PAX Prime 2013: Peter Molyneux and the God Complex

Peter Molyneux has a reputation for grand ideas and ambition, which by now is a core part of his public identity. As a game designer, the concepts are always incredibly ambitious whether the title has a large budget such as the Fables series or a smaller financial scale like the recent Curiosity experiment by 22 Cans.

This year’s keynote at PAX Prime 2013 offered a hybrid of overarching career story and the first public demonstration of Molyneux’s upcoming Godus. A combination of quick world creation that resembles the upcoming Project Spark for the Xbox ONE and procedural AI citizens, Godus sits on top of a unique framework of universe rules as defined by the Curiosity experiment winner: for 6 months, he will be able to make small adjustments to how the world behaves. Paired with a percentage of the profits from Godus for that frame and an election structure at the 6 month mark, the game promises an intriguing balance between public appeal for political support and personal preferences which may be in conflict.

Godus is a low graphical fidelity, highly scalable and rapidly changing world of interconnected levels that influence each other in subtle ways. Each user not only has a butterfly effect-esque influence on the individual world (a slight deformation in a river bank can change the flow of a tide and eventually global weather patterns), but also potentially spread those changes to adjourning levels that combine to form a virtual overall world that rivals Jupiter in size.

It’s a high concept that 22 Cans may or may not be able to deliver, but the journey will be fascinating regardless of the outcome. Peter Molyneux delivered a keynote that mixed enthusiasm, experience and humour for an audience that is increasingly hungry for new and bold interactive experiences, a job that Molyneux is supremely qualified for and excited to deliver on.

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