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News Molyneux: "Demos are a horrible concept"

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by CardJoe, 1 Jul 2010.

  1. Sloth

    Sloth #yolo #swag

    29 Nov 2006
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    Sounds like he's really arguing semantics, but is his suggestion really that bad? All sorts of people bitch and moan about lack of demos and he goes and says he wants to make the first hour of all of his games free and people complain even more.

    I think it sounds like a pretty nice idea. Play the first bit of the game for free, get a feel for it, get the story set up a bit. Then, once you've played through you get the option to simply keep on playing. Look at the success of free trials in MMOs: if you don't like it you stop playing, if you do you pretty seamlessly keep on playing without interruption. Also requires less effort to produce because it's an existing part of the game.

    Thinking back to CoD4's demo I can see why Molyneux would feel a demo will simply sate a gamer's desire rather than entice them. In the CoD4 demo you start out on a random mission with no background information and no attachment to the story, get some fun shooting things around for a bit, then helicopters come save the day and it's concluded. You've already covered 75% of the game gameplay wise so there's not much new to get by buying it, and it does very little to make an appealing story. I doubt I'd have even bought the game if it had any sort of competition (it was a much needed replacement for CS:S in my life).

    Steam free weekends are also pretty sweet. I like that they're usually for multiplayer coverage.
  2. Elton

    Elton Officially a Whisky Nerd

    23 Jan 2009
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    It's a good idea.

    However: How would you do that on a racing game? Would you only give the player the first few slow cars? He's suggesting the same thing as was done already, but it can't be universally applied.
  3. Helz

    Helz What's a Dremel?

    16 Feb 2009
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    It's been a long time since I bothered with a demo. I always read a lot of reviews and check out game forums before I decide to buy. I can't remember ever playing a demo though that wasn't more than the first or second level of the whole game. I don't see how using content you've already created is "an enormous amount of design talent."

    I haven't played a Molyneux game since Fable 1. He used to have a fair amount of the gaming world fooled into believing he was a genius. After playing Fable, which was barely mediocre and had about 20% of the content he claimed it would, I just chalked him up as a big fat liar.
  4. Altron

    Altron Minimodder

    12 Dec 2002
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    Just like in movies... the first needle of heroin is always free!
    Elton likes this.
  5. Altron

    Altron Minimodder

    12 Dec 2002
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    It depends on the game, TBH. I feel like a game that breaks or even bends the mold might need a demo to convince you to try something out of your 'comfort zone' of tried-and-true games. Whether it's a custom scripted demo, or just the first level of the game doesn't really matter. But it can certainly help a game that you are unsure about or don't know what to expect from.

    MW2 doesn't need a demo. It's as far inside as the box as you can get. Don't get me wrong, there have been some great reviews for it, and I know my brother thoroughly enjoys it, but it's more of an instance of them taking a very popular game and polishing and improving it than them coming out with a whole new concept. In general, games don't need demos if they are the direct sequel to a popular game. If you say "Call of Duty", people know exactly what they're getting. There might be minor changes to gameplay, and added content, but in general, anyone who liked the originals will also like the new releases.

    When the next Halo comes out, when the next GTA comes out, when the next Starcraft comes out, when the next Half Life comes out - nobody is going to need a demo. They know what the gameplay will be like. They know the games will be fun. They've played the predecessors, and are very familiar with them. Maybe some people will want demos so they can ooohhhh and aaaahhh at the fancy improved graphics, or check out some of the new features and content that's been added, but few will play the demo to genuinely evaluate whether the gameplay is something they will enjoy or not, because they know exactly what the gameplay will be like. The people who like the old games will just cut to the chase and buy the new games.

    MW2 sold that many copies because of how popular MW was, and how many MW players wanted to get MW2. It's not because it was such an amazing game that people who had never even heard of CoD before decided to rush out to the stores and buy it sight-unseen. It built on the popularity of it's predecessors.

    It's only when a game comes out that doesn't follow the molds of previous games when a demo is truly needed. If it's a game that doesn't fall into a certain genre, or puts an exciting new twist on something, that's when a demo is nice to show you if it is a game you might enjoy.
  6. eternum

    eternum *blam* shotgun fanhole

    14 Oct 2007
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    That's Molyneaux - someone just daft and arrogant enough to pan something, reintroduce the same thing using different words as some kind revolutionary idea... and then invent his own new word to describe it. Hmmm, kinda sounds like the whole fable series.
  7. Cool_CR

    Cool_CR What's a Dremel?

