October 24, 2010

Why People need to cut Peter Molyneux some slack.

Games are a funny thing, they are often linear; leading us down a predetermined path despite all the tempting distractions laid in place to make us think otherwise. Yet even with that destination so firmly in place, how we arrive there and how we feel during that journey is within the eye of the beholder.

What one person would claim is the greatest game they've ever played is rarely what another claims. This inability to really measure and anticipate reception is arguably a developers only curse and as games evolve and develop, along with how that reception is monitored- some games choose to re-invent and some game developers choose to learn.

Developers often struggle to draw a line between what they intend to achieve from their game and what people expect them to, some games suffer terribly from fan-demand as opposed to united developer vision(see; what has happened to Sonic in the last ten years.) On the other hand, some developers choose to completely ignore critical reception in favour of barrelling forward, in some extreme cases to simply chase more money(Guitar Hero Franchise.)

Lionhead Studios 'Fable' Franchise is an incredible set of games to consider- I personally can't point out a set of games that have evolved and progressed from eachother as much.(Atleast within the span of just three games.) And yet I grow weary of the attitude of the majority of gamers over this brave franchise- Gamers who cry wolf and choose to believe it's 'never going to live up to the hype'.

We get it, Peter Molyneux(Creative Director on the Fable franchise) over-hypes games and he needs to shut-up yadda' yadda' yadda'.

Well you know what, no. He really doesn't.

While he's not my favorite person in the world(I've never met the man!)I've come only to respect him because of what it is that makes him unique.

Here is a man that is in an incredible position of power when we consider how far he has now come within the Microsoft family- Yet he bleeds creativity. That alone is a rare feat and he should be recognised right alongside the likes of Shigeru Miyamoto as creative visionaries evolving interactive media for the better.

Peter Molyneux loves games, he gets excited about the brilliant games his team create, he talks about them with passion and belief as ANYONE SHOULD OF THEIR CREATIONS. And he doesn't stop there. He looks at his past achievements and he says of their faults; no, that's not good enough. Next time it needs to be like this, next time it needs to be better, next time it needs to meet my ambition.

This isn't laziness, or deliberately holding back as most gamers would have you believe and I won't even get into the restraints and deadlines of developer-production and how that hinders vision on ambition. It's entirely possible to reach farther than you're currently able to go. That applies to the realm of creativity in its entirety. My first comic was far and away behind what I'm capable of but I had ambition, I had a dream to make it a reality and with the foundations in place with my first attempt, I grow and learn from that. Molyneux understands he sometimes misses the mark but should he be criticised for trying? Or for later making sure he does? Really? Is that what we should be doing as his audience?

If Molyneux refused to evolve the franchise from its roots and bring it closer to his vision then yes, by all means, I would support the cries and insults towards him as a game developer. But in reality, he does exactly what he is meant to and does so with more passion and enthusiasm than any other public figurehead in the gaming world. So he's proud of his work and you don't like it? That gives you grounds to bitch and moan when you know already you'll still buy the game. It's childish.

What is even more staggering to me- is the innovation within the Fable franchise is forever present and in little ways help bring, sometimes; entirely new gaming experiences to the table. If it were any other game under any other developer- somehow I think the whiners would praise to high heavens the brilliant attempts to bring us an entertaining experience. I am a huge Legend Of Zelda fan, yet in the entire history of that franchise it is outweighed several times by the innovation and re-invention present in just three Fable games. And yet the cries continue.

We gamers are a sorry lot, we get too passionate sometimes ourselves and perhaps for some of us the pain of Molyneuxs boyish enthusiam not delivering is still too much to take, like an ex-girlfriend leaving us behind, we hold some kind of grudge and wonder 'What could have been'.

To those gamers I ask them to remember Molyneux isn't just a developer but a gamer just like us. While he listens to what we have to say of his games- ultimately he has the vision and passion to carry them forward and create better experiences how he wants to. I am so thankful that a developer such as Lionhead exist in an industry I will forever want to be involved with, he is few and far between and whilst nay-sayers may forever slam Fable, I will continue to play and love these games. It's that simple. No one is going to influence my perception or experience with a game and with this franchise constantly throwing new experiences at me, I'd be foolish not to want in on that.

If you don't enjoy Fable games, fair enough- different strokes for different folks but please stop blaming it on Peter Molyneux. Shigsy made Wii-Music for crying out loud and how fast did we all forget about that?