8 Game Designers Who Hated Their Own Creations

Super Mario Bros. 3: One of the best games ever - or an embarrassment?

Shigeru Miyamoto Mario 3

Impostor syndrome is a very real and very difficult pattern of anxiety which afflicts just about everybody on the creative spectrum at one period or another, or in some cases, ad infinitum.

The prevailing fear is that, no matter the objective strength of your personal accomplishments, and the undeniable body of work acting as evidence, someday, somebody will discover that you're really a fraud. A phony. Somebody convinced their success is entirely down to the whims of divine providence, rather than earned.

Someone, who for example, stretches out an introductory concept across 100 words to mask their lack of direction. This spirit of this preceding sentence defines the condition.

As with most things in life, a solipsistic hypocrisy dictates attitudes. In other words, we're absolutely certain that one day we'll be found out, that our own mental self-flagellation is utterly justified. When it comes to others manifesting similar sentiments, they're humbly bragging, projecting false modesty, or otherwise talking out of their arse.

Ultimately, all of this is a roundabout way of introducing the idea that Shigeru Miyamoto is "embarrassed" about Super Mario Bros. 3. We can't write a better intro.

8. Peter Molyneux (Fable II)

Shigeru Miyamoto Mario 3

Veteran game designer Peter Molyneux is a bona-fide legend of the industry, but his well-earned reputation took a sizable buffeting when he promised the planet with Fable II, only to deliver a pebble.

Whilst the sequel to one of the Xbox's most highly regarded exclusives was by no means a terrible game - in actual fact, it was a ruddy bloody good one - it didn't quite alter the industry to the seismic extent its creator's bluster had suggested. The much vaunted dog, as Molyneux later admitted, was "just a dog" after all.

The benefit of hindsight has provided Molyneux with an even greater degree of hitherto unknown humility. Whilst presenting a Fable III demo two years after its predecessor, the distinguished dev candidly stated Fable II's story was "rubbish" - and he extended this opinion to a whole slew of its other features. At the Develop conference in the same year, Molyneux repeated his sentiments, telling attendees that the sequel had "huge design flaws."

Did he learn the lesson from all his hyperbole then? Not at all, again claiming to sweep the stars with Fable III, and most recently, crowd-funded Populous follow-up Godus. Molyneux, to be fair, has since readily conceded that, “The trouble is, I’m a terrible PR person.”

Editorial Team
Editorial Team

Benjamin was born in 1987, and is still not dead. He variously enjoys classical music, old-school adventure games (they're not dead), and walks on the beach (albeit short - asthma, you know). He's currently trying to compile a comprehensive history of video game music, yet denies accusations that he purposefully targets niche audiences. He's often wrong about these things.