Let me take you on a short journey, back in time to the year 2009. The grass was greener, the sun shone a little brighter and everyone was a little happier. At that time during E3 what we now call the Xbox Kinect was still called Project Natal, and one of the highlights of said project was an ambitious new project from Peter Molyneux; something centred around a little boy named Milo.
Now, putting aside whether the demo was fake or had certain parts enhanced it was still something fairly impressive: actual interaction that seemed to go beyond the rudimentary basics that were being provided at the time.
Now, fast-forward to 2012, and still no sign of Milo. What happened to the project? Well, this week Molyneux (who has also left Lionhead Studios and Microsoft in order to move to the 22 Cans company) said that the world would never see Milo or as it was being called currently Milo and Kate. What had happened to the ambitious project? Did the technology fail to live up to the expectations? Were they unable to find anyone brave enough to help bring it to the masses? Well, according to this interview on vg247 Molyneux thinks the problem isn't any of those, the problem is us:
“The real problem with Milo, and this is a problem we had lots of meetings over, was where it would be on the shelves next to all the computer games. It was just the wrong thing. It was the wrong concept for what this industry currently is. Maybe this industry one day won’t be like that, but at this particular time, having a game that celebrates the joy of inspiring something and you feel this connection, this bond; it was the wrong time for that."
I know that Molyneux has become synonymous these days with overhyping the living daylights out of everything that he gets his mitts in, but this is different from what happened with Fable or Black and White, no, this is him blaming us for not being able to handle what he's pitching. It seems crass, even by his standards.
I'll grant you that the game would have been a little out there, and that some people would no doubt be less than mature about their interactions with it (the hebephilia jokes and drawing dicks onto the paper that the game scans stand out as the worst examples), but with the virtual pet boom that happened years earlier you cannot possibly tell me that gamers -- men and women alike -- don't want a chance to have an emotional connection to a game from time to time. Milo and Kate could have also taken a step towards showing the people that doubt games that there's more to be found than simple random violence and bloodshed; facts which gamers already now but that people standing on the outside looking in can be slow to embrace.
Disappointingly enough, I could have accepted just about any other excuse: from the overhype/underdeliver roller-coaster that Molyneux seems to be on these days, to saying that they couldn't find willing backers. But to me what he's said seems to be placing the blame on us, the audience, more than anything; and considering that we never even really had a chance to look at the game and play it for ourselves how does Molyneux know what we are and aren't ready for. It smacks of arrogance at best, and a piss poor excuse for his own shortcomings at worst.