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Peter Molyneux Talks Next-Gen Combat and Wii 57

An anonymous reader writes "Speaking at the Games Convention Developer Conference in Leipzig, Peter Molyneux gave attendees a sense of what he believes the future of combat in games will be like, some of which he is trying to get his team to include in Fable 2. He also showed videos of some prototypes based on his concepts. Later in his presentation, he responded to a user's question about Nintendo's Wii, saying that he's not sold on motion-sensing controllers."
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Peter Molyneux Talks Next-Gen Combat and Wii

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  • by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @12:05PM (#15956059) Journal
    Let's not forget who owns [] his studio. Methinks he may not be speaking freely.
    • by MindStalker ( 22827 ) <> on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @12:12PM (#15956119) Journal
      He has always shown to be a creative and innovative thinker, dispite who owns him. Either way I think his point that some games really arn't appropriate for motion sensing. You can't hamsting them all into such a control setting. Lucikly the classic control seems to be good enough that it can take over in these cases.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) *

      Methinks he may not be speaking freely.

      I think it's actually a bit more complicated than that. Obviously, Microsoft is a competitor to Nintendo. Which means that the employees (many of which worked very hard on bringing the 360 to life) are going to hold personal pride in that machine, even to some detriment of their objective judgement.

      Most likely, the environment at Microsoft is one of extreme pride toward the 360, and a general belief that the system is superior to all others. Being that Peter is now imm

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I think he's right, in all honesty. And there's nothing wrong with it.

      I think the Wii will have plenty of fun games, but they're not going to be like the 'traditional' video games. It'll be a blast to swing a sword at enemies. Can you imagine a fencing game? That'd be AMAZING fun! Or how about a gamewhere you're the conductor for an orchestra? I can see that being quite enjoyable. A baseball game would actually be FUN, instead of "Who can time the button presses better".

      But you know what? I can't fence for
      • Your lightgun example for the 1st person shooter is off. In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption which is 1st person and uses the Wiimote, the controller is not used as a lightgun. Instead it is used as a mouse with mouse look enabled like in all standard FPSes. As someone who hates the dual analog FPS setup in current games I see this as a very welcome change. Time will tell about how well this works though.
      • by eison ( 56778 )
        So what you're saying is, Dance Dance Revolution could never catch on, because people will get tired from all the physical activity?

        The market seems to have a different opinion.
        • by Anonymous Coward
          So what you're saying is, Dance Dance Revolution could never catch on, because people will get tired from all the physical activity?

          NO! He's saying that dance mats aren't a good replacement for the controls in every type of game. Read his comment again. Disagree by all means, but you shouldn't have been able to mangle the message that badly.
      • I disagree with your sentiment. You asked "how many games outside of arcade use lightguns" to which the obvious answer is basically "none" This is an unfair question though because rail shooters and first person shooters aren't the same thing. The reason why there are no FPS games that support lightguns is spread between the design and the economics of development.

        #1 every lightgun game that I know of is designed as a rail shooter, you don't (or have VERY limited) control the game. With that in mind a reg

      • by Scoth ( 879800 )
        I think my main concern with Wii (and, for that matter, more immersive stuff up to Holodeck-like things) is the learning curve. With, say, Legend of Zelda all I have to know to execute complex sword techniques is how to press a button, perhaps holding it for awhile or combining with another button or stick move. Assuming 100% unassisted mode with a Wiimote or other controller, I'd then have to learn swordfighting to stand a chance since I'd have taken over the sword itself. Likewise with sports games - rath
  • Bushido Blade, now there was a fighting game with "Sharp" weapons: one hit kills, perry and dodges, feints, etc.

    The environment wasn't very interactive, but it was also a PS1 game.
    • by Miniluv ( 165290 )
      Glad to see I'm not the only person who thought that game rocked hard. I've been dying for a refresh of it for either 360 or PS3. Wii might be cool if they found a good way to use the controller to emulate actual sword play.
      • Best way to play Bushido Blade is to get a couple of kendo sticks [] and go at it with your opponent. It'd be great if the Wii let you battle someone across the counrty, though I doubt the response time would be great without a very low ping.

