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Molyneux: RPG design is flawed

Molyneux: RPG design is flawed

Microsoft's Peter Molyneux reckons that there's something very wrong with modern RPG design.

GamesCom 2009: In a series of comments made during the unveiling of Fable 3, Microsoft’s Peter Molyneux suggested that game designers should seriously question the decisions that they make when they design role-playing games.

The are things fundamentally wrong with all RPGs,” said Molyneux when teasing a new (and not yet revealed) new feature for Fable 3. “It’s something that’s been wrong ever since the 1980s.

Molyneux implied that whatever the perceived problem was it’s something that Lionhead has found a solution too, though the realisation might not have been easy judging by the way that Molyneux referred to Fable 3 as “a problem child”.

We made good steps in Fable 2 with the dog companion, the breadcrumb trail and the no-death feature...but we aren’t stopping there,” said Molyneux just before revealing that Fable 3 will cast players as the new king or queen of Albion.

I can’t tell you what this new feature is just yet, but I can say that Fable 3 is all about power and consequences,” he added.

Is Molyneux off his rocker, or have RPGs really been broken all this time? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

30 Comments

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Gunsmith 19th August 2009, 19:26 Quote
yes because a console rpg where you cant die is the future of things to come.

my arse it is!
Veles 19th August 2009, 19:38 Quote
Did he get replaced by a very poor clone during the development of B&W?
Greentrident 19th August 2009, 19:47 Quote
I've always thought that the way characters just always get better and better until they are almost invincible superhumans could be changed - if you become massively strong you would expect to slow down due to the weight of muscle for example. Or as your character gets older they might learn new skills but get slower to heal. It would certainly make rpgs a lot more strategic since you couldn't just rely on getting better at fighting and might have to adapt differently as you age.
D-Cyph3r 19th August 2009, 19:48 Quote
Quote:
“We made good steps in Fable 2 with the dog companion, the breadcrumb trail and the no-death feature...but we aren’t stopping there,”


Seriously, who can consider anything this man says as anything other than utter nonsense?
dragontail 19th August 2009, 20:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Cyph3r
Quote:
“We made good steps in Fable 2 with the dog companion, the breadcrumb trail and the no-death feature...but we aren’t stopping there,”


Seriously, who can consider anything this man says as anything other than utter nonsense?
Molyneux has shown he likes to implement radical and new gameplay design in his games. SOmetimes they work well, and sometimes they don't. Personally, I'm waiting till more concrete evidence of this new feature in Fable 3 appears before making any judgements.
thehippoz 19th August 2009, 20:51 Quote
what I liked about alternate reality and it's dungeon expansion.. you could be cold- had to carry food, you could wither.. was pretty cool

plus you could haggle in the store with the shopkeeper, talk with the bartender and buy drinks for people in the bar.. your armor and weapons could break and needed upkeep.. you didn't run around thinking I need this many bats to level up- you were just trying to survive.. this was all back in the 80's on a 64k, 8-bit rig

you were considered a bucktooth, there was no 400 lb saddle poppers to sell to.. how is taking away death going to be better? and pokemon yeah

you know what would have the mongloids watering at the mouth.. make a game and base it on gunbuster manga- you put a cloak over yourself and can repel the universe
alpaca 19th August 2009, 21:07 Quote
kind of sad even fable 2 was not ported to pc... i really liked fable 1 the lost chapters.
i guess there was no rpg where you could moon to the big boss before killing him, and they fixed that.
'every boss is moonable in fable 3! now worship us because we are the absolute obama's of the RPG world'
or maybe not
MiNiMaL_FuSS 19th August 2009, 21:36 Quote
B&W had sooo much potential...the problem was most GAMERS didn't see or utilise it.

I remember teaching my creature to put trees into the workshop and build houses himself, harvest the wheat, and run the whole show on his own! most people just taught it spells and thought that was it!

Everything Moly did after that was over hyped rubbish though...
l3v1ck 19th August 2009, 21:54 Quote
Something wrong since the 80's? Clearly the man has never played any of the Baldur's Gate games. KOTOR was good too.
I'll be interested to see what he does to "fix" RPG's.
[PUNK] crompers 19th August 2009, 22:06 Quote
in what universe is not dying a "feature"

edit: the molyverse!
Mentai 19th August 2009, 22:33 Quote
I only played 30mins of Fable 2, I just couldn't stand the overall feeling of the "my first RPG" experience. Anything said about RPG's that isn't from the Bioware doctors is utter crap imo. Dragon Age and ME2 are the games I'm most looking forward to in the next year.
liratheal 19th August 2009, 23:09 Quote
I hope someone straps Molyneux into a chair and tapes his trap shut.

