Whenever a new console is launched, there is bound to be a certain amount of negativity surrounding the release. Usually, we see the insults coming from the other console manufacturers as they try to steal the curiosity their way. It is a rare occasion that we see a developer bashing a console, the obvious reason is that they do not want to burn any bridges.
Peter Molyneux, Former Bullfrog and Lionhead boss and creator of Populous, Theme Park, and Fable, made a bold move recently when he told IGN that he doesn’t see anything amazing coming from Nintendo.
Hit the jump for the interview.
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.”
I do understand where Molyneux is coming from, but I think he needs to refocus his lack of faith. Nintendo has been on the cutting edge of the gaming industry for years. They have never been afraid to try something new, Virtual boy and R.O.B., for example) and they have had some failures as well as many successes. The Wii U was a huge gamble, but their marketing not only focused on the hardcore gamers, but also the elderly, small children, and most importantly, Families. Sure, some of the games were just “cute”, but they got played over and over again. That is success.
It seems that everyone is concerned about graphics, music score, special effects, and online gaming now days. I agree, they can all come together for a fantastic experience, but what happened to the good ole days of story and gameplay being the focus?
An great example of what Nintendo is doing to keep the gameplay and story alive and well on the Wii U is to focus on the Indie scene. Two Brother’s is a fantastic example.
Two Brothers was Funded on Kickstarter in September, as the brainchild of AckkStudios lead programmer, Brian Allanson. The game plays tribute to the old Gameboy days, with similar graphics, and newer touches. For example, the game is in full HD and is not completely bound by the Gameboy graphics limitations.
Originally, the game was to be released for the PC, but additional funds raised made it possible to bring the game to the xBox 360. Nintendo say the project and quickly acted to bring the game to the Wii U eShop. This was a bold move for Nintendo, and a fantastic decision.
Molyneux may not be impressed with some of Nintendo’s choices, and that is his rightful opinion. In my opinion, Fable was a good game, but Populous was very boring to me. I have a feeling that his opinion will not have an impact on Nintendo sales. There are some fantastic games scheduled to be released for the Wii U, and many more that are unannounced. I am sure we will see the fluff alongside the fantastic and I cannot wait!
Do you agree with Molyneux?