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.
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.