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Godus is not so Godly…

Nader Hobballah / February 12, 2015 at 9:26 AM / Gaming, Gaming News


Peter Molyneux, the man behind titles such as Black & White and Fable, has announced a new title The Trial at the Fun and Serious Game Festival.

In an interview with El País, Mr Molyenux described his new game as an experience never seen before, bound to captivate us in just five seconds: ‘It can be understood at a glance, and it entertains the idea of communication beyond words, by means of music, art, and so on.

An ambitious statement. But hold on, is he not still working on Godus? The game that he managed to get kickstarted back in 2012?

According to Mr Molyneux, The Trial will set right the aspects that went wrong with Godus, his latest project under the independent studio 22Cans. The Kickstarter-funded god simulation game ‘lacked in narrative, progress and reward.’

Uh oh.

The news does not get any better. Designer Konrad Naszynski, who was brought on recently, has been very blunt about the state of Godus:

Godus is rather confused right now, it plays like an ongoing persistent game without real end point and yet it’s divided up into discrete levels. This is one of the big decisions we will need to make in the next couple of weeks. And again realistically I’m having to ask myself, “how can we turn what Godus is right now into a good complete experience” rather than “how can we deliver on the kickstarter pitch goals”. We are in the process of re-evaluating the ‘big picture’ direction of and end goal of Godus. It’s not an easy or straightforward task, but I will let you know when I can.

The kickstarter dilemma is something that Peter addressed back in December calling it ‘a destructive force that has damaged Godus‘ by overpromising, which may be the irony of ironies for Peter. So far, many of the kickstarter goals have not surfaced. His Curiosity project, another game under his wing, had involved Godus and the winner is apparently hanging dry at the moment.

As for the game itself, the reviews on Steam have been mostly negative, the most common complaint being the lack of promised features and plain frustration at the development cycle.

Konrad though has hopes:

Quite frankly it’s been exhausting, but I’m starting to feel cautiously optimistic…

There’s things I can’t talk about yet, but there are indications we will have more resources available in the next couple of months, perhaps as early as next sprint.

Konrad has been having to deal with a lot of bureaucratic red tape from his confessions and his frustrations are understandable especially when you consider he was there from the alpha and has been desperately trying to get into a position of influence within the Godus development team to make a difference. Whether he can influence the development enough to improve Godus substantially remains to be seen.

His frustration though is shared by many as Godus raised over $800,000 and its backers are still waiting for their promised game. The fact that Peter is moving on and announcing a new one can only lead to further frustration and even anger.

Recently, he warned Microsoft about overpromising on the HoloLens. What is the saying? The pot calling the kettle…


Nader Hobballah

I am the current manager of the video game review page The Murfreesboro Pulse. You can check out my work over there. I enjoy PC games in general. I also delve into consoles from time to time.

  • GuitarAnthony

    Not to mention they screwed over the guy who won the Curiosity deal.

  • Nick

    I’m still trying to figure out why people would trust Molyneux with their money before he even releases a title. He gets a lot of crazy ideas, and some of them do show brilliance, but I feel like his name is synonymous with overhyped bullshit.


    I have just gone platinum mad

  • Sebastian Mikulec

    Wait a minute, are you telling me Peter Molyneux has admitted his previous game fell short of expectations, but he’ll get it all right in his next game and it will be revolutionary, and change the way we game? Huh, I feel like I’ve heard all this before… Many times, in fact.

  • davem

    So Peter Molyneux failed to deliver as promised again. Never saw that one coming. Oh wait…

  • Erthwjim

    The “kickstarter dilemna”. He can’t blame kickstarter for his failures. Don’t make promises you can’t deliver on, why is that a hard thing to do? Sure funding games in this manner is rather new, but as an experienced developer he should have been more cautious when jumping into this. I see this as a failed investment on my part, and it’s this and a few other poorly managed kickstarters that are making me avoid crowdsourced funding sites altogether. It’s something I’ve learned on my own, but people need to realize when they put money into a kickstarter project it is an investment, you’re not actually buying a product, and because it’s an investment, all the risks are included.

  • Erthwjim

    People should learn from this, don’t just put your money into the hands of someone that comes up with good or crazy ideas, because being able to come up with an idea doesn’t mean being able to manage it successfully to fruition.

  • BeholdMyPower

    I feel sorry for the guy/gal who tapped away at a box for hours upon end to win essentially nothing.

  • Sebastian Mikulec

    The first couple of times Molyneux pulled this ****, I could understand people falling for it, because Populous and Dungeon Keeper were legit awesome games. However, he’s pulled this same stunt so many times now that you’d have to have some kind of super blinders on to look past the giant pile of broken promises and half-baked games to only see the glory of Populous and Dungeon Keeper from loooooooooong ago.

  • Bearpants112

    I understand delays and complications in the production process. What is not forgivable is to give up and move on to a new project when you haven’t met your Kickstarter obligations.