This is the start of a lot of build up to a game that will be adequate at best - See his entire other collection of work and their associated pre-release talking from the man himself.
Trefarm 19th August 2009, 23:19 Quote
I'm probably alone.... But I want my RPG's to be harder, much longer, more intricate, with a truly bewildering array of strategies and paths. (Notice how at no point did I mention Graphics or DLC or 'Revolutionising the way we play games'.)
In short I'd like my RPG to be as unaccessable to the average gamer as possible, because after a decade or so of gaming I'm getting bitter and grumpy about dumbing games down.
yakyb 20th August 2009, 00:47 Quote
trefarm i agree
i just cant see it happening tho
i cant see dragon age offering this either
although have you tried playing eve online?

We Will need to find out what is apparently wrong with my fave genre
DarkLord7854 20th August 2009, 02:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiNiMaL_FuSS
B&W had sooo much potential...the problem was most GAMERS didn't see or utilise it.

I remember teaching my creature to put trees into the workshop and build houses himself, harvest the wheat, and run the whole show on his own! most people just taught it spells and thought that was it!

Everything Moly did after that was over hyped rubbish though...


Fully agree with you there, Black & White 1 was quite an amazing game, I still play it on LAN and stuff with friends and over Hamachi. Truly a wonderful and amazingly complex yet simple to use game. The mechanics behind the creature AI was absolutely wonderful. Black & White 2.. was a major let down IMO, sure, it was fun, but the creature was reduced to near-uselessness, which is a shame.

Fable 2 was cool, but the no dying thing was a bit lame & boring, there simply was no reason not to rush in like an idiot and die 50 times over except for scars. OOHH a scar, big deal.

Also..
Quote:

Molyneux implied that whatever the perceived problem was it’s something that Lionhead has found a solution too

:|



Quote:
Originally Posted by Trefarm
I'm probably alone.... But I want my RPG's to be harder, much longer, more intricate, with a truly bewildering array of strategies and paths. (Notice how at no point did I mention Graphics or DLC or 'Revolutionising the we we play games'.)
In short I'd like my RPG to be as unaccessable to the average gamer as possible, because after a decade or so of gaming I'm getting bitter and grumpy about dumbing games down.

Totally with you, Fallout 3, Elder Scrolls IV, KoTOR2, NWN2, etc are all good examples of beefy RPGs I think. I still play NWN1 actually.
knyghtryda 20th August 2009, 04:04 Quote
I think you have to go a little farther back to find truly great RPGs. Look at Baldurs Gate 2 (talk about epic...), Icewind Dale and Fallout 1/2. Fallout 3 and KOTOR are great, but they lack the crazy depth and strategy those old school RPGs provide. Out of the modern RPGs I would have to say The Witcher as being one of the the best, if not the best RPG in recent memory. Its has a deep (if a bit overly done) story with a great combat and upgrade system.
Elton 20th August 2009, 05:49 Quote
I wish there'd be a BW3...BW1 was awesome and BW2...well it wasn't too great, but it was fun.

Sadly most people never got past the casting spells and killing people thing...

Having a creature run the show was the best.
hexx 20th August 2009, 09:56 Quote
the last good rpg i played was fallout 2 :), before fallout ishar trilogy and ultima underworld
hexx 20th August 2009, 10:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by knyghtryda
I think you have to go a little farther back to find truly great RPGs. Look at Baldurs Gate 2 (talk about epic...), Icewind Dale and Fallout 1/2. Fallout 3 and KOTOR are great, but they lack the crazy depth and strategy those old school RPGs provide. Out of the modern RPGs I would have to say The Witcher as being one of the the best, if not the best RPG in recent memory. Its has a deep (if a bit overly done) story with a great combat and upgrade system.

Fully agree with The Witcher, the last proper RPG from the new ones. Can't help but Fallout 3 sux, shame i bought the best boxed version which was available just to play it for few days and then i got fed up, what they've done to fallout is just ridiculous, it shouldn't carry that name as it's got nothing in common with classic fallouts.
Skiddywinks 20th August 2009, 10:42 Quote
Just stfu Molyneux, and give me B&W3. And make it good this time!
Veles 20th August 2009, 11:44 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by hexx
Fully agree with The Witcher, the last proper RPG from the new ones. Can't help but Fallout 3 sux, shame i bought the best boxed version which was available just to play it for few days and then i got fed up, what they've done to fallout is just ridiculous, it shouldn't carry that name as it's got nothing in common with classic fallouts.

