In the history of videogames, there are few botches more infamous than that of Godus. Envisioned as a god game in the style of Molyneux’s earlier work on the groundbreaking Populous, it was also intended to be the home of the winner of Curiosity, the game about smashing away pieces of a cube to reach the mysterious prize inside—a prize that turned out to be godhood in Godus.
This was where things started to go wrong. Molyneux quickly began dialing back the scale of the promised “life-changing” prize, and then Godus itself turned out to be pretty much garbola, and then it was all abandoned (including the winner of the Curiosity prize) until 2016, when Molyneux’s 22cans studio resurfaced with Godus Wars, a warfare-focused take on the idea of the original. Guess what? Also garbola, also abandoned.
Both games have lingered on Steam, trapped in a swampy torpor of early access and long-forgotten negative user reviews. But now their suffering is almost over: 22cans has announced that both games are being taken down.
“22cans would like to share important news regarding our games, Godus and Godus Wars,” the studio wrote in a message posted on the Steam store pages for both games. “Regrettably, due to an upcoming technical change to Amazon Web Services, affecting our ability to serve necessary game files to new users, these titles are to be withdrawn from the Steam store. Please be assured that existing players can continue to enjoy these games without interruption.
“We sincerely appreciate the incredible support from our players over the past decade and extend our heartfelt thanks to you all.”
It’s easy to poke fun at the idea of “incredible support” from players because for the most part, Godus and Godus Wars just pissed people off and shredded Molyneux’s reputation, which had been well-earned over the previous 20 years with an enviable run of games including Populous, Syndicate, Magic Carpet, Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper, Black and White, and Fable. And it’s not as though there’s any kind of community around them: According to Steam Charts, nine people are currently playing Godus (perhaps driven by curiosity following the announcement—that’s double the average concurrent player count over the past 30 days), and there’s literally nobody playing Godus Wars right now.
Even so, it feels to me like the end of an era. Godus and Godus Wars may have been lousy games but they were interesting bits of history from a time when Molyneux’s words still carried some weight—it seems so long ago now—and I’m just a wee little bit bummed out to see them go. Maybe it’s partly because it means we’ll never again get to see a headline like this:
(Image credit: Future)
But maybe we will. Earlier this year, after inflicting a blockchain-based business sim called Legacy upon the world, Molyneux teased his next project, a new game set in the world of Albion called MOAT, which he hopes will “counter the whole notion that everything I say is a promise that’s going to be broken.” I hope it does.