John Walker's Electronic House

Things Best IGNored

by on Oct.04, 2005, under Rants

Now, obviously when one works as a reviewer, it’s very bad form to publically denounce the work of other reviewers. Not because it’s rude or anything, but because there’s probably something in your own work that they could immediately come back on, revealing you as the filthy hypocrite you truly are.

Fortunately, I’m perfect, which puts me in a strong enough position to publically declare my over-back bowledness at IGN’s Black & White 2 review. I knew they had the spoiler, and I knew they’d given it a ludicrous 88%. But I’d not read it. Now my review’s up, and Tim’s excellent review in Gamer is on the shelves, I thought I’d look at the competition’s. I’m yet to read past the first paragraph:

“Peter Molyneux doesn’t do sequels. And though he’s an ambitious and original game designer, the fact that he doesn’t make many sequels puts him at a bit of a disadvantage relative to some other notable game designers. Where people like Will Wright, Sid Meier and Warren Spector can refine their designs over several different iterations, Peter and his team basically get one shot at getting things right before they move on to other projects.”

I’m not sure there’s ever been any more dense a collection of wrongness in one tiny space. IGN, I salute you. This is fantastic, and it’s why I love you.

If we leave aside the “Peter Molyneux doesn’t do sequels,” followed immediately by, “the fact that he doesn’t make many sequels,” a mere sentence later… No, let’s not leave that aside. How? Is this an artistic use of the word ‘doesn’t’? “Obviously, by ‘doesn’t’, we mean, ‘does’, in its metaphorical sense.”

But. B..B..Bbut. But. Populous 2? So there’s one. Oh, and Syndicate Wars. But that’s only two. Unless you include Powermonger: World War 1 Edition. And Dungeon Keeper: The Deeper Dungeons. And Fable: The Lost Chapters. Oh, and Black & White 2. But hang on – they refer to his teams. So the team’s Magic Carpet 2, Dungeon Keeper 2, Theme Park World, and Populous: The Beginning should probably be included. But apart from those ten examples, his games don’t get sequels. Not ever.

I daren’t read any more.

11 Comments for this entry

  • Andy

    Hi John – I really enjoyed your EG B&W2 review and am sure you’re on the money with this one.

    It’s nice to see somebody actually delving into specifics, such as the AI bugs you mention.

    One correction to this latest post however. I believe DK2 didn’t have anything to do with PM or his team. I could be wrong, but I believe that particular sequel was taken on by a seperate set of developers altogether.

    Either way your point about IGN’s wrongness holds.
    Both DK games kick B&W’s ass into touch.

    They do say that cocaine destroys talent you know……..

  • admin

    Um, I’d like to distance myself from your suggestions of drug taking by unnamed parties, and suggest you do similar yourself.

    So, only nine sequels they definitely don’t make then.

  • Andy

    Oh – that was just a general warning about the cocaine you know.

    Nothing to do with the article naturally.

    …and BTW – I think you missed ‘Theme Hospital’ anyway, so that’s still ten :)

  • admin

    Was there a Theme Hospital 2?

  • scribe

    In this instance, IGN has the better of you (*ouch*). Molyneux’s traditional MO is indeed to move on to wholly new projects after completion, leaving other people to slake the commercial thirst for sequels and add-ons. Syndicate Wars is a prime example, being largely the work of other members of the original dev team. Populous 3, DK2 and Theme Park World were developed at Bullfrog after Molyneux had left to start up Lionhead.

    One of Molyneux’s talents is to surround himself with very creative people. Another is his ability to play figurehead for press and public. Take the Carter boys, for instance: they were designers on DK1, left Bullfrog to form Big Blue Box and started work on Fable long before becoming a Lionhead affiliate. Fable had the eventual benefit of Peter’s PR, but the price is seeing it forever known as a Molyneux game – or in this case, Lost Chapters cited as a Molyneux sequel.

    Always check mirror before declaring self-perfection.

  • Kowalski

    “Populous 3, DK2 and Theme Park World were developed at Bullfrog after Molyneux had left to start up Lionhead.”

    Who’s disputing that?

  • shark bite

    But can the be considered Molyneux does sequels, if he was no longer working there? And do you count expansions as sequels – HL2 is really HL5…

  • Andy Krouwel

    Hang on though, doesn’t he just keep making the same game over and over and over again?
    Basically? Or what? Eh?

  • Rossignol


  • pharoahe_monch

    never mind the bollocks. john’s review is worth its weight in gold.

  • admin

    At 2700 words, that’s a lot of gold!