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Good news for Project Godus - Her Most Regal Majesty, the Queen of Snark
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Good news for Project Godus

Peter Molyneux's Kickstarter god game has been fundedn with less than 2 days to go.  This is good news, as he's local talent, the inventor of the entire genre (with Populous, which some of you may even be old enough to remember) and really seems to care about doing what he does well.  For a while this looked like it was going to be the first major Kickstarter to fail, so it's good to see that's not the case.
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al_fruitbat From: al_fruitbat Date: December 20th, 2012 09:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Hm... Well, I'd like to state the case for the dissent (i.e. a minor rant).

It is a pity that Peter Molyneux has managed to abuse Kickstarter to get funds for his game company.

1) Molyneux, being an industry legend with two successful bought-out companies in his past, has no actual financial need to take money from fans. He could easily have acquired investment in the normal manner with which to make his game. (or is it the second game 'experiment' after 'Curiosity'? No-one's sure)

2) Taking money in this fashion means that Molyneux has no requirement to deliver any quality bar, release schedule or return on investment. Now that the funding has completed, all he legally has to do is release *something* with the correct title. This is a far cry from the normal quality control procedure for videogames - but he doesn't care, because reviews are irrelevant. He's already got the money. Worse still, his 'investors' will receive absolutely zero equity or return on investment. They get a copy of his product and whatever freebies are in their package. If is is a massive success (highly unlikely, but possible) then Moly gets to pocket absolutely all return.

3) There are conflicting views on Mr Molyneux as a game developer. No-one doubts that he's an absolutely masterful PR genius, but there are differing opinions about whether 'his' games are really 'his', and how much actual design work he does on them. In particular, his well-documented technique of making up shit in interviews about upcoming titles which the devteam then learn they have to implement seems to me to be particularly egregious. Additionally, his attitudes to 'crunch' in the workplace - most recently with 22Cans and his 'curiosity' experiment which failed at networking - are less than helpful.
In conclusion, there are many (myself included) who feel that Molyneux has a long history of overpromising and underdelivering.

4) Kickstarter is supposed to provide an alternate funding model for people who could not get funding another way. It is absolutely not supposed to be used as a 'shopfront'. By using it in this fashion, Molyneux (and Braben, and the Oliver twins) risk encouraging others to do the same, and undermine what the point of the whole enterprise is - to fund those who otherwise couldn't get a look-in.

There's a better-written and much swearier argument with similar points over here (by the dude who recently shattered the cosy videogame PR swindle)
http://effingarcade.tumblr.com/post/36277287313/molyneux-and-fucking-kickstarter and you don't have to go too far on the interwebs without finding similarly opinioned folks.

Let me be clear - I think Kickstarter is a wonderful thing (e.g. I'm over 80 hours played of F.T.L. and it's still brilliant) and I've advance paid for several games in the past (minecraft, Legend of Grimrock), but it is not supposed to be a pre-order machine for famous game developers to reap money and avoid any oversight.

Thanks for your time. Merry Christmas!
sesquipedality From: sesquipedality Date: December 20th, 2012 10:21 am (UTC) (Link)
All very valid points. I think I see KS' remit as being a bit wider than you do, though. I think it's also good for allowing established talent to make the games that they want to make rather than the ones publishers want them to make. Molyneux hasn't really produced anything all that earth shattering recently (although I liked the first Fable), but I'm certainly interested in seeing what he can produce when he only has to answer creatively to his audience.

As you say, there's no accountability, and that's a big problem with the Kickstarter model, but at the high end I do see it as a force which has the potential to dislodge some of the stagnation and conservatism as to what a game will be.

For what it's worth, I didn't back Braben, because in my opinion, he's never delivered on a promise since Elite. (Also, he was a bit of a shit to a friend of mine who worked at FD, but I've only heard one side of that story and may not have understood it that well even then.) In my uninformed opinion, Molyneux has enough talent to produce something interesting, and I just regard it as pre-paying for a game I want to see made.

Edited at 2012-12-20 10:22 am (UTC)
al_fruitbat From: al_fruitbat Date: December 20th, 2012 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
Answer creatively to his audience? Or respond to a successful funding round by immediately starting press reports about his NEXT project?


The man is nothing but hot air and broken promises.
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