The lights are on
Two years ago at E3 I shot a one-on-one interview between Bethesda's Todd Howard and Mojang's Notch. It was an odd pairing, but I continue to receive a lot of positive responses to the video. This year at E3 I decided to schedule more videos that have developers that are fans of each other's work discuss whatever they would like. As a co-host of the Idle Thumbs podcast and creative lead/writer for Telltale's acclaimed The Walking Dead, Sean Vanaman's list of developers that he'd like to talk to on camera was topped by Peter Molyneux. Known for games like Black & White, Fable, and the upcoming Godus from his new company 22 Cans, Peter Molyneux is a colossal fan of The Walking Dead and was gracious enough to agree to this odd interview.
Watch the video below to hear these two developers discuss the writing process, Curiosity and other experiments from 22 Cans, the best way to survive a zombie apocalypse, and even drop a couple of hints about the second season of The Walking Dead. I've added timecode notes below the video if you'd like to jump around and hear them discuss a specific topic.
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0:00 - Peter Molyneux explains why he loves The Walking Dead from Telltale Games
6:50 - Sean Vanaman talks about his personal history and how he ended up working on The Walking Dead
8:40 - The two discuss the importance of voice actors
11:40 - Molyneux analyzes the character of Clementine from The Walking Dead
13:30 - Molyneux explains his creative process and the struggle of waiting for brilliant ideas
16:35 - Vanaman offers advice on how to get in to the industry and the importance of reading
20:55 - The downside of adapting books into films and the Harry Potter series
24:23 - How reading informs good game design and the challenge of character motivations
26:50 - Experimentation in games versus a guided narrative
29:45 - Why absolute freedom in games is not as good as it sounds
32:17 - Designing the opening of The Walking Dead's second episode
34:05 - Molyneux and Vanaman discuss Heavy Rain
39:26 - Designing the beginning of a game, and the opening moments from the Fable series
45:20 - The temptation of adding a lengthy tutorial to your game
47:30 - The Walking Dead and why the team wanted to create magic for 3% of its players
51:00 - Molyneux talks about Curiosity: What's Inside the Cube and the other game design experiments that he has planned
53:52 - Molyneux talks about his quest to make "one" great game in his life, his hopes for Godus, and the changing demographics of gaming
58:20 - Lessons from playtesting Telltale's The Walking Dead
1:00:20 - Finding meaningful feedback for your game
1:05:40 - The downside of offering feedback on games from Rare and Supergiant Games
1:08:50 - Teasing the second season of The Walking Dead and balancing the trinity of the game, the show, and the graphic novel
1:13:31 - The rise of zombie/survival fiction in our culture
1:16:42 - Molyneux's old game design about the end of the world
1:18:26 - Vanaman and Molyneux explain what they would do in the event of a zombie outbreak
If you'd prefer to listen to this interview as an audio file, I've attached an MP3 of the full discussion below.
Email the author Ben Hanson, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
This should be interesting. Good job Ben. Hopefully you can do this again next year
Man this may be one of my favorite features. I love it when you get two industry visionaries together to just shoot the *** about games.
I thought that was Wayne Coyne for a second.
Loved the Todd Howard/Notch feature from a while back, and love to see more of that.
Wow, that was an amazing conversation. Great job, Ben! I look forward to more of these "one on ones" in the future.
I enjoyed this immensely. It's nice to hear two really interesting game designers/writers dissect and think about their medium out loud.
I'm currently at work, so I can't watch this. But I'll definitely get to it when I'm back home. Thank you, Ben! And thanks for the timecode notes - they're really helpful.
What a great idea! I watched the first 45min before my power went out. I plan to finish it as it was quite fascinating. I love Peter. He is brilliant and interesting. The WD writer was intimidated at first but really opened up. I thought he offered some great insight. Reading is very important. I like listening to smart people talk. The fact both were humble was refreshing. I was surprised PM apologized for Fable 3 because I really liked it. I was also just surprised to hear an apology from someone who notoriously talks up his games. Thank you Ben for making this happen and for sharing with the community.
This was an awesome piece!