Sometimes a developer has to have the courage to walk away from a project, even at the risk of being labeled an “under delivering visionary”, says Markus “Notch” Persson.
As the creator of Minecraft, there was an awful lot of expectation placed on Persson’s next game 0x10c and an understandable amount of noise in the gaming press when he revealed he was no longer working on the title.
In a new blog post, Persson has described why he walked away from the space exploration sim, and what he’s interested in doing next.
“It was quite ambitious, but I was fairly sure I could pull it off,” he said of 0x10c.
“And besides, if I failed, so what? A lot of my prototypes fail way before they get anywhere at all.”
But the pressure to deliver after releasing a sensation like Minecraft was more than anticipated, and Persson said this made it a lot harder to do what might need doing – to abandon the prototype.
“What I hadn’t considered was that a lot more people cared about my games now,” Persson explained.
“People got incredibly excited, and the pressure of suddenly having people care if the game got made or not started zapping the fun out of the project.”
Things got so intense that Notch considered dropping out of game development entirely.
Perhaps the lesson could be that it’s unwise to talk about current projects until they’re more than just prototypes, but Persson says that “doesn’t really come all that natural to me.”
“Over time I kinda just stopped working on it, and then eventually decided to mentally file it as “on ice” and try doing some smaller things,” he said.
“Turns out, what I love doing is making games. Not hyping games or trying to sell a lot of copies. I just want to experiment and develop and think and tinker and tweak.”
Recently Persson participated in the Seven Day FPS game jam and he says the experience provided him not only with some of the most fun he’s had while programming in months, but with a new sense of the sort of project he wants to work on.
“I want to do smaller games that can fail. I want to experiment and develop and think and tinker and tweak,” he concluded.
“So that’s what I’m going to do.”