Molyneux: "I Struggle To See Anything Amazing Coming Out Of Nintendo"
Posted by Damien McFerran
Veteran developer thinks consoles have a tough time ahead
Former Bullfrog and Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux has given a frank and somewhat revealing interview with IGN where he states in no uncertain terms how sceptical he is about the Wii U's chances - as well as his worry for dedicated consoles in general.
Over the course of his glittering career, Molyneux has been involved with a string of massive commercial and critical hits, including Populous, Syndicate, Magic Carpet, Theme Park, Black & White, Dungeon Keeper and Fable. He's now involved in independent games production through his new studio 22Cans. The company's first project - Curiosity – What's Inside the Cube? - has recently gone live on iOS and Android, and is arguably more of a social experiment than a real game.
It's worth reading the full interview to see Molyneux's thoughts on dedicated consoles and the rise of mobile and tablet gaming, but here's the portion which is most likely to interest (or irritate) Nintendo gamers:
IGN: What are your thoughts on what Nintendo is doing with the Wii U overall?
Peter Molyneux: I struggle to see anything amazing coming out of Nintendo. There are a few, “Oh, that’s smart,” but there’s nothing that makes me rush out as a consumer to buy the new device. I’ll give you a great example of how tech should be used. It’s what Nintendo did with the Wii when it first came out. They introduced motion control. They were one of the first companies to introduce motion control and they had a fantastic Wii Sports Game. As soon as I picked up the controller and started waving it around, I got it. I already understood it. But I’m not sure there’s a same sort of application out there for Wii U. I think to myself, “Well, what’s the reason to get it?” Do you see what I mean?
IGN: I do. I’ve tried out a lot of the launch games and outside of the Nintendo games like NintendoLand and Ubisoft’s Rayman Legends and ZombiU, there’s not a lot of innovations. And I did find it challenging, even while standing at the kiosk, focusing on both screens.
Peter Molyneux: There you go. I had exactly the same experience. I played those games and I thought, “That’s cute.” But the psychology of making a game is hard enough because plasma screens are so big now. It’s hard enough to get the player to move their eyes from the center of the screen to the borders.
When you’re designing a game for a plasma screen you've got to really flash the corners of the screen. You've got to get movement in, otherwise people don’t notice anything in the corners. Getting people to move their eyes from the screen down to their laps is incredibly hard. There has to be some huge motivational thing like the words coming up, “Look at your GamePad now.” If you’re going to do that, from a design perspective that sounds a bit clumsy and complex.
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