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Molyneux, Garriott, Wright Look Back, Forward

The BBC gets some heavy hitters to reflect on 2008 and make some predictions about 2009.

Too hard for Molyneux.
Now that we're a full week into the new year, I figure it's about time to put a lid on all the “hey, remember how stuff happened last year?” business. Between our Game of the Year feature and podcast, Giant Bomb did its fair share of retrospecting, though leave it to the BBC to outclass everyone by getting year-end perspectives from game industry luminaries like Peter Molyneux, Paul Barnett, Richard Garriott, Will Wright, and, uh, Fatal1ty. OK, so a solid four out of five isn't bad, and there are plenty of interesting things said about 2008, and portentous things said about 2009 throughout the article.

Molyneux gives props to GTA IV and LittleBigPlanet, though he critiques GTA IV for its level of difficulty, stating that “only a few people actually saw all the cut sequences because the game was so tough to play.” He's also not terribly optimistic about the games coming out in 2009, though between his statement that “there is stuff in 2010 we can look forward to” and the fact that Lionhead's next game would be coming out in 2010 at the absolute earliest, I suspect that Molyneux probably has other stuff on his mind, and hasn't looked at the 2009 release schedule too keenly. Most interestingly, he pokes a stick at the economics of video games with this prediction for 2009:
Everyone says games are good value for home entertainment, despite the relatively high price. I'm not so sure. I think we're going to see a lot of price pressure put on games.
As regular Giant Bomb readers should probably already know, Mythic Entertainment's Paul Barnett has a knack for saying crazy and incendiary stuff, but despite starting off by saying that 2008 was “a year of disappointing big games; budgets too big, development too long, platforms underdeveloped, and expectations were too high,” he actually keeps it pretty civil. He notes the surge of higher-profile indie games like World of Goo as one of the year's high points, and more praise is heaped on GTA IV, though it's tempered by the fact that Barnett doesn't like GTA IV, but he respects it. For 2009, Barnett sees a shift away from the traditional retail model for video games, comparing it to the painful transition that the music industry has been kicking and screaming their way through for the past 10 years or so. Hopefully video-game publishers will be more proactive about that kind of sea change than the music labels have been.

Sometimes, you eat the bar, and sometimes, well...
Richard Garriott's perspective is, of course, slightly skewed by the fact that Tabula Rasa, his most recent game, has been dying a drawn-out and public death over the past few months, as well as the fact that the dude spent 12 days out of 2008's 365 in frickin' space. Still, ever the English nobleman, Garriott gives respect to Blizzard and their sustained ass-kickery with World of Warcraft, saying “They have shown all of us what good game development is all about.” After getting burned by sci-fi, it sounds like Lord British will be returning to his safe haven of medieval fantasy with his next project, though it'll still be an online product of some kind, as he feels that “there's something very powerful about getting people together.”

Spore creator Will Wright recognizes the 2008 trend of games that accessible to non-gamers, citing stuff like Guitar Hero, LittleBigPlanet, and the Wii. Ever the heady thinker, Wright sees online interaction in video games expanding beyond straight multiplayer in 2009 and heading more towards social networking, though hopefully that doesn't mean that PlayStation Home is a taste of things to come. His vision for the future is, unsurprisingly, ambitious and high-concept:
[Games] are going to be more fractal in nature; how you interact with the game will depend not only on what you play (360 vs mobile) but where you play. So, for example, a mobile game that interacts with a GPS (global positioning system) so that where you physically play the game in the real world will have a direct effect on the game you are playing.
That's an awful lot to insight to soak up, and considering how tumultuous 2009 is promising to be, I'll be curious to see how accurate/ridiculous these predictions will look this time next year.
22 Comments
Posted by Ryan
Too hard for Molyneux.
Now that we're a full week into the new year, I figure it's about time to put a lid on all the “hey, remember how stuff happened last year?” business. Between our Game of the Year feature and podcast, Giant Bomb did its fair share of retrospecting, though leave it to the BBC to outclass everyone by getting year-end perspectives from game industry luminaries like Peter Molyneux, Paul Barnett, Richard Garriott, Will Wright, and, uh, Fatal1ty. OK, so a solid four out of five isn't bad, and there are plenty of interesting things said about 2008, and portentous things said about 2009 throughout the article.

