The news of the removal of Godus and its spin-off Godus Wars from the Steam store comes as no surprise to those familiar with the controversial history of these games. Developed by studio 22cans and spearheaded by industry veteran Peter Molyneux, these titles failed to meet the expectations set by their ambitious promises. This article will explore the factors behind their downfall and the cautionary tale they represent in the gaming industry.
The Rise and Fall of Godus
Godus, which was crowdfunded on Kickstarter and raised an impressive £526,563 in 2012, aimed to revolutionize the god game genre. With Molyneux’s involvement, known for his work on popular games like Populous and Black & White, excitement and anticipation were high. However, when Godus was released in 2013, players were greeted with a disappointingly barebones experience that bore little resemblance to Molyneux’s earlier classics.
Promised features such as multiplayer, a Linux version, and independence from a publisher failed to materialize. It became evident that 22cans had overpromised during the Kickstarter campaign, with many elements being unachievable due to technical limitations and the use of middleware. Molyneux himself admitted to succumbing to the pressure of securing funding, resulting in inflated claims and unattainable goals.
The Ill-Fated Godus Wars
In an attempt to salvage the Godus brand, 22cans released Godus Wars in 2016. Marketed as a combat-oriented spin-off with multiplayer support, this installment was originally intended to be free for owners of the original Godus. However, players were shocked to discover that only the first continent was free, and they were required to pay £5 to continue beyond that point.
To further compound the disappointment, Godus Wars remained unfinished, with numerous features and promises left unfulfilled. Molyneux’s repeated failures with Godus highlighted his tendency to overpromise while making grand statements about his next projects, only to disappoint once again.
Despite the setbacks of Godus and Godus Wars, 22cans continued to develop and release games. Their most recent title, Legacy, a business management and invention simulation game, received mixed reviews. However, the studio’s decision to embrace the Web3 blockchain technology and sell £40 million worth of NFT land prior to the game’s launch raised eyebrows.
Molyneux, ever the visionary, teased a fantasy RPG set in Albion, a name familiar to fans of Lionhead’s Fable franchise. The development blog for this project was launched in October, showcasing Molyneux’s ongoing desire to create innovative gaming experiences. However, given the track record of unfulfilled promises, skepticism surrounds his future ventures.
The removal of Godus and Godus Wars from the Steam store was inevitable, considering the negative reception and ongoing lack of updates for these titles. It is a reminder that the promises made during crowdfunding campaigns should be approached with skepticism, as developers may struggle to deliver on their ambitious visions.
Rather than viewing Molyneux as a benevolent and irrepressibly creative figure, it is crucial to recognize him as a businessman who prioritizes financial gain over product quality. The enthralling charm of his interviews and promotional campaigns should not overshadow the fact that he has not produced a truly remarkable game in over a decade.
The removal of Godus and Godus Wars serves as a cautionary tale for both developers and consumers in the gaming industry. It highlights the importance of managing expectations and delivering on promises. The legacy of these games will be one of unfulfilled potential and missed opportunities, reminding us to approach ambitious projects with a healthy dose of skepticism.