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Dungeon Keeper keeps on

Dungeon Keeper spent years in development and underwent numerous redesigns
EA was simply trying to keep a potential competitor out of creative meetings. Bing Gordon sees Molyneux's departure as an unfortunate result of a process that every independent designer goes through when brought into a large company. "Many of the entrepreneurs that start studios face a period of adjustment when they come into EA. Suddenly, they have to worry about things like shareholders, the relationship between studios; you almost have to worry about your own identity. People react to it in different ways. Peter's reaction was different than he expected it to be. And it was different than we expected it to be."

Molyneux's resignation took place nearly a year before it was announced. According to his deal, he would finish Dungeon Keeper, which was already months late, and give EA a few months to find a replacement. But Dungeon Keeper was far from finished. A few months turned into a year, and EA became increasingly dissatisfied. Not only was Bullfrog's golden boy leaving, but he was taking a great deal of time finishing up his game in the process.

Six weeks before it was scheduled to ship, Molyneux decided the game needed a serious redesign. Faced with another setback, EA told Molyneux that they weren't so sure they wanted to carry on with Dungeon Keeper's development. So Molyneux took the responsibility of the game on himself. "I told EA, 'I'll pay for the game to be finished.' And so the whole team moved into my house and finished the game."

Dungeon Keeper was finished nearly two years after its original scheduled release. But Dungeon Keeper as it was released was put together almost entirely in the last few months; long into the development cycle the team scrapped the entire game and started anew. "By the time two years had gone past, it looked virtually as it did when it was released, but it played like Command & Conquer in a dungeon. And so we started again."

Next: Reactions to Dungeon Keeper
 
 

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