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Molyneux: 'Enjoy the indie craze, because it won't last'

Fable creator warns: "These things go in cycles"

Peter Molyneux, the games development veteran who co-founded 22 Cans, believes the industry should enjoy the thriving indie scene now "because it won't last."

Speaking to CVG at GDC, the Fable creator compared the prosperity of indie games such as Gone Home and Papers, Please - which both won BAFTAs in March - to the heyday of '80s bedroom coding that kickstarted his own career.

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"These things go in cycles," he told CVG. "What I'd say is, enjoy this time, because it won't last.

"Don't think we're going to be all indies for the next five years - these things go in cycles, just like in the music business. You have a time where punk is big, and then you have times like now where everything is manufactured.

"Enjoy this time, because inevitably it will only last a short period."

The Godus creator suggested that many small game teams could soon be transformed by the temptation of venture capital money, a move which he claimed could stifle creativity.

"Here's the thing: walk through any hotel lobby at GDC and look at people's name badges. This morning at breakfast I saw three angel investors talking to indies. They're saying, 'take my money! I want to invest in your company!'

"But what those indie companies don't realise is that they'll then have to have board meetings, and in those meetings they'll be told, 'no, you shouldn't do that - look at this game that's making money'."

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Godus is described as "an innovative reinvention of Populous"

Molyneux went on to praise modern indie games developers, stating that like his own '80s coding origins - where he started off selling and distributing his own games on Atari floppy discs - they have "no sense of fear".

"It's very much like the 80s," he said. "Back then anybody could create a game that could be hugely successful. There were no formulas or anything cast in stone.

"A few years ago it was all about fear; huge budgets and 'my franchise is bigger than your franchise'. It was all about 'who's going to create the new Call of Duty?'

"Now it's all about invention, creativity and not having any fear."

Molyneux, whose heralded games development career has established studios such as Bullfrog and Lionhead, left Microsoft in 2012 to set up his own small development team.

"If I was still working at Microsoft I would be self-harming"

The Populous creator agreed that his move towards independence was well timed, telling CVG that it's a "great time" to be indie.

"Personally, if I was still working at Microsoft I would be self-harming. "It would be a horrible experience. I now feel like I'm back in an industry that's truly fascinating and marvellous, and I can say crazy things like, 'let's create a game that connects 70 million people together!'

"We used to have these very defined ways to create a game, which resulted in Halo, Call of Duty and all of that stuff, but now we've thrown all of that away. The games that we're celebrating now are stuff like Papers, Please - which is brilliant."

22 Cans' latest project, Godus, is currently available in beta form on Steam Early Access.

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