Often outspoken, Peter Molyneux is back in the driving seat of the genre he once helped pioneer with his Kickstarter project, Godus. It’s been over 22 years since Populous saw release, and the industry has shifted seismically in that time, something that Molyneux is more than aware of. “The god game genre hasn’t made the transition to console particularly well. I can’t think, off the top of my head, something that was god-gamish on console, so that was a blow to it. And then a lot of very popular Facebook games took that genre in a particular direction and for me it just became a way of exploiting money out of people in a very harsh and crude way.”
That’s not to say Molyneux and his studio 22Cans aren’t looking into monetizing their future releases, in-fact it is something they are actively involved in. ” In Curiosity at the moment there’s nothing you can buy and there’s a big story there for Curiosity 2… but in Godus, the way computer games are developed has changed forever now. As you’ll see with Curiosity and Godus, you don’t just finish [developing] it. The day of release is when you start refining it and that’s why we want to do the alphas and betas so that we can get ahead of that start. It’s not that we’re going to release it and move onto Godus 2.
“Godus needs to make money so we’re going to charge for the app initially, and we’re probably going to have some in-app purchases, but it’s going to be refined so that it’s not overly exploitive. For me a lot of the in-app purchases in free to play, and I’m a great fan of free to play, a lot of it is just so greedy. It really plays on people with addictive personalities and there’s probably going to be some scandal that’s going to come out of this that’s going to make us rethink it. The idea is that with a simulation-based game you could get people to pop back into it very frequently rather than just compressing their playtime. That’s why we’ve got this homeworld and multiplayer so that you can always go off and have that adrenaline rush of multiplayer but there’s the calmness of single player.”
At the time of writing, the Kickstarter for Project Godus still has little over two weeks to gain £250,000 to be fully pledged. If you’re avoiding putting down money for Godus because you think Molyneux’s name alone would skyrocket the campaign to completion, you might want to rethink your stance. “A lot of people think that my Kickstarter’s safe because of who I am, but it’s not. It’s not safe,” He stated, adding. “Kickstarter is more than just a way of getting money. It shouldn’t be just for people who are… starving? If you know what I mean, it should be for people who embrace what Kickstarter is. For me Kickstarter is about innovation that is hard to get through the existing structure of the industry. It was almost impossible for me to sign the original Poplous up because there was no Kickstarter, we had to go around 12 publishers and most of them said no. You might think that with Godus you could just sign it in a dot, but most publishers said ‘Could you possibly consider a role-playing game?’. They see the god-game genre as a genre that doesn’t have as many followers as an RPG. They’ve got their pie chart, look at it and say “if you did an RPG you’d do better”. I think Kickstarter is about embracing innovation and things that perhaps are hard for existing corporations to see and be motivated by.
To support the Kickstarter for Project Godus and to learn more about the game you can go to the official pledge page. Be on the look out for issue 130 of games™ when it goes on sale 20 December for an interview with Peter Molyneux, and plenty more.