Molyneux on the Never-Ending Dev Cycle


Peter Molyneux has gathered a reputation as a bit of a whacky guy in the industry. As much as the guy makes grandiose promises and far-reaching claims, it’s hard to deny the charm behind a man that dares to dream the impossible for every new game he tries to make. People make fun of him a lot, but I have always admired that Molyneux is trying to explore and innovate, even if it does kind of blow up in his face every now and then.

On the subject of making games in the aftermath of leaving both Lionhead and Microsoft, Molyneux spoke with Gamespot about the state of the industry and what he sees as the future. In an interesting conversation that covered everything from social gaming to future tech and smaller developers, one bit in particular stood out to me: the idea that development never ends anymore, and that this can be problematic for the industry.

“I think that we as authors of stories and entertainment, we have to stand by our decisions and justify them and take the rough with the smooth. If people don’t like it you can’t just go and change it because if you have any sense of authorship, you’re playing through a plan. That being said, nowadays there is no end of development anymore. You used to release a game and that was it, you were done. It was in the box. Now, you release a game, and there is this possibility and technology that allows you to change it.”

In an age of endless DLC, it’s easy to see what he’s talking about. While I do agree that sometimes things just need a good ol’ fixing, it would be nice to let developers make a game and then move on. I know that publishers invest so much in games these days that they want to keep making more money from their products, but it also seems like they would benefit from turning around and working on new projects once one gets out the door. That would certainly keep developers from having to lay people off once the huge project is done, if they’re a one-game studio.

What do you guys think about this? Is Molyneux off his rocker again? Or does he have a point about the endless development cycle? Go!

Source – Gamespot

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6 thoughts on “Molyneux on the Never-Ending Dev Cycle”

  1. I think Molyneux makes a good point. If a company can just make more DLC for a game, why ship a complete product? If you ship the game and then add in a few missions and maps later for extra money, you can get more games out at a faster rate. There are benefits to DLC expansions, but having to pay extra for the missing parts of a game can really undermine the experience.

  2. This is nothing new to older PC gamers, where games were always riddled with bugs and you would have to wait for patches. Eventually, new maps or user made maps and mods would come out, which I guess could be regarded as DLC. It’s why I can’t believe games like Modern Warfare CHARGE customers for 4 new maps. You used to get new maps on a daily basis for almost every shooter and strategy game you played.

    1. Julez, this is coming from a guy that first developed PC games. Dungeon Keeper, Populous and Black & White were all PC/Macintosh games. If he feels that development today is different (regardless of platform), then he’s probably right.

  3. ? Right, I wasn’t disagreeing with him. The first 2 sentences are what’s interesting, because he’s talking about changing the actual story of a game, not standing by your creation, which I think is more talking about the Mass Effect 3 drama. That’s different. Releasing “episodes” and such after the ending of a game for something like Alan Wake I don’t think would be considered as not standing by your plan, but instead just giving the fans more of what they want. No one has to buy or play DLC.

  4. Eddy’s itching for a fight Julez. 😛

    Molyneux makes a good point. Personally, I view the endless dev cycle as potentially destructive to game development. On one hand, it can encourage laziness (ship it now, fix it later), although that’s more laziness on a publisher’s part. That’s easily counteracted by allowing newly discovered bugs to be fixed so it’s a give and take.

    Then when DLC is factored in that’s taking resources away from working on the next game (unless it’s relegated to a B-Team or something).

    Molyneux says, “there is this possibility and technology that allows you to change it”.
    Sometimes change is good. I’m playing The Witcher: EE and if it is THIS bad (but still SO good) WITH the fixes, then I can’t imagine a world without an endless dev cycle.

    It’s a difficult subject to approach just because there are two perspectives to look at it from.

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