Skip to main content

Peter Molyneux says he regrets over-promising his games

"What I should have said in every interview is 'everything I say, take with a pinch of salt'."

The prominent (and at times controversial) developer Peter Molyneux has shed more light on his past interview appearances, saying he regrets the way he spoke back then.

Molyneux has become known for describing his games in interviews only for the end product to not live up to those words, something which he has repeatedly apologised for in the past, describing his behaviour as over-excitement and lies to stop bored journalists falling asleep.

In the latest episode of the podcast My Perfect Console with Simon Parkin, Molyenux said the games he described in interviews were the product of a "half-insane, creative mind" designing games on the fly whilst trying to show passion for his work.

Newscast: The hidden gems of Gamescom 2023Watch on YouTube

"I used to specialise, if that's the right word, in talking about the games that I made before they were finished," Molyneux said, "and you know, as any unfinished project goes, quite often things change and that development process I think, people mistook that as being promises of features in the game." He continued further, stating when sat in interviews, he would be inspired by the questions being asked to him. "I'd say yes, yes we're going to have flying pigs, because I was designing the game as I was talking to the press."

Molyneux later called this conduct "atrocious" in the podcast. "I have an enormous amount of regret for it," he stated, "I feel remorse for what I did." But he also defended his behaviour as part of his job in the 90s and 2000s in showing "how amazing the design process was making these games which never existed [previously]". "We were creating genres almost every year," he said, "and when you created something it was an act of true invention, and it's easy to get yourself lost in the passion."

"For me doing press interviews back then was all about showing the passion that you had for a game, the passion for the thing that you were creating. What I should have said in every interview is 'everything I say, take with a pinch of salt'. I may not even tell the rest of the team about it. And when I used to go back after interviews, a lot of the team members would say Peter, we didn't know that we're going to have this feature in the game until they read it in the press."

One of the games Molyneux chose to put on his perfect console was Minecraft, which was released whilst he was an exec at Microsoft and he said internal reactions to the game were poor initially. "I remember being at Microsoft and people laughing that Minecraft doesn't have a tutorial, it doesn't have any adversaries, it doesn't have any story, it's rubbish graphics," he said.

Molyneux was tight-lipped about his next project, which he has previously teased as something that's "never been seen in a game before", though he revealed its codename is an acronym pronounced like 'moat'. He didn't specify the spelling of the acronym, and Parkin said he was "definitely not going to push" Molyneux for more details as the wisest course of action. MOAT, or however it's spelt, is going through early prototypes according to Molyneux, and he said there are 25 people working on it currently.

Curiosity, the 2012 mobile game developed by Molyneux's company 22Cans, promised a "life-changing" prize to its winner, which was revealed to be a one percent share of revenue from the studio's next game Godus, which never manifested. His most recent game, Legacy, is described as a blockchain business sim in which players buy non-existent plots of land with cryptocurrency. Who knows what MOAT/MOTE/MOWT will turn out to be? Perhaps not even Peter Molyneux himself.

Read this next