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Molyneux: 'Taking A Lot Away From Fable III Actually Adds A Lot To It'

Lionhead's Peter Molyneux talks to Gamasutra on the trend toward simplicity in game design -- and how removing complexity counterintuitively allows for increased
In a new feature-length interview with Gamasutra, Lionhead creative lead Peter Molyneux discusses the trend toward simplicity in game design -- and how removing complexity counterintuitively allows for increased depth in games. "Taking a lot away from Fable III actually adds a lot to it," Molyneux tells us. "We unified that combat system and actually made it much more accessible for the more casual side of Fable III players, and made it much more interesting for the core players because they could start combining magic together and switching between guns and swords, because they were the same. That meant that, even though it was simpler, it was actually more complex and sophisticated." Molyneux says the fact that many designers equate complexity with death was his "big mistake. It took me years, you know -- a ridiculous number of years -- to realize that adding more features actually took away from the game rather than added to the game," he says. "It's not the number of features you've got; it's how well-exploited those features are." He says that he "kept cramming features in, just expecting them to shine like gold, where actually it just muddied it and made the games a more brown color rather than making them brighter." The need to teach players to play games is a big problem, he says, and this drive towards concrete and simple games makes them more understandable. He notes: "A lot of times, I think, if I speak to someone and they say, 'Ah, I really liked Fable, once I got into it" -- that's a disaster! That's a disastrous thing to think that you were crafting something which somebody has to struggle to get into." Molyneux points to the death of the tutorial -- and by extension, the death of the need for a tutorial -- as a good thing for the game industry. To play a game with an extensive tutorial, says Molyneux, is painful. "They just seem arduous and tedious and, oh God, I just want to know the game; I just don't want to be taught to play the game." The full article, True Evolution: A Peter Molyneux Interview, is live now on Gamasutra.

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