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Peter Molyneux says RPG games are rubbish

Peter Molyneux says RPG games are rubbish

Peter Molyneux reckons that the one-button combat system for Fable 2 is perfect for casual and hardcore gamers alike.

Peter Molyneux is a man who knows how to smack-talk. Hell, he’s a man who knows how to talk full stop and the legendary designer, who is occasionally pointed to as one of the last great UK developers, has a history of making grandiose promises about his games. Promises he mostly can’t live up to.

Of course, that’s not a bad thing – the man obviously has a boundless passion and enthusiasm for his games and the fact that resources occasionally hold him back is inevitable. Still, he may have gone a bit too far recently.

In a recent interview, Molyneux attacked the entire RPG genre when talking about the controversial new one-button combat in Fable 2, his latest game.

Combat in Fable 2 will involve only a single button – no directions, no mouse, no nothing. The button is context-sensitive and responds only to the timing of the button presses. A well timed press will smash an opponent into a wall and another press will follow up with a sword slash, a second later and the same sequence may cause the character to stumble and fall over.

“It's amazing for a role playing game, because most role playing games are shit! Oblivion was a great game, but the combat was rubbish; we all talked about it being rubbish. So imagine you had a great role-playing game and really, really good combat system.”

Hm. We’d like to see you say that to the face of either Bethesda or Bioware, eh Peter?

What’s your favourite RPG game of all time? What’s your favourite game genre? Answers in the forums, please.

49 Comments

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whisperwolf 8th August 2007, 12:13 Quote
Well that gave me a laugh, the creator of Fable, one of my least enjoyed RPG, saying RPG's are rubbish, and then apparently turning Fable 2 in to dragon's lair, well it will be nostalgia trip I suppose
DougEdey 8th August 2007, 12:15 Quote
The combat system is actually more to do with the music and the environment,
Morphine-Kitty 8th August 2007, 12:15 Quote
The combat system in Oblivion was excellent, I found it quite intuitive.

I laugh at puny Fable. Fable, the "Morrowind killer". Has he called this one the "Oblivion killer" yet?
Paradigm Shifter 8th August 2007, 12:23 Quote
Them's fightin' words, boyo. :)

But, ah, aren't blanket statements wonderful things?

I will admit that there are a lot of RPGs out there that have... decidedly non-intuitive combat systems, but there are some out there that have truly inspired ways of managing something that is so complex in reality that distilling it down into keyboard and mouse or controller manipulation is a feat in and of itself.
naokaji 8th August 2007, 12:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morphine-Kitty
The combat system in Oblivion was excellent

100% agree
Bauul 8th August 2007, 12:33 Quote
Wasn't the combat system in Oblivion essentially one button? The Left Mouse one. If done well, the one button approach could work very well, but people have been attempting to do it well for years, and no-one's ever managed.

I think Molyneux should give up now and go make Dungeon Keeper 3.
CardJoe 8th August 2007, 12:54 Quote
Nope, Oblivion was two button with directional variants and power-moves, all of which upgraded as your character leveled. Essentially that means you could block and you could do special moves and you do different types of attacks by moving as you attacked. Fable 2 isn't that. It's *just* one button. All character movement in combat is done for you, whilst all blocking and attacking is done on the X button.

I personally didn't think Oblivion was that great. It was ok, but not really fantastic. Then again, I'm biased as all I needed to do was run backwards whilst shooting arrows. Archer Cheesecake!

Fable 1 had good combat. Why they are changing it is beyond me.
CountStiltzkin 8th August 2007, 12:56 Quote
Well, Molyneux's absolutely right - Oblivion is easily one of the best RPGs out there, but the combat is diabolical - it's completely weightless, and never really exciting - especially when compared to something like Dark Messiah that, although arguably an average game (or not an RPG at all), it does offer something new in melee combat: at most it's exciting, at least it's visually satisfying.

I'm a huge fan of both Oblivion and Fable, but Molyneux's the one with something to prove not the other way round (cheeky chap does like to embellish a lot :)).
fwalm 8th August 2007, 13:04 Quote
The reason fable is better is that you get dog that reacts to waht is happening. It will like you or hate you. You could go ride someone, have a kid, and you have to feed them or eb ansty and sit in front of them and laugh while you stuff your face and they dont get any food. The fact that the combat is going to rule, if you have saw the video you would understand better than just his statement, shows what he means completely and how anyone can pick up and play.
Ramble 8th August 2007, 13:14 Quote
And what was the last successful game he made?
CountStiltzkin 8th August 2007, 13:43 Quote
Well, in terms of successful sales and in terms of making a successful game probably Fable in both cases.
CardJoe 8th August 2007, 13:48 Quote
Molyneux made loads of essential games - Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper 1 and 2, Black and White 1 and 2, Fable, Theme Hospital etc.

