about GUIs and story and all that, I haven't talked about levelling up. So we might as well just load the game and have a look.
[Fable III appears on the TV screen]
Eurogamer: Look, there's a dog! How surprising and unusual.
Peter Molyneux: Note that I haven't talked about the dog at all.
Eurogamer: And you have yet to officially unveil the parrot we talked about previously. Is that still on the cards?
Peter Molyneux: Ah yes, we spoke about doing a parrot, a cat... I don't like cats. We did speak about a parrot because it would be enormously funny to have a parrot on your shoulder. But we haven't done one.
But it would be the best parrot in the world ever, and there would be a huge emotional link to the parrot.
Eurogamer: Would you make the player fall in love with the parrot?
Peter Molyneux: I'd make you cry when the parrot fell off his perch. Wait... We should have had a parrot! Because of John Cleese! We could have done the parrot sketch in the game! SH** [bangs fist on table].
Eurogamer: But anyway, back to the levelling up...
Peter Molyneux: Part of the problem is we're definitely a role-playing game but we're still an action adventure game. We have this one thought in mind; we never want to take you out of the Fable world.
I love levelling up. I used to be one of those kids at school you would never talk to because I used to be writing down Dungeons and Dragons on bits of paper. I was a dungeon master.
Eurogamer: Going round saying, 'This is going to be the best game of Dungeons & Dragons ever...'
Peter Molyneux: Oh absolutely. In fact mine was. No one understood it, but there you go.
Eurogamer: Inventing your own version, Dungeons & Doggies...
Peter Molyneux: Yes. And back then I loved the concept of levelling up and feeling more powerful. But the problem with levelling up, in all games, Fables or whatever, is - what do you actually level up?
You go from level 1 to 2 to 3 to 4. You get more powerful, but so do the enemies. So actually you're staying the same level the whole time. We wondered about that, so we invented this thing.
[On-screen we see the protagonist of Fable III, and his dog, standing on a path in front of several sets of gates.]
See, the thing I hate about levelling up is it doesn't take account of the story and what's happened. At the very start of Fable III [gestures at screen], this is rolled out to you.
This path is like your levels. Each one of these gates is a level. You need these things called followers to get through these levels. These followers are what you need to take on the king.
Eurogamer: So how do you choose which gate to enter?
Peter Molyneux: Here's the thing: what is Fable to you? Is it a combat game? Is it a simulation? Is it about getting married?
In each of these gates are these chests where you can create your own Fable experience. In each of these chests is a gameplay feature. If you want to use friends to get followers rather than fight, open that chest. If you wan t to make it into a combat game, open the other chests.
So this allows you to make your own Fable experience, by levelling up through those gates.
Eurogamer: Righto. Let's throw one of those reader questions in here: what's the deal with Kinect and Fable III?
Peter Molyneux: OK. Another slightly diplomatic line here...
Eurogamer: Line or lie?
Peter Molyneux: Line. Oh look, Ryan [the PR man] behind you is quite wisely shaking is head...
Eurogamer: Ryan, did you just make a face when I said that?
Ryan: I wouldn't do that.
Peter Molyneux: So. Erm. We were thinking about doing Kinect stuff in Fable, for the launch of Fable. But here's the problem - and this is not me being in any way a good corporate citizen - I really love Kinect.
Eurogamer: [Rolls eyes]
Peter Molyneux: I absolutely adore it. It's a treasure trove of new interactivity. You can see glimpses of that with the Milo experience. And I absolutely adore Fable. While we could do some gimmicky stuff for launch, it would just be gimmicky stuff.
I think there's a real, true pot of gold here. But it takes us two-plus years just to do Fable on a controller we completely understand and know every twitch of. Can you imagine if you wanted to create a real experience, weaving Kinect with Fable? It's going to take a bit longer.
Eurogamer: I noticed you're inserting the words "for launch" quite carefully there.
Peter Molyneux: Mm. Clever. Yeah.
Eurogamer: That would suggest you're considering introducing Kinect features post-launch - perhaps as downloadable content?
PR Lady: At this point we don't really have anything to announce about that.
Eurogamer: I see. So I might say that, but you couldn't possibly comment?
Peter Molyneux: You might say anything you want. And I rely upon you doing that.
More on Fable III
Eurogamer: You were quoted recently as saying that we shouldn't judge Kinect on the first raft of titles that are released...
Peter Molyneux: No. I don't think you should define Kinect by the first wave of titles because it is a very deep and rich minefield of gameplay. It just takes a long time.
It's like when these things [picks up 360 controller] were invented - it takes a lot of iterations in gameplay to really get the best out of these. And I think that's true with Kinect.
Eurogamer: We were talking about you on our AWARD-NOMINATED Eurogamer.net podcast the other week, and saying, well, Peter Molyneux may say that, but look at the first raft of Wii titles. Wii Sports and Wii Play are still the best-selling, most-played Wii titles today. Shouldn't Kinect be held to the same standard?
Peter Molyneux: Yes. But I don't know whether I would say that because... For me, the Wii motion controller, yeah, it's good and it is quite revolutionary. But it is still a controller you hold. There's still this reliance on using the thumbstick and buttons, so it wasn't as big a step forward as something like Kinect.
With Kinect, there really is nothing in your hand. Think about that. There is no button.
The first time I saw Kinect, way back when, intuitively I went back and said, 'Look, just give me something. Give me a little puck in my hand I can use.' That was completely the wrong thing.
I think it's a much bigger leap forward. It's much more like when the mouse was first invented. The first time I used a mouse was on a Mac - up till that point I was just using a keyboard - and I absolutely thought I would never use a mouse. It was slow, it was clunky, the pointer dragged all over the place...
It was only after software engineers got used to it that we had the glory of what the PC is now. So I think it's much more that kind of big step forward.
PR Lady: We're out of time.
Eurogamer: OK, quickly then: in less than five words, what is the future of games?
Peter Molyneux: The future... Is great.
Umm... How about... Games are everywhere? Games are everywhere.
Eurogamer: You've been working for Microsoft for too long.
Peter Molyneux: No. I think that's true.
Peter Molyneux is creative director of Microsoft Game Studios Europe and boss of Lionhead Studios. He will be delivering the keynote speech at the Eurogamer.net Expo on Friday 1st October. Tickets are going fast, with Saturday's show already sold out, but there's still time to pick a ticket for Friday via the Expo website.