A (fake) tweet based insight into the mind of a BAFTA Fellowship-winning industry great.
Twitter accounts based on celebrities is nothing new, but one more than any other has grabbed my attention, an account based on a certain Mr. Peter Molyneux.
Reading up on these bewildering ideas he has, there would be no shame in thinking that it was the man himself, with the wonderful ideas he comes up with. With that in mind, I’ve written this article as if it genuinely is the legendary game designer coming up with these games. What if they could be real? This is what I’m here to figure out. Enjoy.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out Peter Molyneux has a mind unlike any other. The founder of a certain Bullfrog Productions – the team behind legendary games such as ‘Populous’, ‘Theme Park’ and ‘Syndicate’ – has found a new home, a new place to vent his anger towards modern gaming and it’s ‘lack of original ideas’. If you follow him on Twitter you will know that pretty much every tweet he comes up with is a brainscrambling new idea for gaming, even though most he probably has next to no intentions of actually going through with them.
I must admit, I love the guy. After he was publicly dismissed due to his overhyping of the original ‘Fable’ – a series that, for all intents and purposes, is nowhere near as original and unique as Molyneux would like to claim it is – he never backed down. With his visions of bringing the world of gaming into our emotional consciousness more important to him than an idea that might actually work, his dismissal of sequels (the kettle isn’t even black on this one – the next Fable is the FOURTH) and the general ‘laziness’ of developers keeps him at the forefront of being a true personality in the world of gaming, a pedestal he’s more or less sharing now with Cliffy B and Phil Spector.
In this article I’m going to attempt to break down a selection of his many gaming tweets, to see if any of his ideas could actually work. I’m not holding my breath, but they certainly are fascinating:
May as well start as we mean to go on, eh? If you try to comprehend, just for a minute how this could possibly work, or infact, if it genuinely could be any fun, you’re a smarter man than I. So, in a multiplayer game of 206 people, we each control a bone. To what purpose? For who? Whose body are we in? Do we get to choose which bone we control? I like the idea of 206 people working together to reach the same goal, that’s unique and brilliant. Is this the way to go with that idea? Probably not, but it’s certainly novel. Sign me up for the index finger. I want to lead this troop of merry bones to our goal, following me as Top Finger.
In One Word: Weird.
It’s not unusual for a game to get slightly easier once it’s finished right? With certain cheats and whatnot we’re used to being able to play through games again with little advantageous aspects. Which is nice. Still, here we are with Peter Molyneux with an idea of TELLING YOU HOW TO PLAY THE GAME ONCE YOU’VE FINISHED THE GAME. Think about going through a game without a single moment of help. You have your controller, you press start – and that’s it. You’re left to your own devices exploring your world, you have no idea what your controller buttons do, no clue where to go or who to speak too. Imagine, if you will, ‘Grand Theft Auto IV’ with absolutely no idea where to go. You have no map and absolutely no sense of direction. You don’t know how to shoot, get into cars or run. What the hell would you do? One of the best parts of ‘GTA’ is the exploration, essentially being able to take any road and find something new. But would you want to do that with the games’ main missions? If you’re on a timed mission and no map telling you your destination, could you really persevere long enough to want to complete the game? This – in a slightly big nutshell – is what Peter Molyneux wants to do to you.
In One Word: Cruel
Right. I’m not gonna stretch this one out. I WANT this game. It’s so Peter Molyneux he may as well buy the game for you and play it himself while you watch. Being a bear is already brilliant, but with the added emotional factor of having to kill human beings to do so. Although, let’s think about this:
Humans constantly get health and other items in games from killing animals/plants (‘Red Dead Redemption’, ‘Every RPG Ever’), so why can’t it be the other way round if you’re an animal? I’d like to think that this is the fairest way around it. If you need your health/oxygen from a source that you’re upset about killing, perhaps you should watch The Lion King and learn about the Circle of Life.
Again though, if we’re gonna go all Molyneux on this, what if you knew the humans? Perhaps it’s not too much to say that with the use of Kinect, if you like, you could scan in the faces of people you knew and have them presented upon the humans within the game? Would that make a difference? Would you kill your friends and family to survive as a bear?
Kill or be killed, I think this one could work.
In One Word: Emotional
Doesn’t this just sound brilliant? I’m not sure if this is an actual gaming idea, or a rather masochistic idea toward everyday life but for the sake of this being a gaming site I’ll focus on the former.
Imagine a ‘Max Payne’ like game perhaps set in the future. Everyone has their phone implanted in their body, and your character is a rogue cop. Meant as a quick way of killing those who dabble in criminal activity, it’s up to you to stay within the law in order to survive. What if it’s a dystopian world? What if it’s up to you to take down the industry that implanted the phones into the world’s population? How could you survive undetected, knowing they have the number of everyone on the planet and could kill you instantly? It’s up to you to find their numbers first, and be sure they never find out it’s you.
From that perspective it sounds amazing. Maybe it should be a movie instead of a game? Nolan, the call is out.
In One Word: Unique
WHAT?! HOW? Peter Molyneux’s mind works in mysterious ways, we know this. If anybody could make this work, it probably is Molyneux but I’m not sure about this. How could a sofa be used as a ‘key part’ in a video game? What would you do? Hide behind it and use it as cover?! There’s no denying that when Kinect was first announced we were all so very excited about playing ‘Halo’ and ‘COD’ from behind our sofas, throwing grenades and shouting ‘GRENADE OUT’ at the top of our lungs while in cover. Of course, this didn’t happen. Our imagination got a bit over excited and we now know Kinect would cry and shout at you stamping its feet if you even consider the blasphemous idea of placing something in front of you while throwing balls for a teeny tiny happy tiger that oddly has absolutely no interest in ripping your frickin’ face off. Kinect, while it can be outstanding, has yet to reach our imagination of what it could have been. The whole idea of using a sofa as a true game mechanic is an interesting one, but surely the technology just isn’t ready for it yet. It only seems to like human beings, when I showed Skittles on ‘Kinectimals’ one of my kittens, it just spent the whole time looking for me and wanting a frisbee. I’m not washing a tiger on a sofa, Pete. Sorry.
In One Word: Unlikely
It’s a similar idea to the explosive telephone game above looking at the God-like idea of being able to control the entire worlds eventual fate. If you look at games like ‘Black and White’ and ‘The Sims’, it’s an idea that Molyneux is absolutely not afraid to shy away from, and this idea of being able to control the time somebody dies is quite fascinating and completely daring.
My vision of this game would be a top down 3D world, perhaps similar to ‘Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars’ on the handhelds. You share the world with them but you’re the only person who can see their bodyclocks. You’re the person with the power and the knowledge, so you do your best to spread the word to ensure people can escape their fate…could you even do that? When it’s their time, it’s their time right? What would happen if you’ve saved the life of someone whose clock is nearing it’s end? Would it reset itself? It’s an interesting idea, with plenty of room for exploration.
In One Word: Brilliant
I don’t know really know what to think about this. Sounds kinda sadistic, if you ask me. Where would you see the kid anyway? In the crowd? Sat next to an empty seat where their Dad should be? Crying his eyes out while he’s probably sitting in the seats his Dad paid for anyway. Selfish little sod. Oh, boo hoo..sorry I shot your Dad in ‘Battlefield’ kid, now sit there and shut up. Does that kid even get to play? No? Just watch? Er, great. Have fun with that. In all honesty, if the kid is in the crowd in FIFA, when would you ever notice him anyway? The crowds in the game are so notoriously bad, to single one person out would be nigh on impossible, at least in this generation. No. Not gonna happen.
In One Word: Daft
I’m not sure how to put into words what actual emotion went soaring through my body after reading this particular tweet. It was possibly – in this exact order – confusion, negativity, anger, sexual frustration, hunger, happiness and finally acceptance. I suppose you could sum it up like this – ?!
