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Curiosity Uncovered: We discover what's in the cube

Reporting live from Molyneux's App Store experiment

Posted at 17:05 BST on May 26

We have a winner! Will he reveal the secret? Hit the link for full details on the Curiosity cube winner and his secret.

According to creator Peter Molyneux, the winning user who reached the center of the virtual Curiosity cube lives in the UK and now needs to verify their victory via e-mail.

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Posted at 16:22 on 1st May

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Woah!

After a bit of a hiatus there's some huge news for you.

WE ARE DOWN TO THE FINAL FIFTY LAYERS

Word to the wise: you need to update Curiosity on the App Store / Google Play in order to reach the final fifty layers.

22 Cans has confirmed the news via a video sent to CVG, and the studio has also offered us the chance to interview its co-founder Peter Molyneux, which you can read below the video.

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Stuck in the middle with you

An interview with Peter Molyneux
by Rob Crossley

CVG: Today marks the countdown to the final 50 layers remaining on Curiosity. Did you always have a plan for how many layers there were going to be in the end?
MOLYNEUX: Well yes and no. No, in as much as, we thought to ourselves that if Curiosity went on for about six months then people would just get bored with it, and we really wanted the world to get to the middle, because what's in the middle is something that's truly exciting and life changing.

If this just carries on for another year, then people are just going to lose interest and - justifiably - would turn to us and say "you cheating bastards there's no middle is there!"

But we never believed we would be where we are now which is past 270 layers now. We're talking about 25 billion cubes destroyed so far. That is a vast number. If one person had to do that it would take them 806 years to do it. There's been about five million different users involved in the experiment, with about 100 million cublets destroyed per day.

"We've learnt that people like relaxing games. You don't have to pump adrenaline through gamers 24 hours per day"

So, just to clarify, when Curiosity started was there an overall target for how many layers it would take to get to the middle?
Well this is part of the experiment. We gave people something unimaginably difficult to get through and then saw how it went. At the time, the team were each betting on how many layers people would get through [before applying the Final 50 update]; some said five layers and others said five hundred.

What is astounding is how quickly things moved at first. We thought things would ramp up slowly over the months. If you look at how quickly mobile games usually progress in terms of interest, usually they start out slow in the first three months.

It just goes to show that when you have something different and intriguing, then that is pretty exciting.

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This has been an experiment for fans of the game, but also for yourself and your team too. What lessons have you learned from Curiosity?
Well, we've got the Godus project on the go right now, and we always knew we would be working on reinventing the god game genre. We have taken specific things from Curiosity and have added that into Godus, like giving people the chance to interact together. We've also learnt that people like relaxing games. You don't have to pump adrenaline through gamers 24 hours per day.

We also learnt a lot about what to do right with servers, and what to do wrong. I think EA fell into exactly the same trap as we did with server issues, when they released SimCity. There was a lot of learning from us on that side of things, about what to get right and what not to get right.

But what really took us by surprise is how much users like to express themselves. There were tonnes of images on Curiosity - maybe some of them you wouldn't want to see (laughs) - but a lot of it absolutely charming.

" I was also amazed by a group of Italians who set out to turn all the penis drawings into palm trees."

I remember one person went on there and sketched the Twin Towers. Then someone else drew a plane crashing into them. And then someone changed all that into a big peace sign. I mean, all of these live commentaries are fascinating.

If you limit people's ability to communicate, then they find other ways. We've been astounded by that. I was also amazed by a group of Italians who set out to turn all the penis drawings into palm trees.

So, I've got to ask: Can you give us any clues about what's inside the cube? You said it was life-changing, but how?
There are only three people in the world that know what's in the cube. Myself, the sound engineer who recorded the sounds of the final video and one other person.

The answer to what's inside the cube is as interesting as the journey to the centre. What's in there is as experimental and thought-provoking as the whole game. It is definitely life-changing, by any measure, and it's only possible into today's world.

When did you get the idea about what's inside the cube?
The idea came before the execution. My idea was; if you have something so valuable, something that's only for one single individual, how do you give that away in a manner that's intriguing?

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"I'm definitely not saying no to developing on next-gen consoles"

Finally, there's a lot of excitement in the air about next gen systems, with the PS4 and Next Xbox launching this year. Are you considering developing for those consoles, or would you rather stick to mobiles, tablets and PC?
I think the really interesting thing about the consoles is how they're moving towards the PC and mobile models. And there are suddenly community-based ideas like the Share button on the PS4 and the Wii U's Miiverse community. And of course, I'm excited as anyone else about the next Xbox.

So, I'm definitely not saying no to developing on next-gen consoles. What I will say is that, these days there is an insane number of devices to develop for. We used to have PlayStation, Xbox, and a Nintendo console if you were feeling brave. We didn't even really have PC. Today there's lots of devices that are successful.

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