    3 Oct 2009
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    Do you think if you get him to say his name backwords he has to go back to his own dimention
  8. KayinBlack

    KayinBlack Currently Rebuilding

    2 Jul 2004
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    Well, I released a demo, and when I release the game, short of bug fixes, that will be it. Screw episodic, TBH where's HL2 Ep 3? If I wrote anything but my serial novel episodic we'd never get anywhere (BTW, there's more kittychicken action I need to set in print...)

    Developer here saying episodic sucks, demo was useful-I proved that I can make engaging gameplay. Now to make it sufficiently long. Back to the grindstone...
  9. gavomatic57

    gavomatic57 Minimodder

    23 Apr 2009
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    Demo's are a bad idea for the developer if the game isn't good enough to sell. All you are doing by releasing them is warning them off - so I can see where he is coming from. He hasn't made a game I've wanted to buy for a very long time.

    The Half Life 2 demo on Steam basically sold the game to me - I had to buy it there and then.
  10. memeroot

    memeroot aged and experianced

    31 Oct 2009
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    Lets look at his game list amd decide whether we should listen to him....

    I've just highlighted some of my fave games ever just to help... oh and the fable series is loved by my wife and kid so they're highlighted also (I also secretly have a lot of time for them also I have to admit

    The Entrepreneur (1984) (designer/programmer)
    Druid 2
    [edit]Bullfrog Productions
    Fusion (1987) (designer/programmer)
    Populous (1989) (designer/programmer)
    Powermonger (1990) (designer/programmer)
    Populous II: Trials of the Olympian Gods (1991) (designer/programmer)
    Syndicate (1993) (producer)
    Theme Park (1994) (project leader/lead programmer)
    Magic Carpet (1994) (executive producer)

    Hi-Octane (1995) (executive producer)
    Genewars (1996)
    Dungeon Keeper (1997) (project leader/designer)
    [edit]Lionhead Studios
    Black & White (2001) (concept/lead designer/programmer)
    Fable (2004) (designer)
    Fable: The Lost Chapters (2005) (designer)
    The Movies (2005) (executive designer)
    Black & White 2 (2005) (lead designer)

    The Movies: Stunts & Effects (2006) (executive designer)
    Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods (2006) (lead designer)
    Fable II (2008) (lead designer)

    Milo and Kate (formerly known as The Dmitri Project) (TBA) (lead designer)
    Fable III (2010) (Lead Designer)
  11. Elledan

    Elledan What's a Dremel?

    4 Feb 2009
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    My company will be releasing our first game soon ( www.nyanko.ws/ecd ) and you bet we'll have a demo. I don't see how an episodic approach would work for this game, and making a demo is as easy as stripping out most of the levels. Takes maybe an hour to wrap it all up.

    I can see the appeal of playing a demo, installing the full version and playing on from where you left off in the demo, but this is something which would only work for some games. A puzzle/platformer game like we're making would not significantly benefit from it.
  12. do_it_anyway

    do_it_anyway Minimodder

    24 Apr 2009
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    I have 2 words.
    Angry Birds

    Released as a free version with limited play time. Sold for cheap as chips price for full version. Result - On the App store it is the highest grossing app out there. Out-grossing the TomTom app which sells for over £50.
    The moral surely is that demo's and sensible pricing lead to profits. Greed, smoke and mirrors doesn't.
  13. Kiytan

    Kiytan Shiny

    2 Jul 2009
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    one of my friends also made an incredibly good point:

    It would completely screw with the difficulty curve.
    in games like HL:ep1 its fine, as they are self contained games (just set with an overarching story) whereas his idea sounds like you buy the game in three parts (or more) parts, so either chapter 3 starts off damned hard, or throughout the game (if you own them all) there is luls in difficulty.
  14. Oggyb

    Oggyb Mutant

    15 Jun 2010
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    You'll find that in ANY great game. It's all part of story telling and letting the player recover from any fatigue he's encountered playing that previous boss.

    What did you do immediately post-helicopter gunship in HL2? Was it more or less difficult than beating the gunship?

    I think episodic (and chapter-based) games definitely have their place and releasing the first chapter as a bundle, or free as a demo is fair play if it increases your sales and generates player loyalty.

    If it does the above, you've created a great game.
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