Anyway, the sheer brass-neck idea of playing as a road instead of the car in a racing game naturally brings up more questions than it does answers. As ‘the road’, what would you do? Bounce up and down to throw cars off the road? Close up? Remove bends and change routes? If you’re the road, you control the destiny of the cars. I’m starting to see a theme developing here…Molyneux and a God complex? Surely not…
In One Word: Therapy
Now THIS is more like it. A complete emotional balance between protecting your family and raising them. Firstly, the idea of living i na house made of frickin’ guns is so cool. Could it turn into a big ass gun? Like some kind of super awesome Transformer-House? Would you have ammo in these guns? If the ammo runs out, I guess you would just have to grab another gun out of the wall, yes? What would be interesting is if it’s ‘Game Over’ – not that is really exists anymore – once all the guns have ran out, and you and your family are just left utterly defenseless. It would be quick thinking and using a serious amount of logic as the swarms get bigger and bigger. I’m imagining a house similar to the Kino Der Toten zombie map in ‘Black Ops’. Massive but easily accessed, what would you do as your house comes crumbling down around you by your own doing? Your pinpoint skills would be tested as you couldn’t waste a single bullet. Could your children help out too? Four player attacks ala ‘CoD Zombies’ or ‘L4D’. I’m not sure why I’m going the Zombie route but it’s the first thing that sticks in my mind. If it isn’t Zombies though, a cool aspect would be if you kill the invaders you can use their guns to rebuild your house? So, in essence, the more invaders you kill, the better your chances of survival. It sounds obvious, but in this case it really matters because they have exactly what you and your family need to survive. On the flipside, could you just use the guns of the dead on the rest of the enemies and not bother at all with taking the guns out of the structure of the house? So many possibilities, I want this game now.
In One Word: Amazing
The Wii U Situation…
Peter Molyneux isn’t one to rest on his laurels. After this years E3, specifically after Nintendo’s unveiling of the Wii U, Mr Molyneux was on Twitter like a bullet from a gun coming up with all these brilliantly unique ideas for the system that only he could come up with. Of course, the clincher is that he now works for Microsoft. They were none too happy about his enthusiasm for the Wii U, either. For which Molyneux responded with this:
It’s a very sad situation that Peter Molyneux won’t be releasing any Wii U games for the forseeable future. However, take a look at some of these tweets and see if you think he should switch allegiances.
It’s fair to say his ideas for Nintendo’s new system are fundamentally brilliant. Will these ideas be taken from him? Only time will tell, but I imagine it’s likely. Having all these ideas for games and not being able to actually produce them must be a killer for a game developer, especially one as forward thinking as Peter Molyneux. One can only hope he becomes a free man before the end of the Wii U cycle and some of these games acutally come to fruition. Until that day, all we have are his brilliantly conceived tweets. ‘Portal Wii U’ is my favourite. What’s yours?
There’s no denying Peter Molyneux will go down in history for being a legend in our industry. A truly unique mind who is – in my opinion – only second to Shigeru Miyamoto when it comes to creating absolute masterpieces of art, design and gameplay. Some of his ideas have worked, some certainly have not. While there are times I wish he would stop contradicting himself so often, you can’t help but imagine what he’s going to come up with next. I’m a little tired of the ‘Fable’ series, I’m not even sure how it got to a fourth, considering Molyneux’s fascination with originality, although a good idea is a good idea. Let it run and then focus your time on something else, then can it! (Milo + Kate *cough*)
Long may you deliver us wonderful games, Mr. Molyneux. Perhaps we can move on from ‘Fable’, now though? Love you.
Follow the man himself on Twitter right >>>>>> HERE for many, many more insane, brutal, outrageous and downright brilliant ideas.
You’ll be glad you did. If you find one you particularly like, send us a link and share it with the whole community. That’s what TC is all about, you know . I’ll leave you with one more: