When gaming hero Peter Molyneux — who worked on brilliant titles such as Fable, Black and White and Populus — picked up his creative genius and decided to leave Lionhead Studios many wondered what he would be up to. Instead of being the hotshot lead game designer at an existing high profile studio, Molyneux decided to form his own independent studio.
The first project of the studio was a weird one, no doubt. The game featured a single cube sitting in empty white space with seemingly nothing to offer but the intrigue of it is that something could be at the center of the cube. Users would take their virtual pickaxes and chop away as they looked to discover what was beneath the shell of the structure.
Molyneux launched the project for many different reasons, he said. For starters, it was an experiment of psychological measure. Molyneux wanted to know how far people would go to find out what was under the cube, and how many people would be willing to spend more money on better pickaxes to get to the center. It was also a test of simultaneous multiplayer on mobile, though this aspect of it wasn’t nearly as interesting as. It was his “guinea pig” game, of sorts, but it wasn’t close to being the first big end game.
The end game, if we’re calling it that, is GODUS, a new mobile title that has yet to be realized but will become reality after a successful round of Kickstarter funding. GODUS brings a genre of video games that Molyneux himself helped pioneer to mobile (and potentially other platforms) — the “god” genre.
Molyneux himself describes GODUS as the spiritual reinvention of Populous, the game that started it all. You play the higher power, the the aura in the sky, the ruler of men, if you will. Starting out, users will get two “believers” on a piece of land who will look to begin building their houses to start a new life under your rule.
You can manipulate the various surfaces of the landscape to make it easier for new believers to come and build their own houses and buildings. Before too long a kingdom will begin to grow on its own, and you’ll have thousands of these tiny people living on for your cause. But you’re probably asking “well, what is my cause?” Details are scarce right now, but the idea will be to tie multiplayer into this concept and exist in the presence of other gods. Your opponents will have their own followers who believe in the idea of their ruler.
Heads will bump, eventually, and one side will inevitably decide that their kingdom deserves the rest of the land allotted to them. The earthlings of the two sides will clash, fighting for the right to spread belief in your existence.
You won’t always be sitting idly by, watching your people struggle to stay alive. The “belief” points you gain can be used to send miracles down to your people to help them in their quests. You can bring other civilizations to their fiery doom if you so please, or use your powers to help your own land grow and flourish.
War is only one angle, though — you could just sit and watch your people grow if you want, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But the meat and potatoes of god games has always been to face the biggest challenges your people face in their desire to spread out, and war is no doubt a huge part of that.
The gameplay you see above is only prototypical work that was concocted in just under two weeks’ time, but Molyneux says the project will accelerate quite fast once it has secured the Kickstarter funds. Speaking of funds, the project is due to end in just under 50 hours, and while it has already surpassed its goal it hasn’t surpassed it by much.
There is incentive to get that funding pot even bigger, though, as several stretch goals have been put in place. You can find more details on the new stretch goals in the image above, and head to the Kickstarter project if it sounds like something you want to pledge some dollars (or, in the case of this UK-based studio, pounds) to.