Molyneux gives props to GTA IV and LittleBigPlanet, though he critiques GTA IV for its level of difficulty, stating that “only a few people actually saw all the cut sequences because the game was so tough to play.” He's also not terribly optimistic about the games coming out in 2009, though between his statement that “there is stuff in 2010 we can look forward to” and the fact that Lionhead's next game would be coming out in 2010 at the absolute earliest, I suspect that Molyneux probably has other stuff on his mind, and hasn't looked at the 2009 release schedule too keenly. Most interestingly, he pokes a stick at the economics of video games with this prediction for 2009:
Everyone says games are good value for home entertainment, despite the relatively high price. I'm not so sure. I think we're going to see a lot of price pressure put on games.
As regular Giant Bomb readers should probably already know, Mythic Entertainment's Paul Barnett has a knack for saying crazy and incendiary stuff, but despite starting off by saying that 2008 was “a year of disappointing big games; budgets too big, development too long, platforms underdeveloped, and expectations were too high,” he actually keeps it pretty civil. He notes the surge of higher-profile indie games like World of Goo as one of the year's high points, and more praise is heaped on GTA IV, though it's tempered by the fact that Barnett doesn't like GTA IV, but he respects it. For 2009, Barnett sees a shift away from the traditional retail model for video games, comparing it to the painful transition that the music industry has been kicking and screaming their way through for the past 10 years or so. Hopefully video-game publishers will be more proactive about that kind of sea change than the music labels have been.

Sometimes, you eat the bar, and sometimes, well...
Richard Garriott's perspective is, of course, slightly skewed by the fact that Tabula Rasa, his most recent game, has been dying a drawn-out and public death over the past few months, as well as the fact that the dude spent 12 days out of 2008's 365 in frickin' space. Still, ever the English nobleman, Garriott gives respect to Blizzard and their sustained ass-kickery with World of Warcraft, saying “They have shown all of us what good game development is all about.” After getting burned by sci-fi, it sounds like Lord British will be returning to his safe haven of medieval fantasy with his next project, though it'll still be an online product of some kind, as he feels that “there's something very powerful about getting people together.”

Spore creator Will Wright recognizes the 2008 trend of games that accessible to non-gamers, citing stuff like Guitar Hero, LittleBigPlanet, and the Wii. Ever the heady thinker, Wright sees online interaction in video games expanding beyond straight multiplayer in 2009 and heading more towards social networking, though hopefully that doesn't mean that PlayStation Home is a taste of things to come. His vision for the future is, unsurprisingly, ambitious and high-concept:
[Games] are going to be more fractal in nature; how you interact with the game will depend not only on what you play (360 vs mobile) but where you play. So, for example, a mobile game that interacts with a GPS (global positioning system) so that where you physically play the game in the real world will have a direct effect on the game you are playing.
That's an awful lot to insight to soak up, and considering how tumultuous 2009 is promising to be, I'll be curious to see how accurate/ridiculous these predictions will look this time next year.
Staff
Posted by Zergvasion

Good read, props to the BBC.
But Fatal1ty? Come on

Posted by floodiastus

If they are worried about the video game industry turning out the way the music biz has, they should: NOT CHARGE THE SAME PRICES FOR ONLINE SALES AS OFFLINE! (read STEAM)

Posted by PowerSerj

I'm looking forward to the continuing trend of robot-consoles. Lasers and such. What?

Posted by Rowr

omg fatality is such a wanker...

Posted by Geno

Wow Will Wright does not know the definition of "fractal".

Posted by bwooduhs

Vey intersting read indeed

Posted by McQuinn

Will Wright always blows your mind.  How long does it take him to come up with this stuff?

Posted by Dalai

Molyneux thought GTAIV was "tough to play?"  If anything, it's gotten easier.

And for the record, this may be the final year for those New Year glasses.  I don't see 2010 glasses working at all... too awkward.

Edited by JoshLarson

That Fatal1ty guy sure comes off as a creepy used car salesman in that BBC article. While the rest of the industry insiders were giving their honest impressions on 2008 and general predictions for 2009, Fatal1ty was only interested in pimping his headphones. All he accomplished was making me realize that I will never, ever buy anything he endorses no matter how good the product might be. Bravo Creative, with "spokesmen" like this who needs competitors?

Posted by John1912

GTA was too hard?  Dont think I ever heard that before. 

Posted by nidx

Actually he spent 12 of 2008's  366  days in outer space

wow that feels lame but I am a nerd I guess

Posted by Stevokenevo
@ edsone:

features like gps are already being used if im not mistaken with certain apps on the iphone.  Its not the technology that needs work, but making a convincing game that utilises gps in an attractive gameplay scenario that is the problem.

Anyone incredibly interested in this analytical stuff should check this book out.  As an architecture student its an interesting if not rather long read.
Posted by CoinMatze

Uhm has Peter Molyneux played some of his early games? I remember Populous und Syndicate being like ass-hard! Yeah, Theme Park and Dungeon Keeper weren't cakewalks either. Maybe it had something to do with my age back then but I doubt it.

Posted by giyanks22

Cool for the brits

Posted by CitizenKane
Posted by punkxblaze

Fatality is a douchebag, wow.

Hey guys, buy my shit :D.

Online
Posted by Media_Master

bla bla bla

Posted by Driadon

The last quote there, the one on the use of GPS systems in gaming, is what got me actually looking at the Gizmondo and their now defunct game Colors. I thought that use of technology that would break the fourth wall in an interesting way.