The brain behind Broken Age and Psychonauts, Double Fine’s Tim Schafer, has said that reactions to the latest round of controversy surrounding legendary British game designer Peter Molyneux were “way out of proportion.”
Shafer made the comments in a new video update about the upcoming second part of Broken Age (you can read our Broken Age Act 1 Review here) which is currently nearing the final stages of completion and on course for release within the next couple of months.
“I’d like to send our support to our friend Peter Molyneux,” Schafer said. “These last few weeks, we’ve seen some really rough treatment of Peter on the internet and [in] the game press, and I think it’s really unfortunate, and unfair, and I don’t think it’s healthy.”
“Obviously… things did not go as expected with his game, and because of that some people are making some nasty accusations about Peter,” he continued. “I can really relate to that, believe it or not. I’m not saying that developers like Peter and I shouldn’t be responsible, and shouldn’t be accountable to deadlines – I’m just saying that the reaction to recent events, and the tone of that reaction, is really way out of proportion to the seriousness of the events themselves.”
Last week, Molyneux – who has a career in the games industry spanning nearly four decades, and is regarded by many as inventing the God Game genre with Populous back in 1989, as well as being well-known for classics like Dungeon Keeper, Syndicate and Theme Hospital – conducted a series of interviews with various members of the press. Chief among these was popular UK site Rock Paper Shotgun, the tone of which proved controversial. This was followed by the subsequent publication of interviews with Kotaku and UK newspaper The Guardian. The interviews, according to Molyneux, were the last he will ever conduct with the press. Kotaku’s Jason Schreier even claimed that the developer broke down in tears during one particularly uncomfortable exchange.
The controversy surrounds the Molyneux’s latest game Godus, which was originally announced as part of the grand ending to block-tapping mobile game, Curiosity: What’s Inside the Cube?, back in 2013 before being successfully funded on well-known crowdfunding site Kickstarter where it managed to raise over £525,000 – just over £75,000 above its initial funding target of £450,000. Developed by indie studio 22cans, which Molyneux founded after quitting Microsoft in 2012, Godus was originally described as being Molyneux’s return to the God Game genre. Gameplay was set to focus on guiding a civilization from the early days of existence through various stages of development, with a heavy focus on simultaneous multiplayer which would see players competing with one another for dominance and land. But the big selling point of the game was the role of God, which would see one player setting the rules of the world and influencing the options available. Gods, according to Molyneux, could be overthrown, with successful players taking their place. Part of the prize for winning Curiosity was the chance to be the first God, complete with a share of the game’s revenue.
However, 2 years on, the multiplayer aspect has yet to be developed (due to technical difficulties in getting it working), while the winner of Curiosity – Scottish-born Bryan Henderson – revealed in an interview with Eurogamer that Molyneux and 22cans hadn’t kept in contact. It was this revelation, and the subsequent fallout, which sparked the supposed final round of interviews.
However, Godus‘ development has been beset with controversy thanks to the inclusion of in-app purchases
With regards to Broken Age, Schafer announced that the second episode of the two-part release – which will be free for owners of the first half – is now officially in Beta, and that the final dialogue has recently been recorded. Kickstarter pledge rewards are also being finalized, with both the art book and the collector’s edition box nearly complete, as well as a final launch-period making-of video charting the last days of development, behind-the-scenes material on creating the pledge rewards, and the run-up to release. “The end is in sight! This crazy adventure we started three years ago is almost at an end,” Schafer said. “I can’t wait for you to see it, because I’m really proud of what the team has created.”
You can watch the full video below.