Ambitious developer Peter Molyneux has made the brave admission that developing a game about the player’s relationship with a young boy presents particular challenges thanks to the very public fear about paedophilia.
When asked by USA Today about the process needed to get the game into a finished, releasable state, the European creative director of Microsoft Game Studios stated: There’s a lot of huge mountains to climb before that happens.
The reason for that is it is enormously contentious for us to do a game, a story, an experience, about a boy. You are immediately appealing to all the dark thoughts of humanity.
I actually love that, the idea of being so contentious that it makes people turn around and say, ‘You can’t do a story about a boy.’ But, for me, doing that in that way is absolutely right.
After all, for me one of the best films I saw last year was about an old man and a boy scout. It was called Up. If I described for you this story, ‘It’s about an old man and a Boy Scout, strangers meeting and living together and going on adventures, you’d say, ‘You can’t do that. It’s out of the question.’ What you look for in drama and story is uniqueness and you look for experiences that people haven’t had before and I think it’s good to get it on a contentious level.”
The industry has, understandably, not been keen to discuss the potential problems the release of a game like Milo & Kate could pose. Indeed, it took TV critic and former games journalist Charlie Brooker to breach the subject.
In October 2009 Brooker told MCV of his initial reaction to Microsoft’s Natal (now Kinect): I just immediately thought that the pornographic applications of this are positively frightening. Porn is always what drives these things.
Imagine if there’s a game where someone comes home and they’re standing in their room with their dick out whilst they’re fellated on the screen by an entire youth orchestra. It’s going to be just horrible. It’s all very saccharine in that video but it’s opening the door. Most video game world are not really that nice, much the same as with books and movies.”
Brooker later claimed that the comments had upset Molyneux.
On the plus side, when asked if consumers will ever get to play the game (a proposition over which a large question mark still hangs) Molyneux replied: I think so, eventually, I do.
I don’t think of it as a released product at the moment. I still think this is a very, very big tech demo. I don’t think of it as something that would be a boxed product on the shelf.”