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Peter Molyneux's amazing stories Pt. 3/3: The toilet, the 'lady-flower' and Activision's frantic lawyers

We finish off on a cracker...

So here it is; CVG's final "amazing story" from Peter Molyneux, celebrating the Lionhead chief's BAFTA triumph last week.

You'll be please to hear that we've saved a goody for this last instalment, one which introduces a new publisher into Peter's very own fables.

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In Part 1, it was a Sega exec with a wet leg who had a star turn. In Part 2, Electronic Arts dug deep to call in the CIA. Now it's Activision's turn.

Peter's story, which we recount verbatim below, involves Lionhead's 2005 game The Movies - which is still very much worth digging out of a bargain bin if you can find it. The title itself reviewed well and was a mild success commercially, but as Peter explains, its path to retail didn't exactly run smooth...

One of the very bizarrest things that's ever happened to me was when we'd just finished a game called The Movies. It had gone through production and was being made. I think about 200,000 discs had been processed, so we were well into the manufacturing stages.

One of the testers over at Activision - who were the publishers of the game - was carrying on playing it long into one night. They made this movie where this woman was sitting on the toilet, and they were shocked by what they created. For some reason, he got the camera to point up her skirt, and it looked like you could see her... private parts. I nearly said "lady-flower" then.

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This made its way to the senior executives at Activison in the US, who then panicked, and immediately stopped the manufacturing of the discs. Helpfully, all this was happening when I was away doing a press thing.

When I flew back to the UK, I walked into this tiny room at Lionhead to be greeted by one of the oddest sights of my life. The room was filled to the brim with lawyers from all over the world - London, Germany, America, you name it. Laid out on the table were all these colour printouts showing people from the game sitting on various stools and stuff.

Every one of these very serious guys was leaning in close to each picture and peering at it, whilst saying things like: "Yes, this one definitely looks a little like a vagina. What do you think?" and, "No. I don't think that one looks anything like a vagina."

They weren't even smiling. It was insane. Here were these very posh, suited people looking intently at this content and being very straight-faced about it all. It turned out the purple underwear from the game was the major problem. We removed it and that fixed the whole lady-flower issue.

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