        Think of it. You battle your brother in law for who gets to/has to host Thanksgiving that year. The one who wins, is the one who kept his head! Just don't let Jack Thompson get ahold of this.

    • Yeah, Bushido Blade was great, one of the most "real" feeling combat systems in a fighting game. I particularly liked how you could deliver a non-lethal blow to legs or arms that would leave them crippled. Especially when they could no longer stand, and could only flail about them with their weapon. Putting them out of their misery was so satisfying! Also, due to the lethality of the weapons, it made fights feel very strategic, all about positioning and creating openings. Lots of fun.

      That game needed a
      • Sounds a lot better than the "Press the buttons as fast as possible" or "Memorize 16 button combos" type fighting games we are used to. It would be nice to have a different kind of fighting game.
    • That was an awesome game. I wish more games would implement the "where you hit the person makes a difference" factor as well (or even better) as Bushido Blade. I loved the fact that you could throw a knife into someone's head at the start of the match and kill them, but if you only kept hitting the person in the arms or legs it didn't do a whole lot of damage.
    • by Kiffer ( 206134 )
      I loved Bushido Blade, I remember playing it at a Gaming convention in UCD, using the projector in a lecture hall, the characters were huge... and we stood on top of the second or thrid row desks... because after an hour of playing sitting down your neck was really sore...

      The weapons were great, at one point we picked the two weakest characters and the two heaviest hammers, after what must have been an hour long fight neither character could stand or had enough strenght to land a killing blow on the other.
    • I can't see the fast paced parry/strike/parry of sword combat really working unless the game comes with a 3 pound Gyroscope attachment to the Wiimote for collision simulation. Sword fighting at NextGen prices that isnt even as good as using sticks with a "not-in-the-face" rule just dosn't sound like fun to me...
  • Off-key (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @12:17PM (#15956155) Journal
    FTA, Molyneaux:
    "I realized, when I looked at myself in the mirror, I actually looked really stupid." Molyneux continued, concerned with the controls causing fatigue, "Even with nothing in my hand, I get tired very, very quickly."

    I'm not gonna touch the obvious joke about pr0n here.

    But if I've learned anything while playing videogames with friends over the decades, it's that people often look like idiots while playing, and it doesn't lessen their enjoyment.

    And if I've learned anything about repetitive physical exercise, it's that the more often you do it, the less tiring it becomes... you know, cardiovascular and muscular conditioning?

    Molyneaux works for MS. And while some of his past work has been great, I think he's a bit ff-key and I of course, as others have pointed out, have to question his motives.
    • by MojoBox ( 985651 )
      what exactly looks cool about playing videogames anyways? If anything the typical person playing games looks vaguely catatonic.

      As for Molyneaux, I could give a rats ass. B&W2 blew, Fable sucked, B&W had some neat ideas but was ultimately just dull. Why exactly is it this guy get's fawned over?
      • by Aaul ( 695153 )

        I think it's mostly because of his past with Bullfrog. Syndicate, Syndicate Wars, Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper, Populous. Molyneaux was the designer of Bullfrog's games, and they are arguably some of the better (if not best) games created during the MS-DOS era of gaming. I know Dungeon Keeper was one of my favorites, and Syndicate Wars was pretty damn cool, too. After Bullfrog died and he founded Lionhead, and after the huge disappointment (for me, anyway) of Black & White, I stopped following their games

      • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) *

        the typical person playing games looks vaguely catatonic.

        I have a similar reaction to people walking down the street while talking on a cell phone. They always remind me of something out of a George Romero movie, particularly if there is a whole crowd of them.

        Maybe I wouldn't have such a negative reaction if any of them was actually talking about anything that was important enough to warrant an email, much less a phone call.


