Gamestop and Best Buy are way too mainstream for Peter Molyneux.
The gaming auteur behind Populous and Fable recently left his Microsoft-owned studio Lionhead to start a new independent developer, 22 cans, and take another stab at making a groundbreaking new gameplay experience. Molyneux wants to "change the world", and he feels that digital distribution will probably be the best way to do that.
Speaking with Develop, Molyneux mostly expressed a casual disinterest towards the retail gaming market:
"The incentives for driving me out of my seat and into a shop is becoming increasingly limited. I don't go to retail to buy a film. I don't go to retail to buy music. I don't go to buy books any more. And I'm certainly not that interested in buying games in shops, myself."
At other times, Molyneux's issues with gaming retail seemed to run deeper than a simple lack of interest. Specifically, Molyneux implied that gaming retailers may have played a role in the cancelling of his Kinect project, Milo. While discussing Milo, Molyneux said the game was nearly ready and described the game as "an amazing experience", but was cancelled at least partially because the game was a tough sell for retailers.
"The game did work, it really did. But I think that the world – whether that world is retail or marketing executives – wasn’t quite ready for Milo," said Molyneux. "It’s just that... what was so hard for some people to imagine is what Milo would look like on the shelves, sitting alongside these murderous shooter games. 'I can’t imagine what it would look like in GAME or Gamestop,' is what people told me."
Molyneux went on to say that he understood Microsoft's decision to cancel the game, but that didn't make it easy to deal with. Given how personal the experience seemed to be, it would be hard to believe that the experience didn't play a role in Molyneux's decision to "go indie".
The "22 Cans" chapter of the Peter Molyneux story has just begun, so we're a long way from knowing anything about his next game with any certainty. For now, it seems that Molyneux really wants to get as far away from the restrictions of his position at Microsoft as he possibly can.