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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 11 March, 2003, 08:49 GMT
Lord of the game developers
Alfred Hermida
By Alfred Hermida
BBC News Online technology staff

Peter Molyneux has been a leading personality in the British games industry since he first appeared on the scene more than 10 years ago.

Screenshot of Fable game
Fable: Molyneux game expected this year
With his perfectionist bent, Mr Molyneux has been called the Stanley Kubrick of computer game design.

He is best known for creating a whole new genre of games, called God sims, where players control everything that happens.

The first one of these came in the late 1980s with Populous, a game that put the player in the unique position of being responsible for an entire people's welfare.

"The fascinating thing about these games is that you decide what is right and wrong," he told BBC News Online.

"Some people will try to be as nice as possible and some people will be as nasty as possible."

Independent streak

Populous went on to sell about four million copies, turning Mr Molyneux and his company Bullfrog, into hot property.

Peter Molyneux
Making a computer game now is incredibly expensive. A few developers are really, really struggling.

He went on to produce eight consecutive number one hit games, before eventually selling Bullfrog to the games giant Electronic Arts for $40m.

He left Bullfrog shortly afterwards as he wanted his independence.

He was courted by the like of Sega and Nintendo, with one games publisher reportedly offering him a Porsche just for meeting with the company.

Instead, he created Lionhead Studios in 1999 and set about fostering a network of small game development companies.

Among the projects currently on the go are Fable, a role-playing fantasy title for the Xbox, and The Movies, where you run a Hollywood studio.

Pizza and Coke

Over the past few years, he has seen the games industry come out of the bedroom and into the mainstream.

The Movies screengrab
Run your own Hollywood studio
"When I first started in the games industry decades ago, it was all geeks and nerds, who had long hair, ate pizza and drank Coke," he said.

"Now everybody plays computer games. It is a truly global phenomenon."

Mr Molyneux unashamedly admits that he is a geek, owning all three game consoles and currently spending hours enthralled with the strategy game Command and Conquer: Generals.

He is also the oldest person where he works, but has lost none of the enthusiasm for gaming.

"You have to bear in mind that the stuff you are making needs to entertain and excite people," said Mr Molyneux.

"You constantly have to invent stuff that doesn't already exist."

You can hear more from Peter Molyneux on the BBC World Service programme, Go Digital.


SEE ALSO:
Funding the UK film industry
20 Sep 01 |  Entertainment
Games industry still riding high
09 Jan 03 |  Technology
Vice pays for games publisher
28 Feb 03 |  Technology
Gaming comes of age
17 Dec 02 |  Technology
Lord of the game developers
11 Mar 03 |  Technology


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