Peter Molyneux is among the bold name designers in the videogame industry. For years, he's been specializing in so-called "god games" that put the players in charge of a virtual world. Now, he's making waves with a new kind of experiment - episodic gaming.
Beginning today, he's selling his game, Fable II, in episodic portions via Xbox Live, Microsoft's digital download service. As you might recall, Fable II came out last year on disc, so this is Molyneux's attempt to reach a different group of gamers online. I hope he's successful. The game industry is evolving away from expensive discs to affordable downloads, and the risk is that bigger, more ambitious games like Molyneux's will not make the transition.
Here's an excerpt from a Q/A with Molyneux in Edge.
EDGEL: Why have you implemented this now in Fable II’s life?
PM: There are two reasons, really. The first is that I had a look at how many active Live users there are – I don’t know the exact number but it’s 10 million or something like that – and compared to the number of people that have bought Fable II, about three million, and saw there’s a big divide. As a greedy game designer I ask why. I can sit back and moan about it and wish the game had more presence at retail or whatever, or I could do something about it.
David Kushner is the author of many books, including Masters of Doom, Jonny Magic & the Card Shark Kids, Levittown, The Bones of Marianna, and Alligator Candy. A contributing editor of Rolling Stone, he has written for publications including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine.