Peter Molyneux is a creator of great video games, a recipient of the Order of the British Empire, and in the first week of June he'll be the world's greatest E3 pundit.
The former head of Lionhead Studios and lead creator of such hits as Fable and Populous recently left Microsoft to become an indie developer at his new start-up 22 Cans. Lucky for us, that frees one of the video game's great visionaries and talkers to sound off on everything at E3.
Molyneux will be joining Spike TV's All Access Live marathon coverage of the first two days of E3, hopping in the pundit's seat alongside master of ceremonies Geoff Keighley to sound off on all of the show's biggest, best and worst news. Geoff, Peter and the rest of the Spike team will also be joined by a rotating team of Kotaku editors, all of us providing live analysis of the big Microsoft, Sony, Xbox, EA and Ubisoft press conferences — and much more, no doubt. The coverage will begin which on Monday, June 4 at 11.30am Eastern (1.30am AEST). We're partnering with Spike to stream all of that to you right here on Kotaku as well.
It's highly unusual to have a developer like Molyneux sitting in as a special correspondent to cover all the big gaming companies. Earlier this week, Geoff, Peter and I exchanged a few emails about all this. Here they are:
From: Geoff Keighley To: Peter Molyneux, Stephen Totilo
As I write this we are just three weeks away from the start of our live E3 coverage on Spike. I couldn't be more excited that you are joining our team as special correspondent throughout our 17 hours of worldwide coverage. For many years we've covered E3 like a major sporting event or election on Spike, but there's always been something missing: The insider's perspective. When you think about it, it's the rule rather than the exception that the Super Bowl broadcast features commentary from a former champ, or a network's election coverage will set context with thoughts from a former White House staffer. But up until this year broadcast coverage of E3 has remained the domain of journalists and analysts.
A few months ago I began thinking about how to take our E3 coverage to another level, which will include also commentary from Stephen and his editors at Kotaku for the second year running. I smirked at the mere thought of someone like you sitting at our E3 anchor desk, commenting on the press conference announcements and quizzing peers about their new games. Given your new independent status at 22 Cans, I sent you an email to ask if you'd be interested, because honestly I couldn't imagine anyone else who would be better at guiding our audience through the news. To my amazement you instantly said yes!
I'm sure this E3 will be different for you without a game to promote or back-to-back media appointments all day, but the upside is that you'll get to see a lot more games at our studio from big developers and indie studios. I know our viewers will be excited to hear your snap judgment and analysis.
I'm very excited and honored to have you on the team! Going into the show, what do you think will be the big story of E3 2012?
From: Peter To: Geoff, Stephen
Geoff & Stephen
I have long admired your work at E3, and always wondered what life would be like to be on your side, rather than that of the developer. So when your email flew into my inbox I did not hesitate to say yes.
I am already losing sleep though excitement!
This E3 is going to be fascinating . Thoughts:
- Sony and Msft are holding their breath on next gen interesting to see how they pad out another year. Price cuts, form factors?
- Nintendo's slightly lack lustre Wii U is going to have to blow us away with better specs and great 1st party line up.
- The real challenge is how the players are going to adapt to the mounting pressure of Facebook, Apple, Social, Cloud, Multi-Gaming.
- Is the biggest news that E3 itself runs the risk of being outdated, or perhaps it already is?
- I guess I am excited about GTA V, but only in a mildly curious way.
- I am excited, as always, to hear from Valve.
- I would expect some announcement from Bungie
- God only knows what COD will have to destroy in the Press briefing demo, after last year's destruction of NY.
Thank you so much for having me on the team, please ask you makeup people to stock up on makeup for my bald shiny head.
From: Stephen To: Peter, Geoff
This should be fun. It should also do wonders for Geoff's hair. Geoff, next to me and Peter you're going to look like you've got a lion's mane on your head. We're going to make you look good!
Peter, I like what Geoff is saying about how all these other big TV events include all-star veterans on their broadcasts and that it's high time someone like you was part of an E3 broadcast. That implies, of course, that there are things that reporters like me or Geoff don't see or see differently at an E3 than someone in your position would. Do you have a sense of what it is that game reporters tend to miss or look at differently?
Do we, say, miss some of the technical improvements that show up in E3 games from year to year? Or do you find yourself more capable of spotting the meddling of a publisher or a game demo that's all smoke-and-mirrors than someone in the E3 press corps might? I've got to think you can sniff some things out that I'd never even get a whiff of.
From: Peter To: Stephen, Geoff
Really depends on who you interview, so:
In Press Briefings it's all about what it means for the future, spotting the trends and asking why they didn't do the obvious. In my experience of EA and Msft its spotting the paranoia which is most fun.
For developers its getting though the desperation and finding the real passion (if any)
For publishers its understanding what's at stake and understanding motivation.
For PR people, I guess it's about poking and having fun with their often over the top PR speak.
In every developers heart is the fear that their work will be measured against the ‘Pillars' used in Publisher meetings when a project is green lit. If there is enough time going into detail about what the Pillars are and what they say about why a game/sequel is made, I think is fascinating.
From: Geoff To: Peter, Stephen
I love how you are framing up E3. Yes it's about the games, but it's also about the people behind those games and the emotional journey they go through during E3. As you well know, developers work for months to prepare their E3 demos. Things don't always pan out as they would hope. Having been at every E3, I always find it fascinating to see which games become the talk of the hallways and which ones start to lose traction. There really is so much at stake, and your insight into the E3 experience from a developer's perspective will add a unique angle to our coverage.
I can't wait to have you and Stephen join me in just a few short weeks to continue this discussion in person!
There you go. Peter Molyneux... E3 special correspondent. This is going to be awesome!
You'll be able to watch all of E3's biggest moments — the big five press conferences, the between-conferences analysis by Peter Molyneux, Geoff and the Kotaku team — on Spike TV and right here, live-streamed to Kotaku starting June 4.
We'll have more information about our E3 partnership with Spike's All Access team as the big show approaches.