Molyneux's next big project

When not contributing to the design of Black & White 2, Peter Molyneux works on a new project code-named Dimitri.


Black & White

During a visit to Lionhead Studios' UK offices, which are just south of London, we had the chance to sit down and catch up with Peter Molyneux, the creator of Black & White. Lionhead has plenty of projects in the works, and given the success of Black & White, it's no surprise that there are definite plans to expand the series at Black & White Studios, a team that's now considered separate from Lionhead proper. But while Molyneux has a hand in the design of the Black & White projects, that isn't all he's working on.

In Lionhead's central office, Molyneux is working on a completely new game concept that's code-named Dimitri, a name that will certainly change before the official announcement. He couldn't give more than a few hints about what the project involves, but he said it's very different and won't be a god game like Black & White. However, some of the technology being developed for Dimitri will be worked into Black & White 2. There was some hint that the game will be for the PC, and Molyneux said that game concepts for PCs and consoles will necessarily work differently because mouse interfaces don't translate well to game controllers and vice versa. He said he's exploring his console game design impulses through Lionhead's other projects, including Black & White Next-Generation, Project Ego, and BC.

In a separate discussion, Peter Molyneux talked about role-playing games as one of his favorite types of games, and he had some very concrete ideas about what he might like to see in an RPG. The central theme of his idea is a living world that reacts to players' actions and changes over time--an idea that extends what Molyneux has already done in Black & White in terms of creature development and the effect of a player's alignment in the world. The example he gave was of a house that burned down. If the player came back to the house in a couple of years of game time, it should be rebuilt or the foundations should be overgrown with vegetation. Characters should also visually develop over time. Molyneux also remarked that, while everyone wants to be a hero, it'd be more interesting to give the player some competition in the form of other bands of heroes trying to complete the same objectives. Some of these elements will be incorporated into Project Ego.

As for Dimitri, the project will stay under wraps for quite some time. Molyneux explained that it's something that needs to be closer to completion before it can be shown. But since there are several Black & White games in development, it looks like Lionhead will give gamers plenty to play in the meantime.

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