@Fwalm - I've seen the video. The gameplay looked great and the combat was exciting. And then you realise that somebody is doing that by just tapping the same button over and over without really thinking or knowing the outcome for sure. Seemed kind of pointless to me.

And yes, Dark Messiah had awesome combat. It relied a lot on set-pieces and physics traps, but it was awesome combat nonetheless.
[USRF]Obiwan 8th August 2007, 13:50 Quote
FTL Dungeon Master.

That was the best rpg ever
fwalm 8th August 2007, 13:56 Quote
CARDJOE- I understand what you mean however it can require skill if you want it to or it can be a button bashing. That is the point of it being a single button.
Veles 8th August 2007, 14:37 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by naokaji
100% agree

No, it was better than Morrowind's, but it still wasn't great, if you want to see a good first person melee combat system, look at Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, that blows Oblivion out of the water.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwalm
CARDJOE- I understand what you mean however it can require skill if you want it to or it can be a button bashing. That is the point of it being a single button.

Yep, that's why he's saying it's for hardcore and casual gamers, a casual gamer can just button mash, whereas a hardcore gamer will learn when pressing the attack button at a certain time will cause a certain action. I think this combat system could be incredibly awesome and lead to some cool looking fights, or it could just end up a bit meh, I'm hoping it's going to be awesome and it looks like it will be.
CardJoe 8th August 2007, 15:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles

Yep, that's why he's saying it's for hardcore and casual gamers, a casual gamer can just button mash, whereas a hardcore gamer will learn when pressing the attack button at a certain time will cause a certain action. I think this combat system could be incredibly awesome and lead to some cool looking fights, or it could just end up a bit meh, I'm hoping it's going to be awesome and it looks like it will be.

QFT - we'll end up with great looking fights which don't involve the player at all. Press the X button now. Press the X button now. Press the X button now. Press the...

I think if they are going to tackle it in this manner, they'd be better suited to doing it like Fahrenheit - use all four buttons and try to match the on-screen prompts. But slow it down. Each missed button would give the opponent a chance to get a hit in, each sequence completed would mean the player gets a hit off. Would be frentic enough for the hardcore (and involving) whilst casual gamers would find it fun (Dance, Dance revolution style). In fact, it's just the current style but expanded for all four buttons.
naokaji 8th August 2007, 15:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
No, it was better than Morrowind's, but it still wasn't great, if you want to see a good first person melee combat system, look at Dark Messiah of Might and Magic, that blows Oblivion out of the water.

thx for the hint.. ordered it
Hells_Bliss 8th August 2007, 15:32 Quote
i want some of what that molineaux dude is smoking, ya know just so i can be pretentious, arogant, holier-than-thou, *****. That'd be sweet. +1 for the brown-nosers! :P

Obviously, he hasn't played the fallout series if he thinks RPGs are dead, obviously he hasn't seen the games installed on my computer (70% rpgs)


...isometric view ftwin
simosaurus 8th August 2007, 16:42 Quote
i cant really be bothered to say much else other than "publicity stunt"
Bauul 8th August 2007, 17:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
QFT - we'll end up with great looking fights which don't involve the player at all. Press the X button now. Press the X button now. Press the X button now. Press the...

I think if they are going to tackle it in this manner, they'd be better suited to doing it like Fahrenheit - use all four buttons and try to match the on-screen prompts. But slow it down. Each missed button would give the opponent a chance to get a hit in, each sequence completed would mean the player gets a hit off. Would be frentic enough for the hardcore (and involving) whilst casual gamers would find it fun (Dance, Dance revolution style). In fact, it's just the current style but expanded for all four buttons.

Any opportunity to pimp Fahrenheit....

Seriously though, you're right, what's hardcore about simply timing stuff well? I didn't realise it was THAT simple. How could anyone possibly develop anything remotely resembling a personal fighting style when all you can do is time stuff well... or not time stuff well. Do you even have any choice over what happens?
fwalm 8th August 2007, 17:22 Quote
Yep there is away to control waht your doing, i think its something to do witht the analogue sticks as you can do different things. You need to see the Fable 2 Video Diary 2 as it gives a more depth into it. i'm sure theres a video on the internet somewere.
BoomAM 8th August 2007, 17:29 Quote
Havnt read the whole thread, but i thought the new headline was wrongly titled.
He critisises RPG combat, not RPG games.
Which in all fairness, is mostly correct.
CardJoe 8th August 2007, 17:37 Quote
http://www.joystiq.com/2007/07/31/dear-diary-lionhead-video-diary-talks-one-button-combat/

That's the video. And like I said, it looks good, but you are *still* only pressing one button. I can't see any directions used to do anything other than move closer to an enemy. So directions IMO aren't part of the combat but are part of the movement. Pressing X and left won't, from what I've seen, do anything different to pressing X and right.
Techno-Dann 8th August 2007, 17:58 Quote
Only one button to fight? booooring...

