Peter Molyneux is undoubtedly one of gaming’s most dynamic developers and one of the industry’s most prominent figures, yet he has a tendency to get underneath the skin of both gamers and critics alike when he lets his enthusiasm for creating games get in the way of what his studio is actually capable of producing.
Molyneux has made it a habit of giving previews regarding games in the early stages of development, and detailing features and content that often fall well short of what appears in the actual, final product. You may remember being excited at one point about playing the original Fable cooperatively.
I was equally excited when Project Natal was introduced to us back at E3 2009, and was just as thoroughly disappointed when Molyneux’s planned “Milo and Kate” game was canceled. Sarcasm aside, the tech featured in Natal was nothing short of astounding. An AI structure that responds to human interactions including speech and gestures was certainly an entertaining way to introduce Microsoft’s then-new motion control device called “Kinect”, but as much as Molyneux hyped it, the product itself never came to fruition and the technology seemed to disappear completely over the years. That was before E3 2011, when Fable: The Journey was announced, which will reportedly include elements from the Natal tech including voice and emotion recognition.
Molyneux has finally caught on to his tedious inclination, but instead of forcing himself to become more restrained in public interviews, he’s fully embracing it with outlandish style. Through his Twitter account, Molyneux released a very perplexing, bizarrely enticing “game trailer” for what would be his most ambitious undertaking ever should he ever decide to actually create it.
The humorously crafted trailer for “Cascore” details a game that would implement the best of both casual and hardcore titles. How does a developer attempt to tackle this seemingly impossible task? By combining the genres of bowling and survival horror, of course. Cascore would require players to take out the undead by the use of just one weapon – a bowling ball, all while protecting what is presumably your child.
In all honesty, there have been crazier ideas for games that have done very well commercially or at the least, have developed some sort of cult following. Write it off as Molyneux finally going off the deep end if you’d like, but Cascore is a game that strangely enough could have enormous potential as an underground hit. Four years ago, if someone were to pitch a game idea that featured players solving a series of puzzles using a gun with the ability to create inter-spatial portals that could teleport the character, with the promise of cake should all of the puzzles be completed, chances are they would be colored insane. It is unconventionality and original concepts that set one developer apart from the others who continue to flood an over-saturated game market with the same ideas.
That is exactly what Cascore is at its root. The game has everything that gamers look for in a potential buy including attack combos, blood-thristy zombies, and pure, unadulterated fun with a concept that seems uncanny at face value. Yet it has two major flaws that would make me question its legitimacy.
Firstly, how do you get your ball back when mowing down zombies as if they were pins? The last sort of weapon one would want during a zombie apocalypse is one they would have to chase after every time they used it. Secondly, the game would be released for Kinect. Judging by Microsoft’s E3 press conference this past year, I will most likely pass on anything being released exclusively for the 360’s motion sensor (See Star Wars Kinect and Kinect Sports Season 2).
As intriguing an idea as Cascore is, it’s probably one that will not be under development anytime soon, and that’s a damn shame. It has the potential to be a success and that statement perhaps says quite a bit about the stagnant condition in which the gaming industry is in. But hey, Molyneux believes that players will form such an emotional bond with their horse that they will actually cry. A game where players bowl their way through an army of the undead might not be far behind.