    • by RyoShin ( 610051 )

      And if I've learned anything about repetitive physical exercise, it's that the more often you do it, the less tiring it becomes... you know, cardiovascular and muscular conditioning?

      Something else to mention is that a lot of these games will have you standing up now and then, just because you either need to for an action (like in certain WarioWare minigames), or because you're getting into what you're doing on screen.

      It's been stated time and again (including articles on Slashdot) that you become tired more

  • I RTFA... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wampus Aurelius ( 627669 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @12:19PM (#15956174)
    To demonstrate these ideas, Molyneux showed off two test sequences -- one on a staircase and one in a bar. Though these featured characters from Fable, Molyneux insists this was just done to save time and these are not tests for Fable 2.


    Towards the end of Molyneux's talk, he made it clear that this panel was not a thinly veiled way of promoting the combat in one of his company's upcoming games, though these are naturally ideas he and his team are considering. "A lot of what I've talked about here will never make it into any game, but maybe some of it will," he said. We expect to see Fable 2 at Microsoft's X06 event next month, and we'll be on the lookout to see how much, if any, of the ideas in today's talk make it into that game.

    It doesn't sound to me like he's saying anything about what is going into Fable 2. Rather, the author seems to be trying to mention Fable 2 as much as he can, despite the panel not having any information at all about the game. This was simply a talk from Molyneux about what would be cool to incorporate into a game, not what is feasible or what will go into any games he might be designing.
    • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
      Molyneaux never talks about his games, only ideas he had. Usually he presents those ideas as if they were already implemented and all but they rarely make it into the final product.
  • Seriously, who cares what he has to say about motion-sensing controls? Aside from the fact that MS writes his checks and he is obviously out of shape, I have a hard time caring what he thinks.
  • Pretty gimmicky (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @12:24PM (#15956212) Journal
    If I believed for a moment that the enviroment might be fully usable as shown, then this might at least make it to "interesting". But historically speaking, there will only be a set of motions that are "acceptable" and a whole series of other things the game won't understand, and setting up an environment won't be a matter of putting a table here and four chairs there, but fully specifying everything the player can do, which makes for a smaller environment because the developers have to do a lot of work per area.

    I base this on history: The canonical example in my mind is the megazoom in Black and White from an apple with a worm in it out to the full island view. Cute, but in-game, there was nothing else with the level of detail of that worm, other than that apple. The video, hyped as a promise of things to come, was actually the complete set of cool actions you could take. Molyneux seems to keep giving us that.

    Honestly, combat is the one thing that modern action-based video games do tolerably well at; it's the other aspects of the game I'd like to see improved first. (Note that I really do mean "tolerably well"; it's not perfect, but the fact that it has been the primary focus of gaming for nigh unto these many years shows, and the near-complete lack of attention paid to anything else but graphics also shows.)
    • by Sparr0 ( 451780 )
      HL2 made steps in the right direction to solve that problem. It mostly followed the "do this, do that" paradigm we have been stuck in for a couple of decades, but a few areas really were somewhat freeform. "Here, you've got a room full of stuff. Use it somehow to get to that ledge." Narbacular Drop showed similar promise with the idea of using the portals to move objects around and let boulders interact with the environment in a planned-by-you way.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @12:28PM (#15956240)
    "I realized, when I looked at myself in the mirror, I actually looked really stupid." - Peter Molyneux

    Don't you just love quotes taken out of context?
  • I havent seen much innovation come to games in a long while. For the past 5-10 years all I have seen in games is increased graphics quality, which is *supposed* to improve realism, without increased content or gameplay. What happened to Alpha Centauri, Fallout, Tribes, Carmageddon, Exile, Zork, etc etc. Their descendants are utterly uninteresting. Prerendering ultrahigh pixelcount images of fixed paths that people can take, and canning combat such that instaheal potions are the norm have led to a bunch of p
    • by kfg ( 145172 ) *
      . . .a reasonable gamer needs to increase the difficulty to Ultra-Hard before he dies once in the campaign.

      Dying is a negative concept, reenforcing the idea that the gamer has "failed," which some might find disturbing.

