Ambitious goals

Black and White 2 screenshotIn an attempt to take full advantage of my ten megabits per second of bandwidth in college, I’ve been taking a look around at videos, in particular an interview with Peter Molyneux at GDC 2005. In this interview he says that he wants to “totally redefine the way we think of an RTS game” and claims his team is set to deliver “the best RTS game that has ever existed. Full stop”.

Two things strike me about this. The first thing is admiration at the sheer passion this guy seems to have about his games: not the overly showmanlike/stupid Ballmer-style passion which we all know and mock, but something much more profound. The second thing, I have to admit, is questioning whether or not Lionhead can pull it off. The original Black & White, inventive though it was, had some very severe failings (it got a bit boring after playing with your creature and teaching him not to eat his own faeces, and much of the voice acting was really atrocious) and I’m not entirely confident that Molyneux et al will be able to avoid that this time.

This seems to some extent to be a curse of Molyneux: that of having amazingly grand ambitions, but not being able to fully realise them and ending up with a product that, while good, leaves you thinking how it could have been better. This condition has also apparently spread to his former protégé, Demis Hassabis: his games (Republic and Evil Genius) have been respectively distinctly mediocre and entertaining, but faulted. I just find that these games give me the impression that they could have been so much more. I hope Black & White 2 will not.

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