Long Read: The Rise and Fall of Milo and Kate

Milo and Kate

Remember Milo and Kate, the infamous tech demo from the original Kinect announcement? You can be sure that everyone who worked at Lionhead under Peter Molyneux does. Over at Polygon, Matt Leone has a fascinating in-depth article about the long development history and DNA of the project. It turns out that Milo has roots in a failed project called Dmitri that began all the way back in 2001. Milo is still a sore subject at Lionhead, so a lot of the quotes are off the record, but the article is definitely still worth a read if you’re interested in some of the behind-the-scenes goings on at a game developer.

Molyneux definitely has a long, strange history in game development; in the early years, before Lionhead and Microsoft, it seemed like he could do no wrong. I never played Black and White or any of his early games like Populous, but I remember people raving about them at the time. At Lionhead, Molyneux became known for games like Fable, which over-promised and under-delivered but still sold well enough to produce sequels. That tendency towards over-promising weird, ambitious gameplay mechanics eventually became the inspiration for parody. However, I do think there is something admirable in Molyneux’s desire to find new ways to approach games; I just get the impression that never meshed very well with the business concerns of a large corporation like Microsoft or with the realities of the modern-day console development cycle.

Have any of you ever played Molyneux’s early work? Are you looking forward to whatever crazy idea he comes up with next? Let us know in the comments!

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Someday I will die under a pile of books, movies and music. Until then, I'll eke out my time spent in sunny Los Angeles, California by working on the Great American Blog Post.

7 thoughts on “Long Read: The Rise and Fall of Milo and Kate”

  1. Molydeux is one of my favourite things to follow on twitter.

    I’ve never actually played a game by Molyneux. I have never been drawn to them after hearing all this “over-promise, under-deliver” stuff. Is there any game of his I should play?

    1. I mean… Fable 2 is fun enough, but all the window dressing they added like buying houses and getting married is hit or miss. Also I was kinda sick of the game by the time I finished.

  2. So… Don’t play it? 😛
    See this is another thing, people seem so conflicted about the games! I need help choosing!

  3. Play the Fable games if you can get them cheap or free. Don’t spend too much time on the side questing or other business because it isn’t actually that deep. Don’t get too hung up on whether or not Molyneux delivered what he promised; the games are fun, they just aren’t anything special.

  4. And once again Jeff, I feel compelled to buy something on your recommendation. Either you’re a wizard with words, or I’m easily persuaded. Or both.

  5. Wow, fascinating article. For all the journalistic complaints I see out there, Polygon brings some inarguably great in-depth pieces to the table.

    I only ever laid hands on two of Molyneux’s games, Magic Carpet and Fable 2, and all I can really say is that the first held my attention in precisely the way the second failed to. That said, I love the idea this guy is out there, churning out crazy, high-concept ideas, even if they fail to make it through the development process intact (or at all). The over-promise/under-deliver thing is a rough cycle, but if nothing else the hype and promise might serve to broaden the conversation around what games are and what they can accomplish – always a good thing in my book.

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