God Complex: Peter Molyneux Kicks Off First Kickstarter With Project GODUS — A Grand Plan To “Recreate The Entire God Game Genre”

It’s another first for legendary game designer Peter Molyneux, who earlier this month launched his first mobile game Curiosity: he’s kicked off his first Kickstarter campaign — with project GODUS, “an innovative reinvention of Populous“. Populous, for those of you who didn’t grow up in the 1980s, was THE classic god game in which you nurtured a civilization from mud huts to castles, battling against a rival people controlled by a computer opponent. Drowning the computer’s civilization by flooding the lands was a classic winning tactic in my experience.

For GODUS, Molyneux is continuing to work with 22can, his Guildford-based independent games studio that came together in March of this year to build Curiosity. Molyneux talks about wanting to “recreate the entire god game genre” more than two decades on from Populous by adding a rich, multiplayer experience, a good or evil element (inspired by Black & White) and a kick-ass, modern interface and graphics:

Populous was created over 22 years ago, and we believe that to date, nothing has come close to emulating its powerfully godlike experience. It’s this experience we aim to reimagine. GODUS blends the power, growth and scope of Populous with the detailed construction and multiplayer excitement of Dungeon Keeper and the intuitive interface and technical innovation of Black & White. The original Populous hailed from the 8-bit era but GODUS will use the most modern technology the world has to offer.

“What I would love to do is go back to those glory days of Bullfrog, go back to those days when we focused ultimately on the gameplay,” says Molyneux in the Kickstarter video (below).

At the time of writing, GODUS already has close to 4,000 backers, with more than £95,000 pledged — out of a goal of £450,000 — with 28 days left. If it gets funded, the game will be developed for PC and mobile devices, with other platforms potentially added if the funding goal is exceeded.

Development for PC and mobile is expected to take seven to nine months to complete — longer if enough money is raised to support additional platforms.

Why is Molyneux turning to crowdfunding platform Kickstarter for GODUS rather than, say, approaching a big games studio to fund Populous redux? It’s all about ensuring the creative good of being a small studio — small enough to listen to individual gamers’ hopes and dreams — wins out against the corporate, creativity-crushing evil might of the big games publishers…

With GODUS we want to make a game in a culture of openness, co-operation and honesty. Creating a game involves imagination and passion, and we’re keen to share the experience. So we want to make GODUS with you watching and, we hope, participating. Funding it via Kickstarter allows us to stay a small independent team with unlimited freedom in our creativity. It’ll just be you, us and our unbridled dedication (no publishers).

You see, although GODUS is a new idea, we’re keen to return to the spirit which started it all. In 1989, in a small, cramped office in Guildford, England, a hard-working and enthusiastic duo experimented, collaborated, took risks and came up with Populous, a game which would become a legend and which would launch the god game genre.

We’re going to make GODUS in that same spirit. And your support will enable you to be involved at every stage as we share everything we do and learn with you. We’ll produce video diaries, blogs, live streams, developer chats and a great deal more. We aim to end up with a truly delightful game and as you play it, you’ll be able to say that you also played your part in its very creation.