    How can PM really be sorry for the God of Gods winner when he doesn’t make it right and reward the fellow?

  • anthony h

    If he’d just made Godus to be “Populous HD Remix”, he’d have been done by now and rolling in the cash 🙁

  • ArsCortica

    What’s that?

    Molyneux is makes boasts about his game but never fails to deliver?
    Devs get a metric ton of money from Kickstarter and then screw over their customer for one reason or another? *cough* Double Fine *cough*

    In all honesty, Molyneux and Kickstarter (or any form of getting money before he actually finishes a game) is a nightmare combo.

  • Misogynerd

    Can’t Molyneux make a game without hyping it to hell or making it unique and experimental? Just a simple polished game.

  • Zanard Bell

    At this time, I’m somewhat glad Will Wright left us with Spore. Yeah, he did promise us a lot, but at least I’ve managed to squeeze a couple hundred hour’s worth of joy from it, and it did gave us a glimpse as to the magic of procedural generation. (And the curse of DRM.)

    The only thing I can remember of Peter Molyneux is BW2. That barely even delivered.

  • BlueLight

    From my understanding Will isn’t exactly to blame for spore. There was a split in Maxius where half the crew wanted to make a simulator of sorts, and another half wanted to have a cutesty game. Ea backed the latter idea and we got spore.

  • cptk

    Molyneux was personal hero of mine, a fellow Englishman with great crazy ideas and a great back catalogue of games.
    Historically, there’s been elements of truth of most things I read (I would say all but I’m sure someone would catch me out).
    He definately did speak in terms of asperations rather then as system requirements but I think the media is just as guilty for the hype.
    That’s why I backed and why it sucks even more that Godus is a complete lash up.

  • Riddle

    Crowd funding is the worst thing to happen to the gaming industry, possibly ever. Why create a good game and get rewarded based on result, when dev’s can simply get all their sales before they even begin working on a game? Then if you’re a small dev, you just disappear with the money (Stomping Land) and if you are a bigger name (Molyneux) you just announce the next crowd funded ‘idea’ and repeat the cycle.

    Even well-meaning dev’s must summon heroic willpower to actually deliver on crowd funded promises, because there is no other incentive than your own honor. The majority of people who will buy your crowd funded game have already pre-ordered it, and it makes very little difference financially if you deliver top quality or disappointment like Godus.

  • Nick

    I’m going to throw this out: If you’re backing a game simply because of a specific Creative Director thinking they know how to manage a game you’re going to have a bad time: Molyneux, Roper, Schaefer, Garriott, McQuaid, etc. These are all guys that have or at one time had great Vision of what games could be, but they tried to do what seems to be all of the management when they haven’t had a track record of being able to pull it off. Yah they are great idea guys and great at getting specific feelings into the games, but when you start giving them money to produce a specific goal I think it’s not going to end well in most cases. Simply because people that are ‘visionary’ often need to be coupled with a realist, but when kickstarter comes around they aren’t doing this. They are just throwing their crazy ideas out and duping anyone that bites.

  • cptk

    Well he cofounded Bullfrog which is the studio that produced populous, syndicate and dungeon keeper.
    EA became a major stakeholder towards the end so maybe there was some external control exterted there but you’d think he was capable of delivering products based on that.
    Shafer on the other hand was always a creative underling at Lucas Arts.
    Often when you back a software projec, the main decision is whether you feel the team involved is capable and this time did I not only make the wrong call, I lost faith in the guy who inspired me to code.

  • cptk

    Take your point and it’s not a silver bullet however it has created some games that otherwise wouldn’t have seen the light of day so can’t be all bad.

    From a developers perspective if you fail a Kickstarter you’re over. People won’t fund you and I don’t imagine investment companies will either. That is the main reason to back people with reputation because they have something to lose.

  • Nick

    except Molyneux opened his own studio in 2012… He left the Microsoft (not EA) Umbrella then to launch the projects, and it had been a long time since he had worked under EA at that point. And just as a a bit of a nodback, the original co-founder of Bullfrog to Molyneux was a manager. I think that pretty much proves my point.

  • cptk

    Is the suggestion that while he was working at Lionhead he lost his ability to manage a product delivery?

    Really, the only comparable personality in games is Sid Meier and I’d be shocked if he went solo and struggled to raise funds over Kickstarter.

    If you’re going to gamble money on game development you should back someone who has experiance running a company, that has produced games both influencial and popular and decades of industry experiance.

  • What I get from this article and the comments below, is, anything that Peter Molyneux does will bound to fail and crash and burn, without a manager. If he had an manager to keep him on the right track, then we would most likely get a more realistic version of his ideas.

    He is starting to look like a scam artist, which is never good if you want to work in this industry that is beloved by so many. I hope he gets someone to bring his ideas to a level where they are achievable within a given time period, so people wouldn’t lose faith with him.