Godus creator Peter Molyneux told me how much he's enjoying responding to feedback and using analytics to change his game in "massive ways." In the din of the Eurogamer Expo press area, the 54-year-old designer showed me spreadsheets stuffed with values that he could adjust there and then, things like how much an in-game follower wants to build temples or how social they'll be. It wasn't lost on me that I was watching the man behind the multi-million selling Fable series show me the Excel innards of his indie game.
Molyneux described these values as smaller changes that are easier to effect, but he talked about how 22 Cans has "totally changed" the rules of the game's multiplayer in Steam Early Access: "We love the Early Access thing, we love that every week there's going to be radical changes to this game."
Molyneux is of course aware of how he's regarded for past promises: When we spoke with him late last year, he joked, "Oh my God, here he goes again, saying he wants to make a great game." He's far from resting on any laurels with Godus, but he does feel this adaptive approach to Godus' design means he can swiftly respond to doubters.
"What's gonna answer the doubters is how this game evolves. My inspiration was Markus Persson. What he did with Minecraft really inspired me. It's wasn't just what Minecraft was, it's what Minecraft became. He didn't lock himself in an ivory tower saying, 'I know what makes a great game.' He involved all of us in that great game. That's my inspiration.
"What I say to the doubters is, 'Okay, you can doubt me for a week, [but] I'll change it and your doubts are going to have to change.' It probably takes us anything from a day to two weeks to make a new version [of Godus], and we'll address all the points out there. That's an amazing, incredible way to develop a game. I'm not a designer, I'm a design curator."
For the record, Markus 'Notch' Persson (a Kickstarter backer of Godus) has been playing the game in Steam Early Access and Molyneux hopes to speak with him soon about it in the future. Talking of the future, however things may pan out for Godus and its eventual fully-fledged release, Molyneux is happy with indie life at 22 Cans right now:
"It's like being reborn," he beamed. "I've remembered who I am, and who I am is someone who fucking loves every second of what I do."