Peter Molyneux Recalls "One of the Most Bruising Moments of My Life"

"It was tempting to retire."


A year ago this month, veteran game designer and industry figure Peter Molyneux found himself in the middle of controversy over his latest game, Godus. Now, the 53-year-old has given a new interview in which he reflects on that trying time and reveals that things got so tough that he considered retiring.

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"It was one of the most bruising moments of my life," Molyneux told Eurogamer. "My world changed after that interview."

The interview in question here is one Molyneux gave to Rock, Paper, Shotgun last year. The first question posed to Molyneux was, "Do you think you're a pathological liar?"

In the wake of this interview, Molyneux says he questioned if he could continue working in games.

"That was the point where I said, this is just not going to work," Molyneux said to Eurogamer. "To be called a pathological liar, which he said at the start... it's just not going to work, because how do you ever gain people's trust and belief after a journalist says that?"

"That interview started just like any other interview," Molyneux remembers. "You know, 'We'd like a word with you about Godus.' So the whole of the interview was just a shock. And then afterwards, it was a really tough couple of days."

Molyneux said he couldn't just sit in the corner and sulk because he had a team at 22Cans that he needed to manage and a game to finish. People came to him and asked questions like, "What does this mean?" "Does this mean the end of the company?" "Does it mean the end of you?" "What does it mean?"

Some staff at 22Cans did indeed leave, according to Eurogamer. Molyneux "protege" Jack Attridge, the co-creator of Godus, also left in the wake of this controversy, but he said it had nothing to do with what was going on.

"It was tempting to retire," Molyneux said about this difficult time in his life. "Many of my counterparts from the late eighties have sat back and retired and left. I had always said this is my life and my passion, other than my family. That was a knife-edge decision."

Despite what some (fake) tweets said, Molyneux did not retire. In 2015, 22Cans underwent a "reboot" in which it hired a new CEO, allowing Molyneux to focus on the development side of his work.

Today, Molyneux announced and released Godus Wars, "the solution" to the idea that Molyneux has a tendency of over-promising and under-delivering. Godus Wars blends elements of the god-game genre with RTS. People who already own Godus can get it free, while it's also offered for $15 as a standalone Early Access game on Steam. We will have more on Godus Wars soon.

Finally, reflecting on the troubles of 2015, Molyneux said it was ultimately a good thing and was in fact "destined to happen."

"Last year was a horrible year. Going through all that sh**," he said. "If you want to look at the view from the top of the mountain you've got to climb it. The harder the climb, the better the view."

Be sure to read Eurogamer's full story for lots more, including the latest on the young man promised a "life-changing" prize by Molyneux who received nothing, development status for The Trail, and much more.

Molyneux quit Microsoft in 2012.

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