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Molyneux: "Surprise" Has To Be The Center Of Gaming

Peter Molyneux is one of those guys who always speaks his mind. Occasionally he speaks a little out of turn, like when he said Fable would be the "greatest game ever made" but hey, gotta self-promote.

During a Unite 2012 conference in Amsterdam, the veteran designer spoke about a variety of topics, including his first project - Cruiosity - since leaving Lionhead. And as cited by Videogamer, Molyneux believes that right now, interactive entertainment has the most to offer, and that a great many are starting to realize that.

"The amazing thing about where we are today is that the whole world is becoming gamers. I'm bored with movies, I'm bored with TV programs. We're in the industry, the last entertainment industry that really, truly can surprise people.

We are in the industry where surprise has to be at the centre of everything that we do."

Progress remains inevitable, especially with some of the other visionaries we've got working in the industry. Personally, I have to agree with Molyneux, as most other entertainment venues, including movies and music, are basically boring me to tears right now. The most interesting stuff and in many ways, the most talented and intelligent stuff, is coming from this industry right here. Makes you feel kinda proud, doesn't it?

Tags: peter molyneux, gaming, video games, gaming industry, gamers

8/23/2012 12:12:45 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (21 posts)

jimmyhandsome
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 1:58:40 PM
Reply

Disagree about television. Breaking Bad has been blowing me away and surprising me for awhile now.

The movie industry as a whole kinda sucks though. He is right that videogames offer the most surprises and innovation. Playstation 3 exclusives are proof of that.

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Killa Tequilla
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 2:42:01 PM

Prison Break, The Walking Dead... Just to name a few.

I've yet to see Breaking Bad. I hear it's good.

I disagree with this guy greatly.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 3:58:18 PM

Eh. Breaking Bad is great but it's just more of the same formula: Throw anything at the American public that's ugly and they'll lap it up because we're so goddamn twisted.

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jimmyhandsome
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 4:25:36 PM

I'd agree with that, Ben. But it does tell a more unique story of the very radical transformation of a former high school science teacher into a drug lord. It's not over the top for the sake of being over the top like some other shows. Just good story telling, IMO. And the acting is superb.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 5:13:30 PM

I don't like that dude in BB, bothers me.

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jimmyhandsome
Friday, August 24, 2012 @ 10:08:42 AM

World: it creeps me out that he was the mild mannered father in Malcolm in the Middle, so i see where you're coming from

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 3:37:50 PM
Reply

This ridiculous man is correct. There are good movies and TV shows but they don't do anything new; games still have tons of room for growth even if the most popular ones like CoD don't tend to surprise anyone with new stuff.

I don't expect to see anything from him, but as Quantic Dream spearheads a whole new genre and the indie scene attempts great things I see lots of newness in the future.

WTF is Cruiosity?

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Gordo
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 3:44:39 PM
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Bored with tv movies?

I would say that a lot of people have changed the way they are "consuming" tv shows. Gone are the day when you would sit down and watch a show for 50 minutes once a week.

Now it is more likely to download an episode when you want it or watch the whole series in a week or two!

The quality has improved as well. Dexter, Madmen, True Blood, Breaking Bad, Rome, Spartacus, Sons of Anarchy, Game of Thrones etc. Brilliant shows with high production values.

Video games are bigger and better than ever but tv shows haven't stagnated. They have advanced as well but we have mostly just become more selective in how we watch them. We might be more interactive with tv shows than Pete gives us credit for!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 4:10:37 PM

I would suggest those great shows (which again aren't taking new directions) are the exception in a landscape where people prefer to watch a racist cast of Glee singing and dancing, has-been celebrities dancing, nobodys singing, camera's following around families with too many children, and complete losers having petty squabbles while The Learning Channel becomes the current iteration of carnival sideshows.

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Axe99
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 4:36:59 PM

Aye, but on the other hand the really surprising, outstanding games could be argued to be the exceptions in the middle of a whole bunch of semi-generic FPS, sport and racing games ;).

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 5:15:32 PM

They could, however even if we treat both instances as a potential future only one of them comes out with the highest number of possible advancements. The interactive nature of gaming is what puts it over that bar.

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Axe99
Friday, August 24, 2012 @ 5:12:19 PM

I'm not sure interactivity in games would make them more capable of producing surprises. Interactivity necessarily means less narrative control, and surprises are generally a product of narrative/(gameplay as well in games) control - ie, you set up a certain situation, and then add in a twist. I'm just rolling with this convo, so I'm no expert, but I'd think interactivity would actually be a limiting factor on the potential 'surprise' factor, rather than an enabling one. Don't get me wrong, I love gaming, and do a stack of it - I'm just not sure that surprising is gaming's strength.

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Rogueagent01
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 3:48:48 PM
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I do believe that this industry has the best chance to suprise at the moment, but I don't believe that those other industries are boring either. Just get your head out of the clouds and look around and you'll find good movies, books, TV shows, and music.

Interactive entertainment should get better for a long time to come, and with certain people in the industry already, we have a lot of good suprises to look forward too.

