Peter Molyneux teases his studio’s next, “fresher” game project

populous peter molyneux

Peter Molyneux’s latest project has a “mechanic that has never been seen in a game before,” he says, comparing it to Fable and Black & White.


Peter Molyneux is, of course, an industry legend. The designer of such genre-defining classics as Populous, Powermonger, Black & White and Fable – not to mention the producer of Syndicate at his old studio, Bullfrog Productions – Molyneux’s track record in the 80s, 90s and much of the 2000s spoke for itself.

In more recent years, however, Molyneux’s talents as a game designer have been overshadowed by his tendency to, shall we say, over promise and under deliver. The controversy surrounding experimental mobile app Curiosity: What’s Inside the Cube and the disappointing Godus built up to a particularly stinging interview with Rock Paper Shotgun’s John Walker in 2015 in which Molyneux conceded that his reputation had taken something of a battering.

“It’s over – I will not speak to the press again,” Molyneux told the Guardian that same year.

All of this might explain why, as he’s gradually eased back into the public eye years later, he’s talking a lot more cautiously about his projects than he once did. “In days gone by, I would just start telling you about the whole game… and why it was going to be the most brilliant game in the world,” he said in a recent interview with Game Reactor, when the subject of his latest game at studio 22cans came up.

Molyneux being Molyneux, though, he couldn’t quite resist talking in vague terms about his latest project – something he compares to such past hits as Fable, Black & White and Dungeon Keeper – and which has a “mechanic that has never been seen in a game before.”

“I feel like we are exploiting that mechanic in a world and an environment which may be familiar to people,” Molyneux said. “And because it is in a familiar environment, it’ll be a lot fresher. And a lot of this is very mystical because I’m trying to avoid [telling] you what it’s like. But it’s going to be a lot more like a kind of Fable – Black & White – Dungeon Keeper kind of experience.”

He then went on to say that the mystery project would be a PC and console game rather than mobile, and that, for the first time in over 20 years, he’d be sitting down to do some of the programming himself.

“This game is the first game, really, that I’ve been a coder on since since Black & White,” he said. “It makes it very special for me. And secondly, it has been evolving and we’ve been exploring ideas about it for almost five years now.”

Naturally, it’s worth keeping expectations in check here; when the promotion for Godus' Kickstarter campaign began in 2012, it was billed as “the Ultimate God Game” and a spiritual successor to Populous and Black & White.  Instead, what we got was a dull mobile app stuffed with microtransactions.

Almost a decade on, and the PC version is still in Early Access.

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