Jack Attridge, the co-designer behind Godus, is set to leave 22Cans. This has come as a shock to some in the industry, who had assumed Attridge would take the lead role from industry legend Peter Molyneux eventually. Attridge is said to have walked away to pursue his own ideas as a developer. He spoke to UK newspaper The Guardian and said that, “Friday was my last day. Me and Peter went on a big 10 mile walk and finally said our goodbyes.”
Many assume that Attridge’s decision to leave is because of the catastrophic events surrounding Godus and Peter Molyneux which occurred back in February. Godus, a successfully kickstarted and crowdsourced project, has suffered from missed development milestones, is still missing key features missing, certain promises involving the winner of Curiosity – What’s inside the cube were not fulfilled, and many people demanded answers. Attridge has come out and said that his decision to leave actually occurred long before the events in February and he apparently informed the studio of his plans to leave several weeks before Molyneux’s disastrous interviews.
“It was January that I said to Peter I was looking to leave 22Cans and go off to start my own thing,” Attridge says. “I was really worried that it might be perceived that I was leaving the studio because of that. It really is a shame because that felt like such a terrible time for us to part ways.”
Jack Attridge, a film graduate with previous experience from EA Bright Light and Mind Candy, was brought onto 22Cans in 2012 through Molyneux as not only a designer but also a protege of sorts.
“When Peter started talking about this new company 22Cans I got really excited. He said he wanted to change the world. He said he was looking for people with unusual game development experience, to try something different and that really appealed to me,” said Attridge, referring to his initial meetings with Molyneux. “After meeting him he said to me why don’t you come along as a designer, but also as his kind of protege. For a good year it was just me and him designing crazy stuff together every day”.
Under Molyneux’s guidance and tutorage, Attridge began to develop his own creative voice, however, instead of taking over from Molyneux as many believe he had hoped, Attridge generated enough confidence to decide to pursue his own path. “Peter was really good at nurturing talent,” Attridge explained to The Guardian, “but after a time I realised I was much more of an advisor at 22Cans and I wanted to be able to steer my own ship.”
It’s important to note that Molyneux is not bitter over Attridge’s decision to leave and according to Attridge, he’s actually been pretty supportive of his co-developer’s decision. “I decided that it was time to go off and try my own thing and I explained my idea to Peter who was really supportive. He was sympathetic and gave me loads of advice, he just did everything he could to help us. He signed a waiver so I could start my own company straight away, and he advised me on running a team and a business.”
One of Jack Attridge’s last tasks before finally leaving 22Cans was to put together an intimate documentary about the studio which is meant to be released to Godus backers in the near future. The film is said to cover everything from the studios’ inception right down to the nitty gritty details of Molyneux’s infamous interview with Rock, Paper, Shotgun.
“This documentary is my parting gift to Peter and to the team,” says Attridge. “I’ve been filming on my GoPro around the studio over the last couple of years. It cuts quite close to the bone; it’s quite a revealing documentary. It was very emotional for Peter and I, sitting down and watching that together. I’ve handed that off to the team and we’ll see what happens with it.”
Looking forward, Attridge showed the Guardian a small tech demo for his first new project although he made it clear that he wasn’t ready to show it to the public yet – It seems he’s learned enough from Molyneux to know not to show off possible empty promises before everything is finalised. “While it’s really hard to contain ourselves, we made that our philosophy: let’s not say a word until things are finalised,” Attridge said.
“I vowed that I’m not going to say anything about this new game until we can show it. It’s really tempting to show it off and talk about it now because we think we’ve got something magical on our hands. We’ve shown only two or three people for feedback so far. We want people to be able to see it and to feel it and to understand that it is the product in front of them and not something else.”
“My approach is a result of my work with Peter over the last few years. Peter’s a massively passionate guy and he can’t contain himself when he gets excited about something. Because of iterative development, an idea can start in one form and take a long road by the time it’s done. In spite of traditional PR practices, Peter can’t help himself, he just loves getting out there from the beginning and talking about everything he’s working on. You see his ideas before they’re fully developed and sometimes they just don’t come to pass.”
The guys at The Guardian left Attridge with one last parting question and asked him if he had any regrets about his time at 22Cans or if he looks back on these last couple of months with anguish – his answer was a pretty strong no.
“Ultimately there are many careers where you cannot feel emotions on either side of the spectrum to that degree. If you asked any one of us, I think we would say that we’d rather risk facing tough times than to feel nothing at all.”