      We prefer the term "value added rebirth."

    • I agree; people should be developing games with new gameplay concepts, and forgetting about improving the graphics any further for a while. As for doing a realistic spaceflight sim, see Orbiter []. I've looked into Sierra's "Outpost" games, which were meant to be fairly realistic space-exploitation sims but got panned as horribly flawed. How about an RPG based on Kim Robinson's Red Mars, or an action/adventure version of David Brin's Startide Rising using the engine from the Dreamcast game Ecco the Dolphin? A
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @01:11PM (#15956617) Journal
    Yeah yeah, fable. I played it Peter and it wasn't good. Oh it worked and all and wasn't too bugged and nowadays I suppose that accounts for something but in the end what you produced was a rather mediocre RPG light with a confused style (was it comedy or drama?) and a lot of stuff tacked on that never played out the way it was supposed too.

    The fighing especially was a horror. Every single weapon handled exactly the same making no difference except for the stats.

    So talk all about how fighting in games is going to be in the future but when your own game is a throwback to the 1980 were the only difference between types of blades is their stats then don't expect me too be too impressed.

    Yes better fighting would be much appreciated but don't talk about it, do it. He already talked enough about what Fable was going to be like. Why are we still listening to him doing it all over again with Fable 2?

    It ain't the first time. Remember Dungeon Keeper? Remember Black & White. Both games wich in their first incarnation were more hype then delivery. Both times admitted by the guy and both times the press drooled all over it and then the sequel only barely admitting that their drooling over the original was a bit too much. I for one am not going to be fooled anymore.

    The gaming press just can't be relied upon to be objective when it comes to this guy. With 3 games so far that completly failed to live up to the hype why is this guy still hailed as some kind of gamer god?

    • I will be the first to admit that Fable wasn't the game it was touted to be. But, if one takes the game solely for what was in it, and ignore the hype, I thought it was rather good. It may not have had the best main quest, or have been the longest game, but it had character. That was a game where I could sit down for an hour, pillage towns, have sex with wives and generally just cause general mayhem and have fun with it. It was the statistics that kept track of your farthest chicken punt, how many beers you

      • I totally agree. I heard abit hear and there about fable on xbox never took any notice really, then one day i played it on PC and i thought it was pretty dam good. Just one of those types of games that's been absent for too long! as i love good fantasy games that arn't stuck in corridors going around shooting anything that moves (usual FPS) If you check out the credits for fable the devlopment team is friggin small! compared to most game devs that in itself impresses me. Some ppl like the OP gets sucked
  • Molyneux may not like the Wiimote, but I have to admit I'd rate Miyamoto's opinions on what makes a good game higher than Molyneux's. Especially after Molyneux's more recent, interesting-idea-let-down-by-bugs-and-rushed-execu tion titles.

    Totally OT, but I once ran into Peter Molyneux at an E3 party in Atlanta. He was wandering around with a drink in his hand, looking annoyed because nobody wanted to talk to him. Kind of amusing to watch.
  • I bought B&W and played Fable for a bit. All I can say is that I'm simply not interested anymore. I learned my lesson when I shelled out hard earned money for a poorly implemented concept. He's fairly innovative, but he seems incapable of delivering.
  • All the great ideas in the world are good for nothing if you can't deliver. For example, I have this brilliant idea for an infinite energy device! I don't want to say too much in case I can't get it to work, but I will say it involves magnets.
  • Considering Molyneux's past record in... well... every aspect of game design, let me be the first to say: "Hooray! The Wii will be awesome!"
  • The best implementations of context-sensitive actions have NEVER been built around the environment, but rather focused on the enemies being fought. Zelda: Wind Waker does this with a big shiny A is for Counter button. Kindom Hearts 2 uses triangle as a more general-purpose "action" button (which is only unique by being separate from the dedicated "Smack things" button) but the majority of battle actions are relative to either the environment, or more usually the enemies, but never really both. Trying to co

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