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Axe99
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 4:45:23 PM
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I don't agree with Molyneux in the slightest. For a start, he doesn't even mention books, which still have plenty of potential to surprise, and there is still a _lot_ of quality forthcoming. That, and most games don't surprise hugely - many have 'twists' that are neither here nor there (not unlike movies), and some mess with the controls a bit to keep people thinking (MGS1 and Psycho Mantis is the best example), but these are the exceptions rather than the rule. My recent list of games is Unit 13, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Wipeout 2048, Mass Effect 3, BIRDS OF STEEL and Trine 2, and of all of them, the only one that really surprised was Mass Effect 3, and the surprise there was more one of how a story that was generally so masterfully created could end in such a pithy, shallow and downright improbable (there are _so_ many holes in the logic supporting the ME3 end you could write books on it) fashion.

Obviously, there are plenty of movies and books that don't surprise as well, and if all we watch is The Avengers and Transformers, then that's hardly surprising, but there is also _oodles_ of quality (often semi-independent) cinema out there. As for TV, there are numerous quality series (Gordo's post has it covered), although, just like gaming, there's more dreck as well.

Games give more of a sense of exploration than most other medium (although it's still there in the rest), but I think, like so much else that he says, that Molyneux is stuck within his own experience and should get out a bit more (and read a book maybe? ;)). Games also have a much greater sense of empowerment, and when done right, a greater level of immersion. I love 'em to bits, and it's easily the form of entertainment I get into. But when it comes to surprise, then I can't see any evidence for games having an edge on anything else, and I'd say games lag far behind quality literature found in books.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 8:12:24 PM

I'm waiting to see this so-called quality in books. If 50 Shades and Hunger Games are our top sellers, we are all in VERY big trouble.

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Axe99
Friday, August 24, 2012 @ 1:19:33 AM

lol, no, you'll be pleased to know that neither of those are great examples of quality! I'd be pushing stuff that was a bit more niche than that, as quality writing is a bit like quality film, and tends to be a few layers below the stuff you'll hear about on the news. I haven't read any new books this year, but gaming hasn't come close to the quality of plot and surprises of books over a hundred years old, so I'm comfortable making the claim. It's absolutely the case that the best of gaming can't match the best of literature. Personal favourites include anything by Terry Pratchett, and the early Sherlock Holmes stories, but if you're looking to get more 'literary' (it's a point of view, I think Pratchett is plenty literary), Annie Proulx had some great surprises in the Shipping News.

Games beat books in many areas, and I play far more games than read books, but when it comes to the potential to 'surprise' (which is what Molyneux is talking about), then I'd say books still have it.

Last edited by Axe99 on 8/24/2012 1:20:24 AM

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Ludicrous_Liam
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 5:38:01 PM
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It is kinda obvious when you think that gaming is the youngest medium, and therefore has tons of potential untapped.

But I just feel that interactive media opens many doors in terms of how you can engage the consumer. Because, not only does it include the passiveness of movies, books (as in script writing) and music to tell a story, or evoke an atmosphere, but also includes the interactiveness which can empower the player & what-not. And when you mix all of that together, I think you get the best medium to engage the consumer, and make them invest themself in the game.

However, I'm not gunna lie; I've heard better music, seen better movies and have read better books than any 'adaption' of such in a game. But as it is, gaming is relatively young compared to those mediums, & come 100 or so years, and I think gaming will have fulfilled a lot of that untapped potential.

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marcusfrommo
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 7:36:54 PM
Reply

Well, I don't know about breaking bad, but the updated version of V was the best local american sci fi series period.

By local i mean on the local networks cbs, nbc, abc, and fox. It had 3 things going for it.

1. high production value.

2. each episode was to be continued like a soap opera.

3. good actors and actresses.

How this series get beaten out by their competitors weekly detective dramas was bad promoting on their part, I think.

No ordinary family was pretty good too. For the people who liked smalville, that piece of crap, it goes 8 seasons and he turn to superman in the final 8 minutes of the series finally? I was wanting that to happen in 2nd or 3rd season if not the first.

No ordinary family ran for 1 year, v ran for 2 years. Those shows make the 8 seasons of smallville looks like crap.

Take care.

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Fane1024
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 8:03:16 PM

No. No, it wasn't.

Fringe, for instance, is vastly superior to V in every way.

Both shows you praised were watchable (I watched every episode of both), but hardly excellent in any way.

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marcusfrommo
Friday, August 24, 2012 @ 9:16:28 AM
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Fringe?? The faster paced x-files show. Really?? V and no ordinary family was better than that.

Fbi agents chasing strange phenomona that doesn't get explained until the season finale, or they make it up by revealing an answer to a much bigger phenomona totally unrelated to the phenomoma they were searching for in the previous episodes.

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jugheadjones
Sunday, August 26, 2012 @ 12:39:37 AM
Reply

He is absolutely right. Games always surprise me - especially Madden. Every year I am always surprised that so many people will spend $60 for the exact same game they spent $60 on last year.

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