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!

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

Review: Fable 3

fable 3 review

If any game series in the history of our pastime has a penchant for over-promising and under-delivering, it’s definitely Peter Molyneux’s prized creation Fable. From its first inception, Fable promised to bring us a fully realized world that would change according to our actions, where trees would grow from tiny acorns to mighty oaks in real time. Of course, since the original game debuted on the Xbox, the console’s processing power couldn’t harness the time-warping ambition of Molyneux’s design so the final product was somewhat neutered. It was still a fun, addictive game, but nevertheless far from what we were promised.

Thus the stage was set for the series where a new game would be accompanied by Peter Molyneux leading the hype train making all sorts of wild boasts that we knew would never, ever come true no matter how badly we wanted to believe. Fable 2 has come and gone and now we’re on the third title. As the old saying goes, is the third time really the charm?

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Peter Molyneux Bemoans Fable 2’s Development

Fable 3Fable 2 was OK, for the most part, but it wasn’t perfect. Like all games helmed  by Peter Molyneux, it over-promised and under-delivered. That’s not a shot against the long-time developer, but it’s a sad fact that most ambitious projects get crushed down by the harsh realities of development. The difference with Fable 2, though, was the astounding number of bugs that had to be squashed before the game game out. According to a recent interview, some 67,000 bugs were present in Fable 2’s code at one time, necessitating a rating of “super-black” by the Microsoft quality assurance team. Judging from the interview, games are rated on a sort of “threat assessment” scale, with “super-black” being a very scary area.

Eventually, Lionhead Studios got the bugs under control and the game shipped to above average reviews and sales. Molyneux still wasn’t happy with the finished product, conceding that there were “huge design flaws” in Fable 2 (what those were, he did not specify. How about farting until someone married you?).  Fable 3 is apparently facing a tough time as well, breaking its predecessor’s record for most bugs present in a Microsoft first-party title. While the exact number wasn’t mentioned, it is a known fact that Fable 3 has more coding errors than Fable 2, and the team at Lionhead are working very long hours to get it under control for a fall release.  Molyneux maintains that this is endemic to the industry as a whole, and reading post-development breakdowns of games like Uncharted 2 would reveal similar problems.

What do you guys think of Molyneux’s statement? As gamers, I think we’ve all come to accept the reality of bugs and glitches, but 67,000 is quite the staggering number. Does this change your perception of Fable 3?

Source: 1up via VG247.com and GamesIndustry.biz

Today’s WTF: Fable III Allows XBL Friends with Benefits

Well, for those of you who have always longed to knock boots with that sultry voiced minx on your friends list, you may have finally gotten your chance. It seems that Fable III is going to allow for players to get intimate and create babies with their friends in co-op games. Hot stuff, right?

I mean, as with anything that goes in a Peter Molyneux game, this should be taken with the grainiest grain of salt one can think of, but still it’s interesting to talk about. The idea of a unique weapon that is tied to your profile and gamerscore? Sounds good, I hope it makes it in. The idea of a king-like RTS that takes over part of the tale? Another great idea, can’t wait. Sleeping with someone on my friends list to make virtual babies for our co-op game? Not so keen on that one.

However, if I’m being completely honest here, if there is an achievement for doing someone on your friends list to make a baby… someone out there is going to have to help me do this. I’m not a picky man, either. I only ask that you be gentle with my evil avatar.

Source- Kotaku

Fable II Creator Helps Reviewers

Peter Molyneux is a nice guy. He created The Movies, Black & White and Fable after all. And those were nice games. Molyneux is so nice, in point of fact, that he has saved game reviewers the time and effort required to review his upcoming game Fable II by reviewing it himself.

How utterly generous. And what was the score of the self review? 9/10. Ridiculous block quote to follow.

Continue reading Fable II Creator Helps Reviewers