Peter Molyneux Taking His Ball, Going Home After Interview


Peter Molyneux has had a rough go of things lately. First, he let Kickstarter backers of Godus know that the game will not be delivering on all the features it once promised on the project’s funding page. Instead, he will now be shifting his attention to a mobile game called “The Trial.” Following, Eurogamer did an interview with the man who “won” the Curiosity: The Cube contest close to two years ago, who has received zero from Peter Molyneux or Godus’ development as previously promised, and had actively ignored requests for update.

Now, he has sat down for an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun that called him out on his years of exaggerations (putting it lightly). Admittedly, it was a harsh interview that started out with the question, “Do you think that you’re a pathological liar?” However, as RPS continued to ask him about past and present transgressions, it did see Peter Molyneux say that he will “withdraw completely from the press” afterwards.

"Peter Molyneux: What you’re almost going to get out of this is driving me out of the industry.RPS: No, what I want–Peter Molyneux: And well done John, well done! And if that’s what you want, you’re going about it completely the right way.RPS: If you were to be driven out of the industry it would be as a result of your own actions. I’ve done nothing but quote back things you’ve said and done.Peter Molyneux: No [inaudible] me being hounded, which is what you’re doing.RPS: I’m quoting back things that you–Peter Molyneux: I must have given about fifty thousand hours of interviews and I’m sure if you go back over all of them you could– The only result of this is, I’ve already withdrawn mostly from the press, I’m just going to withdraw completely from the press."

As RPS notes, he has since done two more interviews, including repeating this notion of quitting the press to The Guardian.

The main mistake made by RPS is asking Peter Molyneux directly if he is a pathological liar. It sets the tone in an aggressive manner immediately, putting him in a defensive mode. Everything else that follows, including calling him out on counterpoints based on what he says instead of giving him the 5th, 6th or unknown benefit of the doubt is indicative of a tough interview.

Asking the tough questions is something that should be rewarded in games journalism, where interviews have mostly become PR puff pieces for games publishers. They are rare in nature due to the fact that going too hard may cause irrevocable damage to an outlet’s abilities in future coverage with the interview subject’s company, to the extent of possible blacklisting.

No, a lot of the questions asked of Peter Molyneux are fair, even if they are tinged in harsh truth. This is a man who has admitted to embellishing the truth. At a BAFTA ceremony back in 2011, he admitted to making up game features in interviews in order to “stop journalists going to sleep.” Talking to Tech Radar, he admits to giving into over-promising as per of raising money for Godus. “And of course in this instance, the behaviour is incredibly destructive, which is ‘Christ, we’ve only got 10 days to go and we’ve got to make £100,000, for f**k’s sake, let’s just say anything‘. So I’m not sure I would do that again.”

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Making up features to reporters in interviews leads to lies being published for consumers to read and take as truths. Knowingly embellishing the extent of your game in order to raise more money from consumers sees money exchange hands based on falsehoods. Countless times, Peter Molyneux has overreached in his comments about his games in development, saying you can do a lot more within those games than what is true in reality.

RPS did not “bully” Molyneux in their interview. They held him accountable, albeit in a harsh manner. For him to quit talking to the press because someone actually challenged him on his words, Peter Molyneux has taken his ball, and is going home.

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