Peter Molyneux has been pretty hard on himself lately. He called Fable II's story "rubbish," and said that the game was "rushed" and contained "huge design flaws." Looks like his hyperbole goes both ways - he can hype the hell out of a damn dog, and he can tear down his past accomplishments with the same deftness. Now everyone's favorite self-deprecating game designer is making fun of his big talk about Black & White's weather patterns.
While the game was in development, Molyneux told the world that Black & White would contain dynamic weather effects which changed depending on the actual weather outside the player's house. The idea is perfectly possible (it's been implemented on the Wii since then), and was back in 2001, but no one figured that Black & White would actually interface with a weather server just to make in-game rain match the pitter-patter on gamers' roofs. The feature never made it past Molyneux's promise, and even if it had been implemented well, Molyneux doesn't think it was a good idea.
"I've got a Fonz shark moment... you know, where he's jumped over a shark on his motorbike, and after that Happy Days was s***. My inverse one of those was when I thought of the idea in Black & White of introducing weather patterns in the game that were the same outside your window, that was my 'shark moment'. Fortunately I woke up and thought: 'Why the f*** did I do that?' If you lived anywhere in the world, you don't want the weather in the game to be outside your window... you want the opposite. It was a dumb, stupid idea," he told GI.biz.
Woah there, buddy! It wasn't that bad of an idea. It was just unnecessary - Black & White didn't need any gimmicks.
You might find Molyneux's stream of self-criticism disingenuous, but I'm still sympathetic, for now. Creative pursuits can involve a lot of self-doubt and frustration, and the pain of hindsight can be crushing. Everyone's got something they look back on saying or doing that they now realize was absolute nonsense, and the intensity with which Molyneux embraces ideas has given him lots to shake his head at.
But self-deprecating introspection can only go so far before it seems like just another dumb hype ploy. Throwing Fable II under the bus isn't going to make us like Fable III more. Making fun of past hype isn't going to make us trust future hype. Say some daily affirmations in the mirror, Molyneux, you're more fun when you're rattling on about love and companionship like a new-age sex therapist.
Jul 19, 2010