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Microsoft Businesses Games

Peter Molyneux: Working For Microsoft Is Like Taking Antidepressants 164

SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "Peter Molyneux is one of the most famous personalities in the history of gaming, especially recognized for having created God games Dungeon Keeper, Populous, Black & White, but also the Fable series. After creating the Fable series, Molyneux announced in March 2012 that he will be leaving Lionhead and Microsoft to start another company – 22Cans. During a recent interview, the former Microsoft employee has shared some interesting details regarding the time when he was working over at Redmond. Here's the excerpt from his interview: 'I left Microsoft because I think when you have the ability to be a creative person, you have to take that seriously, and you have to push yourself. And pushing yourself is a lot easier to do if you're in a life raft that has a big hole in the side, and that's what I think indie development is. You're paddling desperately to get where you want to go to, but you're also bailing out. Whereas if you're in a big supertanker of safety, which Microsoft was, then that safety is like an anesthetic. It's like taking antidepressants. The world just feels too comfortable.'"
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Peter Molyneux: Working For Microsoft Is Like Taking Antidepressants

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  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @05:32PM (#46587957) Homepage Journal

    the antidepressant myth, jerk.

  • by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @05:40PM (#46588065)

    It's like taking antidepressants.

    Peter Molyneux has probably never taken antidepressants in his life or he would not say this. Antidepressants don't make the "world just feels too comfortable". They make the world feel survivable.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @05:45PM (#46588097) Homepage Journal

    Trust me on this one, folks...

  • by The123king ( 2395060 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @05:51PM (#46588149)
    In my experience they make the world feel survivable even when you know everything is going to shit. Seems to sum up Microsoft pretty well.
  • Antidepressants... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by raydobbs ( 99133 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @06:06PM (#46588259) Homepage Journal

    I don't know about working at Microsoft being like being on antidepressants (never worked for them, don't think I'd want to), but I know that whenever I hear him talk about his next greatest game - I want to TAKE antidepressants as I know none of the shit he talks about will actually make it into the game at 1/100th the grandeur he describes. Can we say 'Master of the over-sell and the under-deliver'?

  • by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @06:11PM (#46588299)

    Indies don't usually have yes men, or more correctly: We're close enough to the programmers that they can laugh in our faces and tell us what zany ideas AREN'T POSSIBLE given the game's canvas -- the technology itself. A good designer can make amazing stuff happen in limited mediums -- They can make the most of what actually is in the engine, rather than banking on that which requires a complete rewrite.

    Now the crazy thing is that when some insane idea drifts my way either from my own mind or while I'm being part of the idea reactor for the team, I may actually think on it over night and figure out how to pull it off. However, being an implementor means it's my job to say "NO!" not "Yes, but...". "Yes, but... It'll mean taking 8 times more time or money than we have." "Maybe but... we'll have to try out 20 different implementations to figure out if the feature is workable and meanwhile the other devs and content makers will be waiting to see if its possible, or they may wind up scrapping assets if not." -- Give 'em the TL;DR: "No!"

    You get maybe ONE of those "That might be doable" per game, maybe TWO if you're helping make the implementation happen, and have an idea of how to pull it off. Maybe a few more if time or money or a playable release isn't important to you. It's important to try new things, especially for innovation; However, you can innovate yourself right out the other side of, "Yes, but...", into, "Oh it might be possible, but the release schedule better include relocating the asset repo before the sun explodes", and only takes one really bad, "Yes", to make that happen. The bigger the behemoth under you the more wonderful are things that seem they might just be crazy enough to work. This is always folly due to the planning fallacy. [] No game is ever finished (we just have to stop adding features and polishing at some point), so if you didn't hear or say enough "NO" then you'll be bound to have game designers making wonderful statements which seemed wholly plausible at the outset or individually, but are not actually executable as a whole. You wind up with a game suffering from amputations instead of leveraging what was possible to its fullest. You start to sound just like Peter Molyneux.

    Sometimes it's not the designer's fault that their plans were just too crazy enough NOT to work out. And, sometimes they just push the hype-drive beyond warp 13. The public really can't tell the difference, but you can help prevent the former by learning when to say, "NO!" Saying, "NO", can leave the door open for a better "Yes!". Smaller guys say more "No", and less "Yes". Indies can't afford to entertain as many pie-in-the-sky prosaic Prozac delusions. Great ideas are a dime a dozen, it's really the execution that matters...

  • by AudioEfex ( 637163 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @06:23PM (#46588401)

    Yeah, I knew there would be offended folks right away when I clicked on comments - and look, it was the first one. Great reply, though.

    Don't apologize for the "rant" - you actually explained it perfectly. It's exactly what Molyneux was trying to express - you cannot take away the downs without also affecting the "ups".

    For some people, like those that cannot function properly in life because of the "lows", it's worth it or is beneficial even in some cases to limit the "ups" as well. For others, who may feel that dynamic emotions are an important part of life, it may not be worth it.

    I think there is also the "over-diagnosed" factor which is what makes some people so dismissive of it in general that other folks get highly defensive over it - just like ADHD, etc. There really is nothing offensive or inaccurate about his comment. Of course there are people who have these things, and severe enough that medication is beneficial. There also comes a point when so many people are being medicated for something that it's hard to argue that we may be not properly judging what is "balanced" when it turns out almost as many folks are diagnosed as "unbalanced" as we deem "balanced" - as in, when we start medicating for the "norm" versus the "exceptional".

    But that's another topic, really - the point is, the guy made an analogy and it filled the point of an analogy - it gave me an instantly clear understanding of exactly what idea he was trying to express.

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @07:13PM (#46588743)

    at this point, I'd take working for MS over not working at all.

    (yes, out of work and not able to find any; and THAT is truly depressing)

  • by SCPaPaJoe ( 767952 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @08:38PM (#46589281)
    Paxil saved my life. I took it for about 18 months. It allowed me time to learn to deal with my issues. That was 10 years ago. I gradually grew to not need it. Don't let anyone tell you different, for some peoples, antidepressants are a huge factor in the quality of their lives.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas