Two and a half years ago, Peter Molyneux found himself under considerable press scrutiny. For many, his controversial god game Godus was a failure and, after one particularly contentious interview with another publication, the long-serving developer swore off the press for life.
He's since reevaluated his position—"...it'd just be silly and stupid and childish for me to refuse to talk to [the press]," he tells me—however feels there are distinct parallels to be drawn between his own situation and the backlash levied at Hello Games' No Man's Sky. To this end, Molyneux visited Sean Murray shortly after the open-world exploration game's turbulent launch.
"It was an incredibly harrowing time for [Murray] and it had been an incredibly harrowing time for me to suddenly realise that the world has flipped and changed from one state to another," says Molyneux. "Quite obviously with No Man's Sky and some of my games in the past, people get very, very frustrated that the game isn't as they imagined or as it had been portrayed to them as they imagined. You can completely understand that in today's world, you can absolutely understand that, but of course when people get frustrated in today's world, they can be incredibly vocal about it which creates a tide of what people think.
"For us, for me and Sean and whoever, we, hand on heart, we make these games because we love making games. We make these games because we want people to love making the games that we make. I can assure you that me and Sean and lot of other people I know aren't in this to steal people's money away, we're not in this to be evil; we're in this to try and make things that entertain people that we can be proud of."
Molyneux explains that his exile from the press allowed him to refocus his attention on coding—which manifests itself in his most recent game The Trail. He admits the hostile reaction to Godus was unsettling, but that rediscovering programming helped him move on.
"When all of this happened, it was incredibly… I mean, I won't go into any detail, but it had an incredible impact on me, on my confidence, on my health, a lot of things," explains Molyneux. "I thought: what am I going to do about this? I could sit in a corner and sulk and hide away, I could run out and become angrier than anybody else, or I could do that I think is the best thing to do. That is to relearn the art of coding, which I'd stopped doing on Black and White and hadn't done any since then. It took me quite a few months to get back into the swing of coding again and that's exactly what I'm doing—this is the first project that I've coded on since Black and White.
"I've got a load of code on the screen at this very moment, it's a project codenamed Legacy and I obviously won't tell you anything about it because of everything I've just said but I'm finding that unbelievably exciting and exhilarating and really empowering. There are many times where it's one or two in the morning and I'm just giggling with excitement but I can have an idea and instantly get that idea into the game. I'm finding that super exciting."
Read our full interview with Peter Molyneux here.