Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Is Peter Molyneux's Reputation Irreparably Tarnished?

This morning, while perusing through what was new on Steam, I noticed a game called Godus Wars in the Early Access section. It got me thinking, "Godus? Where have I heard that name before? Wait a minute...I smell a Molyneux." Seeing this game lurking on Steam actually surprised me. After the disastrous mess that was normal Godus, the hype surrounding it, the game's complete inability to live up to it, and the grilling Peter Molyneux got from Rock, Paper, Shotgun after, I just assumed this was the last that we'd be hearing of both the game and the man behind it.

Now, this game comes out of nowhere, and it looks like Molyneux is trying to make another comeback. However, one has to wonder how long this will last. Judging by the screens, Godus Wars looks a little more Populus-esque, so that's something, I guess. Look a little more closely at the Steam page, though, and one quickly notices that only hours after going live the game is already getting trashed in the user reviews section.

I haven't tried the game myself, so can't comment on its quality, but no matter how you look at it this does not bode well for 22cans or Peter Molyneux. This means that either the game is poorly made in some way, in which case one simply has to boggle that the company hasn't learned anything from past mistakes, or PC gamers have lost so much good will that they're going out of their way to down vote this game. If it's the latter, it suggests that some people are going so far as to plunk down fifteen bucks for the opportunity to dog pile on Molyneux. That's a pretty impressive level of hate right there.

After years of over promising and under delivering, Molyneux was already skating on thin ice going into Godus. Even with the pedigree of games that he made in the 80s and 90s, there's only so much of this that people will put up with before they become fed up. If anything, in the current environment of internet outrage that gamers are capable of when a developer falls short of expectations, Molyneux and his company still got a lot more goodwill and benefit of the doubt over the years than many other companies would have were they to have suffered similar missteps.

When he did his interview with RPS, many thought this was it for him, and Molyneux would simply walk away from the industry. He seemed so utterly defeated and, more than anything, angry and disappointed with himself. It would have been a sad exit from game development, but coming back with what appears to be a re-branded Godus seems utter madness.

Usually it takes a few days for a game to fall into "Mostly Negative" territory when it comes to Steam reviews, but Godus Wars has managed this in hours. At this point, it doesn't even feel like this is a matter of gamers running out of patience with Molyneux, but more of a message that can be read, "Just stop already!" Really, it's hard to see there being much left that the man can do. This bizarre attempt at a comeback already appears to be dead on arrival. It seems only a matter of time before he retires for real at this point.