Peter Molyneux: At What Point Does Ambition Become Deception?

February 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

It’s not hard to remember a time when Kickstarter appeared to be the solution to all of the video game industry’s woes. Projects such as the Double Fine adventure, the Oculus Rift, and Elite: Dangerous proved that a combination of ambition and fan support was all that a producer required to get their idea off the ground.

It wasn’t long before the cracks started to show. The Double Fine adventure (eventually titled ‘Broken Age’) was split into two parts of which the Kickstarter backers would only receive the first, development of the Oculus Rift has necessitated the company being bought by Facebook, Elite: Dangerous was released to decidedly middling reviews, and that’s without even mentioning the Ouya. It would be an exaggeration to say that Kickstarter has been an abject failure, but as time passes it appears more and more as though crowd-funding should be seen as a supplement to, rather than a complete replacement of, more traditional funding models.

Godus is the most recent project to have courted controversy. After a turbulent development period that saw the mobile version being prioritised over the full PC version (itself delayed with no release date set), and the winner of a key promotional competition being ignored for months, the previous head of development has taken the decision to pass the reigns on to someone else within the studio to allow them to bring the project back under control.

Normally this wouldn’t be big news, Kickstarters spiral out of control all the time. It’s the nature of video game development, costs start to ramp up, unforeseen technical and design problems crop up, and before anyone realises the project runs out of budget. Under traditional funding models which see a deep-pocketed publisher footing the bill this is a tricky situation, but when a project is crowd-funded developers have significantly fewer options. The result in most cases is a cancelled game and public embarrassment for the developer.

Godus is different for one simple reason, and that simple reason is Peter Molyneux.

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