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Molyneux: "I Was In A Creative Padded Cell At Microsoft"

Matt Gardner
22Cans, Lionhead Studios, Microsoft, Peter Molyneux

Molyneux: "I Was In A Creative Padded Cell At Microsoft"

Peter Molyneux has spoken out regarding why he left Microsoft to set up 22Cans, the slight feeling of creative suffocation at Microsoft, and how this might he last chance to realise his dream of making "one of the greatest games ever", in his own words.

"One day I was at the studio sitting on my chair," the industry legend said, "in the zone, my eyes closed, my headphones on, blaring music in, trying to think of ideas for Fable The Journey.

"Suddenly I felt my chair move. I looked around. Standing there was the Microsoft chair adjustment personnel, this nice woman who comes over once a month, fiddling with my seat settings to make sure it was posturepedically correct.

"I thought; this is insane.

"I was in a creative padded cell. Microsoft was so safe. Microsoft was so nice. You’re so supported. Everything I did couldn’t hurt me, both creatively and physically. The danger was long gone. I had this huge desire to make something truly special, and I felt like I was being suffocated creatively a little bit.

"That was the moment I realised I had to go."

Molyneux also said that his role at Microsoft had seen him take ever-increasing steps back from hands-on development, "presiding" over the Fable franchise, rather than getting truly stuck in. The last game that he says he really "worked on", that was his own, was Black & White.

"The last game I really truly actually worked on was Black & White," he said. "I suppose I did some things on Fable one and two, but even then I was starting to get pulled away in different directions.

"It’s been a long time. Now I can obsess about one thing, one true thing, which I will dedicate all my energy to.

"At Microsoft I was I was presiding over these Fable games, I was flying to Redmond [Washington] every three weeks, I was visiting other European studios and seeing what they got on with. There was a hell of a lot going on and I wasn’t able to focus on anything."

Perhaps the final straw was the absolute canning of Project Milo, which saw Molyneux's incredibly ambitious idea (one that apparently came to full fruition) binned at the last minute.

"It took me a long time to get over it," he said. "Of course, I understood the decision. I really did. I’m not complaining about it. You have to be realistic about these things. You can’t just grieve for months over the death of something, whether it’s a game or family member. But it was really hard.

"What hurt the most is that the game actually worked. It was this amazing, emotionally engaging game that was all about forging a relationship with the player."

Molyneux's new studio, 22Cans, is currently hiring, to set about "together making something completely new, together making something that will inevitably change the world".

We can't wait to see what he comes up with now the shackles are seemingly off. [Develop]

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