Peter Molyneux says Project Milo was a real game that worked on better technology
Rest in peace, Milo.
Peter Molyneux has been heavily criticized for his ambitious games that typically underdeliver. He constantly announced games that promised to be revolutionary, yet always turned out to be pretty normal. One of these games was codenamed Project Milo and was a game used to demonstrate the power of the Xbox 360's Kinect.
The demo shown for Project Milo showed a virtual little boy in the game interacting with the real player. He was able to recognize the player, have conversations, and more. Using the Kinect, players could also scan in real life objects to give to Milo. It blew people away and was one of the reasons why the Kinect was such a disappointment for many.
The game never actually released and there was nothing remotely like it when the Kinect was released. Peter Molyneux was the one who got the most hate for this, but it turns out he may have been just as disappointed as fans were.
Speaking with OXM, Molyneux said that Microsoft initially pitched the Kinect as something much bigger and powerful than it ended up being.
"... when Microsoft came and said we’re doing this new device, which was way before Kinect was ever public, and they asked for my take on it – I saw the device and the way it was sold to me was that you could be in a room with lots of other people, and this device can pick you out, it knows it’s you, it will recognise your voice, gestures, finger movements, the whole shebang.
My first reaction to seeing that early tech was thinking that the last thing you’d want to do with it is make a first-person shooter. People would easily get tired of that. If Kinect really worked it would connect – sorry – players to interactive experiences we’d never imagined before."
Molyneux also revealed that Milo was a real game with hours of content but never ended up seeing the light of day due to the fact that the Kinect got downgraded over time. Milo wouldn't have worked with the Kinect we ended up getting because of technical limitations, it would've only worked on something that would've been much more expensive.
"Going back a bit with Milo, we started development, we were doing really exciting stuff like showing it to Steven Spielberg, but unfortunately Kinect started getting worse and worse. The field of view went down from being virtually a whole room to a narrow corridor in that room. All these changes because they realised the prototype would have cost thousands of dollars to make and in the end they needed something to sell for a hundred dollars.
At one point they were really keen on Milo, then of course they decided it... well, I wasn’t party to those meetings to be honest, but once the marketing people weren’t behind it it was very hard to get it pushed through. You know, a great shame. The tech worked and it was an amazing experience."
Personally, I don't think Molyneux was tricked or anything, I think everyone overestimated what they could actually do. They got a bit too carried away with creating ambitious ideas instead of focusing on what they could actually produce.
It's a shame Milo never came to fruition, but I don't doubt we will eventually get something like it in the future. With things like virtual reality, we could see something very close to Milo. There are already games and tech demos like Gary the Gull on PS4 that replicate similar ideas, with more time we could eventually see a "spirtiual successor" to Milo.
Molyneux also talked about the idea of a Fable 4 and how he would be open to working on one, despite the troubles he encountered with Microsoft.