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Peter Molyneux is one of the most famous personalities in the history of gaming, especially recognized for having created God games Dungeon Keeper, Populous, Black & White but also the Fable series. He reveals some interesting insights from his period while working at Microsoft.
For many out there, working at Microsoft is either a dream came true or a great career opportunity. But not for Peter Molyneux, the legendary creator of God games. Molyneux joined Microsoft after the company he had founded in August 1997 – Lionhead Studios, was acquired by Microsoft Game Studios in April, 2006. After creating the Fable series, Molyneux announced in March 2012 that he will be leaving Lionhead and Microsoft to start another company – 22Cans.
Now, along with former Lionhead Studios CTO Tim Rance, Molyneux is busy building yet another God game which will be simply called Godus. During a recent interview, the former Microsoft employee has shared some interesting details regarding the time when he was working over at Redmond. He says Microsoft is a “big supertanker of safety” and that working there is “like taking antidepressants“. Here’s the excerpt from his interview:
I left Microsoft because I think when you have the ability to be a creative person, you have to take that seriously, and you have to push yourself. And pushing yourself is a lot easier to do if you’re in a life raft that has a big hole in the side, and that’s what I think indie development is. You’re paddling desperately to get where you want to go to, but you’re also bailing out. Whereas if you’re in a big supertanker of safety, which Microsoft was, then that safety is like an anesthetic. It’s like taking antidepressants. The world just feels too comfortable.
He also said in another review that working for Microsoft now would be a “horrible experience”:
Personally, if I was still working at Microsoft I would be self-harming. It would be a horrible experience. I now feel like I’m back in an industry that’s truly fascinating and marvellous, and I can say crazy things like, ‘let’s create a game that connects 70 million people together!
So, Molyneux accuses Microsoft for the fact that it hinders creativity but he’s not the only one complaining about working for Microsoft. Former Microsoft executive Joachim Kempin said that Ballmer used to bring a baseball bat into meetings to “send a signal”:
Steve sometimes walks down the hallways bouncing a basketball. Or if he’s having a really good day he’s swinging a baseball bat. Do you think that sends a signal? Sometimes he brings it with him into the conference room. Is it symbolic? Maybe. I don’t know. I would never do that. For me it doesn’t send the right message. The man has some nervous energy and that’s how he gets rid of it. Have I heard him yelling? Yeah, I have
And only a few days ago we have reported that another former Microsoft employee had leaked early Windows 8 builds because he was given a bad performance review. While that isn’t necessarily linked, it shows just how much pressure lays on the shoulders of employees. Hopefully, with the new CEO, who is expected to announce great things at the BUILD 2014 conference, things are going to change.