When Peter Molyneux speaks, people tend to listen. But like any rockstar icon the man behind Populous and Black & White is no stranger to dividing opinion. Just take his recent comments on the Xbox One.
After leaving Lionhead Studios and Microsoft last year, Molyneux moved over to join former Lionhead CTO Tim Rance at 22Cans - a far cry from the world of Fable - where he's now focusing on projects smaller but arguably more ambitious.
"Being an indie gamer means you can be completely experimental," he tells TechRadar. "You can take risks that are very very hard to take when you're a big studio of hundreds of people and it's costing thousands of pounds a minute to run a studio."
Take Curiosity - What's Inside the Cube? A social experiment more than a game, the app invited participants to tap away at a giant cube over months until one lucky person hit the middle. That individual was given the opportunity to play the role of God in the studio's upcoming game Godus.
Godus is a Populus for a new decade and set to launch on PC, Mac and mobile with a Steam beta release on September 13. The civilisation creation simulator will, Molyneux believes, reinvent the God genre that he himself created all those years ago. And he reckons that mobile is the place for this to happen.
"The indies are the ones that are really going to expand with mobile," he says. "At the moment the larger publishers have a toe in the mobile space and the smartphone space, but they're not fully embracing it. They're not saying to themselves 'our future is going to be mobiles'.
"So there's this schizophrenic nature about development at the moment. 'Should I go for the console? Should I go for the traditional retail model where you make the game, you release the game - within an hour of releasing the game you've made back your development costs and within a week you're in profit?'
"'Or shall I throw that idea of a potential huge pile of money coming from retail away and embrace mobile?' And unless you embrace something, unless you immerse yourself in something, it's very hard to innovate and find the love in something which instills those new experiences."
Embrace it fully. Got it. But as Molyneux adds, "If you're approaching mobile and saying 'I've done this game on consoles, I'll do that game again on touch', that generally speaking won't work."
Viva la revolución
Godus may hope to reinvent the God game genre but perhaps we're all still waiting on something much bigger. "There is inevitably going to be some game that touches the whole world," says Molyneux, though of course he isn't so bold as to claim that Godus will be the one to do this despite his habit of over-hyping.
"We're talking about a game that becomes a fad for tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of people. It's the equivalent of a gaming Twitter of a gaming Facebook. That is definitely going to happen and it's going to happen on mobile.
"I think the iteration speed of mobile is changing so fast that us in the gaming industry are having to sprint to keep up, and it's going to continue to evolve and that evolution means inevitably that gaming is going to be with us all the time."
We're not far away from this big event, according to Molyneux, who thinks we'll see this happen within the next decade. The likes of Farmville have changed the way we perceive gaming and this will be key to the next big thing.
"Ten years in the future pretty much everyone who has a mobile phone will be interacting with some sort of gaming experience all the time. That may sound ridiculous but we've all got Facebook accounts and a huge number of us use twitter every day. And if I said ten years ago that every aspect of your life you're going to volunteer and put online and show off to countless strangers. Your latest birthday party. You'd have called me crazy."
Probably. "Then you've got all the interconnectability," he says. "There are going to be so many discoveries in the world of gaming and outside gaming of what actually happens psychologically when you connect people together. As delightful as Twitter is at the moment, I think with in gaming there could be some brilliant experiences."
"So in ten years' time there's going to be these amazing franchises that are going to be worldwide obsessions."
Which brings us to touch itself. You'd be hard pressed to find many gaming enthusiasts that would choose a classic controller over an iPad screen, but according to Molyneux this is a generation gap that's about to close - and we think he might be right.
"A lot of the games that were really successful on controller were successful because they were built for controllers," he says. "And I think the same is true of touch. A lot of the successful things on touch are going to be successful because they're built from the ground up for touch.
"Imagine we had a touch world and we didn't have controllers, and I said to you, 'Right, I've invented this thing called a controller. It's got a thumbstick one side, four buttons the other side. Thats going to cause a revolution in gaming.' You'd probably think 'Well that's ridiculous, it must be so limiting to do that'."
"It's only in the last five years that we've really squeezed all the goodness out of controllers.
"It's only now that we're realising that it's not just about precision, it's about feel. It's about how it feels to tap a cube, or how it feels to put down a little troop in Clash of Clans….It sounds a bit zen to say it's all about how it feels, but it really is."
And as Molyneux quite rightly points out, a lot of consumers dealing with touch "are dealing with games for the very first time". This is the only way they've ever known how to play.
"I think there's a long way to go with touch," he adds. I think we're going to play some games in the next two, three, four years that are just going to totally blow us away. There's already talk about haptic light touch. So your finger can feel the screen as well as touch the screen, which I find very exciting."
"So you'll pull your finger over something and it will feel like fur or pull your finger over something and it will feel smooth. I think in ten years the resolution of touch will get more and more. There are still very low resolution touch devices. I think the touch we've got now will be looked back on in ten years' time and we'll say 'I can't believe we ever used those devices'."
- Want more gaming? Then check out the best free Android games out at the moment.