The problem is that old style Fallout wouldn't really work now, it needed to be snazzed up. I love Fallout 3 and I think Beth did a surprisingly good job on it, I was dreading it when it was announced but I can appreciate it for what it is.
hexx 20th August 2009, 12:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
Quote:
Originally Posted by hexx
Fully agree with The Witcher, the last proper RPG from the new ones. Can't help but Fallout 3 sux, shame i bought the best boxed version which was available just to play it for few days and then i got fed up, what they've done to fallout is just ridiculous, it shouldn't carry that name as it's got nothing in common with classic fallouts.

The problem is that old style Fallout wouldn't really work now, it needed to be snazzed up. I love Fallout 3 and I think Beth did a surprisingly good job on it, I was dreading it when it was announced but I can appreciate it for what it is.

Nope, you'd be surprised how many gamers still play old fallout 2 with the hi-res patch (i know at least 4 :)). fallout 3 is not a fallout game, period. what's the point to play a game if i'm a low level character with already maxed out some of the attributes. try to kill a super mutant in fallout 2 on level 6 - impossible, in fallout 3? no problem.

They borked perks system, it's simply oblivion system brought into a post catastrophic world but not fallout world. Dialogues are really bad and still remember that bitch from the first city with her annoying voice and dialogue options are really poor in f3. just not good enough and much worse than previous fallout games.
Dreaming 20th August 2009, 12:18 Quote
I'm going to go against the grain and say I think Lionhead games are good and that Fable 2 was a great game. But it depends what you are looking for, if you rushed the main quest it was too easy and straight forward, but then you were really missing out on the 'experience' in my opinion.

But each to their own! I am more curious than anything else what Mr. Molyneux thinks he may have fixed.
Lepermessiah 20th August 2009, 13:18 Quote
WOW, just when you think he cannot get anymore full of himself? The dog feature? No death? lol, Fable Ii was one of the most dissappointing, simple, easy RPG's i have played, no dialog, the expression system is weak and too easy to manipulate. Please, this guy is an utter moron.

I never Rushed the main quest, i did pretty much everything you can in the game and spent hours trying everything including all side quests, buying everything, manipulating the economy, but, this is nit the Sim city. Fable 1 and 2 both are airly poor RPG's.

Bread crumb trail is a great feature? LOL, for one, its been done before, and 2, it takes away any fun in exploration, makes it too easy. More excuses for what is a game that is dumbed down for kids.
Lepermessiah 20th August 2009, 13:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragontail
Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Cyph3r
Quote:
“We made good steps in Fable 2 with the dog companion, the breadcrumb trail and the no-death feature...but we aren’t stopping there,”


Seriously, who can consider anything this man says as anything other than utter nonsense?
Molyneux has shown he likes to implement radical and new gameplay design in his games. SOmetimes they work well, and sometimes they don't. Personally, I'm waiting till more concrete evidence of this new feature in Fable 3 appears before making any judgements.

What? Bread crumb trail, a dog and no death is radical? lol. All have been done before, and all they do, with the exception of the dog, is make the game to easy. No death = no consequence for your actions.
kylew 20th August 2009, 14:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greentrident
I've always thought that the way characters just always get better and better until they are almost invincible superhumans could be changed - if you become massively strong you would expect to slow down due to the weight of muscle for example. Or as your character gets older they might learn new skills but get slower to heal. It would certainly make rpgs a lot more strategic since you couldn't just rely on getting better at fighting and might have to adapt differently as you age.


It doesn't really work like that though, strength and size aren't exactly related to eachother.

Bruce Lee was immensely fast as well as extremely strong yet was really small.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Lee#Physical_feats
cyrilthefish 20th August 2009, 15:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by D-Cyph3r
Quote:
“We made good steps in Fable 2 with the dog companion, the breadcrumb trail and the no-death feature...but we aren’t stopping there,”
Seriously, who can consider anything this man says as anything other than utter nonsense?
Well, two good features vs one admittedly dodgy one there wasn't bad going.

Personally though, whilst i do love his games, he does need to tone down the hype and exaggerations a fair bit :D
TSR2 20th August 2009, 22:31 Quote
So they aren't stopping there? What's next, a mode that plays the entire game for you and gets 999999 score?
andyp06 22nd August 2009, 08:55 Quote
The Molyneux pre-game release strategy is flawed!
wuyanxu 22nd August 2009, 09:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiNiMaL_FuSS

I remember teaching my creature to put trees into the workshop and build houses himself, harvest the wheat, and run the whole show on his own! most people just taught it spells and thought that was it!

ah the good ol' days of BnW.
i relay heavily on my creature, in the end, all i need to do is building houses. because i didn't like his house placements.

i think RPG design is flawed, but not because of no death and needs a dog. it's the levelling system. but then, i prefer FPS and picking up biggest gun at start of the game.
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