Peter Molyneux is one of the most famous video game designers to have ever come from England. Primarily, this is because he has created a number of very influential video games. However, it should also be noted that Molyneux has a notorious reputation for being a habitual over-seller. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about Peter Molyneux:
1. His First Game Was a Total Failure
Molyneux released his first game in 1984 using his own resources. For those who are curious, it was a business simulation game called The Entrepeneur. However, it isn’t talked about much in the present day for the simple reason that it was a total failure.
2. His First Game Sold Two Copies
To be exact, The Entrepreneur sold two copies, one of which might have been purchased by Molyneux’s mother. The whole incident is particularly funny because Molyneux thought that the business simulation game was going to become a huge success, so much so that he cut a new letter box because he expected to be inundated by orders.
3. Decided to Export Baked Beans to the Middle East Instead
Unsurprisingly, the failure of The Entrepreneur had a negative impact on Molyneux’s interest in becoming a video game designers. As a result, he and his business partner Les Edgar founded Taurus Impex Limited, which was centered on exporting baked beans to the Middle East.
4. Got Mistaken for Torus
Amusingly, Commodore International mistook Taurus Impex Limited for Torus, which made networking software. Due to this, Commodore offered Molyneux ten Amigas to help him port his networking software, which prompted something of a crisis of conscience on his part. In the end, Molyneux cleared up the confusion but used the incident as a chance to make a database system for the Amiga called Acquisition.
5. Cofounded Bullfrog Productions
The money earned from Acquisition enabled Molyneux and Edgar to found Bullfrog Productions in 1987. Said video game developer no longer exists. However, while it existed, it was responsible for making a number of games with influence that can still be seen in the present day.
6. Created Populous
For example, Molyneux was the one who came up with the concept for Populous, which is regarded as the first god game to have ever been made. As such, Populous has had a huge impact on its successors, which include two of Molyneux’s other creations – Black & White and Godus.
7. Created Dungeon Keeper
Another example of Molyneux’s creations would be Dungeon Keeper, which was a strategy game that lets players take on the role of the malevolent figure behind a dungeon populated with evil creatures. Like Populous, Dungeon Keeper inspired an entire sub-genre of video games, with a recent example being War for the Overworld.
8. Is a Habitual Over-seller
One of Molyneux’s less pleasant characteristics is his habitual over-selling of his games, which is a nicer way of saying that he makes a lot of promises that he fails to live up to. In short, it is very common for Molyneux to make a wide range of extravagant promises about the features packed into whatever he is working on at the moment. After which, he will either fail to meet those promises or fail to meet those promises fully.
9. Has a Genuine Passion for Games
With that said, the one reason that Molyneux gets a pass for his habitual over-selling is that he does seem to have a genuine passion for games. Something that serves to endear him to interested individuals in spite of their learned skepticism. Unfortunately, Molyneux is genuinely bad at the business side of things, as shown by the disaster that is his new video game developer 22Cans’s Godus.
10. Bought On Simon Philips to Handle the Business Side of Things
The disaster that was Godus had a draining effect on Molyneux, Molyneux’s employees, and Molyneus’s player base. In 2015, a video game industry veteran named Simon Philips contacted Molyneux to talk about what had gone wrong, which resulted in him pointing out the errors that Molyneux had made. Due to this, Molyneux decided that he needed someone to handle the business side of things so that he could focus on game making instead of doing everything himself, which is how Philips winded up with a new job as CEO of 22Cans.