While timing being important does sound like a rather good idea, just having a single combat button takes away all the tactics and skill - the game is no longer good for us hard-core gamers who like having to worry about a solid dozen different combat keys doing a dozen different things. While it might be better for casual gamers, I'd much rather have something more hard-core.
Tyinsar 8th August 2007, 17:59 Quote
While I greatly dislike the console fighting game combos (x, ^, r1, rotate stick, l2, o, stand on your head,...) this is a little too simple for me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by whisperwolf
Well that gave me a laugh, the creater of Fable, one of my least enjoyed RPG, saying RPG's are rubbish, and then apperently turning Fable 2 in to dragon's lair, well it will be nostala trip i suppose
:)
Quote:
Originally Posted by simosaurus
i cant really be bothered to say much else other than "publicity stunt"
;)

Edit: I don't think there is any one "best way". Look at games in general. In almost any genre there are some that focus on extreme realism and some that are incredibly "arcadey" and many that mix the two. Different people want different games and most of us enjoy a bit of both types.
Ramble 8th August 2007, 18:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Molyneux made loads of essential games - Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper 1 and 2, Black and White 1 and 2, Fable, Theme Hospital etc.

I know, and all of them are like 5+ years old. And the ones I've played were not fantastically good either.
mattthegamer463 8th August 2007, 18:51 Quote
Wow, I dislike fable even more now. Except the part about getting women pregnant. Thats as funny as ever.

I loved oblivions combat system, and Dark Messiah was so much better I agree. This guy doesn't know what hes talking about.
Veles 8th August 2007, 18:58 Quote
I think we'll just have to see how this one turns out, I think we have more control over the combat than everyone is making out, movement is still controlled by you (I think), and it won't be just a case of push button now for mega combo, you'll still need to force your opponent up to a wall before you can smash his head into it. I think to do really well in Fable's combat it might need quite a bit more skill than we're thinking.

But then again, it could turn out ****, but it can't be worse than Fable 1's combat system, that was basically one button combat.
wafflesomd 8th August 2007, 19:02 Quote
I beat fable in 6 hours, the day I got it.

What an amazing game.....
pendragon 8th August 2007, 19:38 Quote
this (Fable 2 combat) sounds pretty lame .. I think I'll pass on that, thanks.
cjmUK 8th August 2007, 19:44 Quote
I'm afraid, I'm going to have to go against my usual trend of disagreeing with Joe. I think this one button idea is dreadful. There is no reason why a game couldn't have simplified combat for novices, but a one-button combat system doesn't sound good at all.

But as ever, I'll reserve judgement until if seen some in-depth reviews.

[Oh, and am I the only one who didn't like DM of MM? Linear.]
Hells_Bliss 8th August 2007, 20:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjmUK
I'm afraid, I'm going to have to go against my usual trend of disagreeing with Joe. I think this one button idea is dreadful. There is no reason why a game couldn't have simplified combat for novices, but a one-button combat system doesn't sound good at all.

But as ever, I'll reserve judgement until if seen some in-depth reviews.

[Oh, and am I the only one who didn't like DM of MM? Linear.]

galaga redux! woot! 1980s games combat style ftw
Neogumbercules 8th August 2007, 20:35 Quote
Just watched that video. It didn't even look like combat to me. It looks like you're just running around and pressing X to activate pre-scripted combat animations with some rag doll tomfoolery thrown in at the end for visual flair.
Bl4ckM0onk3y 8th August 2007, 22:01 Quote
the Black & White 1 was original but not playable i didn't last more then 30 minutes with that game, the B&W 2 was also trashed after 20min. Fable hold me about 10-15 minutes . So i like P.M's new ideas but the games he makes are not acceptable for me. Clive Barker on the other hand
mattthegamer463 8th August 2007, 23:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjmUK
[Oh, and am I the only one who didn't like DM of MM? Linear.]

Dude, roller coasters are on rails too, do you think those aren't fun?

How was it linear? You could skip stuff, no do this, do optional that, multiple (but nearly identical) endings. Its no oblivion, but it definitely wasn't forcing and blatantly linear.
cjmUK 9th August 2007, 01:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattthegamer463
Dude, roller coasters are on rails too, do you think those aren't fun?

How was it linear? You could skip stuff, no do this, do optional that, multiple (but nearly identical) endings. Its no oblivion, but it definitely wasn't forcing and blatantly linear.

Er... 'Dude'... I didn't get that far through it so it may have improved, but what I did see what linear. Slight variations were possible, but it was still linear. It was certainly more a FPS and not an RPG.

I know plenty of people liked it. I didn't.
mattthegamer463 9th August 2007, 02:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjmUK
Er... 'Dude'... I didn't get that far through it so it may have improved, but what I did see what linear. Slight variations were possible, but it was still linear. It was certainly more a FPS and not an RPG.

I know plenty of people liked it. I didn't.

You really should play the whole thing, even if you need to cheat a bit. Its great fun hacking up people with a katana at the end.

I agree, it had RPG elements, but it was a FPS at heart. Oblivion is a RPG that does the FPS thing as well. Combining the two would create an incredible game though.
evox 9th August 2007, 07:35 Quote
Most RPGs are ****? i hope you're not excluding your POS Creation known as Fable, it was a cruel joke at best.
cebla 9th August 2007, 07:36 Quote
Did anyone ever play Star Fox Adventures on Gamecube? That was pretty much one button combat with directions and I found it quite boring although it did look cool. I think that one button combat with no directions would be pretty crap.
Tyinsar 9th August 2007, 09:26 Quote
Quote:
Peter Molyneux says his RPG games are rubbish
fixed :D

(though my previous comment was better)
fwalm 9th August 2007, 09:48 Quote
You do realise he admitted fable was crap and it could have been so much better.
completemadness 10th August 2007, 04:01 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by CardJoe
Molyneux made loads of essential games - Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper 1 and 2, Black and White 1 and 2, Fable, Theme Hospital etc.
In order
Rubbish, good, good, good, rubbish, don't know, great

Funny that the newest game out of that lot is B&W2 and that was pants compared to B&W1 - a real step backwards
Journeyer 10th August 2007, 08:43 Quote
I found Fable: The lost Chapters to be quite enjoyable. Way too easy though as I plowed through it in about 6 hours. However, stating that Oblivion, one of my definite all-time favorite, is rubbish I think is something of an atrocious exaggeration. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and as such I can't help but think the one-button system described for Fable 2 sounds appalling and I can't quite see how this system will cater to both beginners and hardcore gamers. Maybe it's me though. ;)
Paradigm Shifter 10th August 2007, 11:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwalm
You do realise he admitted fable was crap and it could have been so much better.

So he wants to make the sequel 'better' by dumbing it down even more? :|
fwalm 10th August 2007, 11:55 Quote
He may be making the combat not to everyones liking but it is going to be as good as the first one if not better, the game on a hole though is going to be far superior as you can interact more, more to do, you cana ctually properly have kids and look after them or not, and do many other things the combat system however might not be a great improvement I just think in my opinion. Which everyone is intitled to that it will be better.
CardJoe 10th August 2007, 12:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwalm
He may be making the combat not to everyones liking but it is going to be as good as the first one if not better, the game on a hole though is going to be far superior as you can interact more, more to do, you cana ctually properly have kids and look after them or not, and do many other things the combat system however might not be a great improvement I just think in my opinion. Which everyone is intitled to that it will be better.

Yeah? You've had hands-on time with the game then? ;)
Veles 10th August 2007, 14:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paradigm Shifter
So he wants to make the sequel 'better' by dumbing it down even more? :|

It's hardly dumbing it down is it, Fable essentially had a one button combat button. Same with Oblivion really, yes you have block too but the majority of the time I just dodged my opponents unless I wanted to have a fight that looked cool. Morrowind and Oblivion's combat basically entailed running up to someone, and furiously clicking the LMB until one of you died, if you made yourself an overpowered enchanted item then all it required was a single click on the majority of enemies. Yes, the option to do more than that was there, but it was hardly ever used. I think Molly (his name is far too complicated for my tiny brain to spell) saw that this kind of thing was happening, and probably thought, what's the point in adding in a complicated combat system if all everyone is going to do eventually is resort to using the basic attack over and over because it's easier? I'm going to make a combat system where the basic attack is the only one available, but the basic attack would be situational, making the battles a lot more interesting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
In order
Rubbish, good, good, good, rubbish, don't know, great

Theme Park is rubbish?
completemadness 10th August 2007, 16:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
Theme Park is rubbish?
I never enjoyed it, maybe i was crap at it, maybe i didn't understand it

Either way, i didn't like the game, and even when i tried theme park world a few years later, i still hated it
I tried rollercoaster tycoon as well, but didn't like that either - so i don't think i like the whole theme park genre
Tyinsar 10th August 2007, 17:44 Quote
I've been playing a little MMORPG called Guild Wars (RPG since I only play PvE not PvP) and I can't imagine it as one button. The 8 skills at a time thing feels like a real limitation at first but half of the game is selecting those 8 skills and changing them as the quest requires. There is no reasonable way to simplify that to one button. What if I want an alternate attack or a heal or a res or a shout or ...? G.W. has a fairly rich and intricate combat system that makes the game what it is. I'm sure it's not the only game that aims at including that.
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