interview

Despite 'Horrendous Mistakes,' Molyneux Says Godus Still On Track

by Mike Futter on Feb 10, 2015 at 06:18 AM

Last month, Godus designer Konrad Naszynski studio posted a disheartening statement about the status of the project. This week, the developer 22 Cans has answered questions about its Kickstarter project, missed goals, and promises it still has yet to keep to its backer community.

“To be brutally candid and realistic I simply can't see us delivering all the features promised on the Kickstarter page,” Naszynski wrote. “A lot of the multiplayer stuff is looking seriously shaky right now especially the persistent stuff like hubworld.”

While the post sat on the Godus message board for a month, it was only recently noticed, prompting questions of 22 Cans. The studio released a community update, during which Naszysnki and Peter Molyneux spoke about the status of the game and mistakes made through its development.

“I want to bring up the quality of the PC experience. It’s just not there in my mind,” says Naszynski, who was a Godus backer before his hiring. “I want to turn this into a game I want to play. It’s why I came here in the first place.” 

Molyneux admits that things have not gone according to plan. He spoke openly about the process and where some things have gone wrong. 

“I do, however, take blame and put blame on myself,” he said on the video. “There is a catalog of things I did badly and incorrectly, because I had never done a Kickstarter campaign before. I had never released on Steam Early Access before. I had never done a mobile game before. All of these things meant I made some horrendous mistakes. I think the main thing that we’re paying with those mistakes is the amount of time it’s taking to find the game that Godus should be.”

We spoke with Molyneux today, who explained a bit more about the project’s stumbles. “We were due to start combat in December, but then our publisher dropped this massive bombshell on us,” he tells us. “The thing that drives Godus on mobile is the servers, and these all use a service.” Molyneux says that the publisher gave the studio little notice that it was changing services, requiring a complete overhaul to Godus.

The team continues to improve the experience, and despite Naszynski’s earlier assertions, the company thinks it will be able to deliver on most of the Kickstarter promises. Molyneux says that when Naszynski posted his warning, the employee wasn’t aware of the server issues the company had to address. 

“It was just a case of him not realizing why this emergency was taking place,” Molyneux says. “We should have, as a company, some sort company policy where we say our employees never tweet or Facebook or comment about anything in work. We don’t, and maybe we will after this. He voiced his frustration through lack of knowledge, but it wasn’t a case of ‘never.’ It was a case of ‘not then.’”

The next major update for the game will implement the story. Combat will follow that and then multiplayer.

Molyneux did take responsibility for three outstanding promises made to backers that have yet to be fulfilled. “I have to put my hand on my heart and apologize,” Molyneux says. The company has yet to deliver the art book promised to anyone who backed the game at the £199 level and above.

“We’ve got all the materials, and after all, doing an art book these days is not a particularly hard thing to do,” he tells us. We should have done this weeks ago or months ago. The same is true of the making-of video. We have three terabytes of footage that we’ve captured during every stage of development. That just needs to be gone through and edited down into the making-of video.”

Molyneux says that the most difficult of the unfulfilled promises to accomplish will be the Linux version stretch goal. The tools that the company used were supposed to support Linux by this point, but they still do not.

There have also been concerns about staffing changes at the developer. Molyneux says that while some staff have left, employment numbers have stayed relatively constant at approximately 22 individuals. 

“Over the last six months, there’s been three of the core team that has left,” Molyneux says. "On Monday we had a new artist start. On [next] Monday, we have a new coder start. There’s the same number of people here that there have always been. My key number of staff is 22 people. We are on the lookout for totally inexperienced, but super passionate and logical and smart people. That’s what I favor. We’ve got very experienced people, and I love mixing those experienced people with crazy, crazy people from all other walks of life and industries.”

Molyneux’s key message, both in the video and in our discussion, is that the studio isn’t giving up on Godus or its backers. There seems to be a lot of damage control and contriteness designed to stem the tide of backer complaints, especially following the attention put on Naszynski’s post this week.

“We are still passionate about Godus,” Molyneux assures on the community video. “I apologize to everyone for the mistakes I’ve made and you have been harsh, and please continue to be harsh. I wish I was someone that didn’t make mistakes, and I think I have to learn from those mistakes about what we do in the future.”

[Source: 22 Cans via RPS, GameSpot]