Godus developer 22Cans deliberately omitted a chat function in its upcoming god game to foster a community, according to studio founder Peter Molyneux.
Speaking to Polygon at the Game Developers Conference, Molyneux said allowing players to chat could potentially lead to a strange sort of passive bullying where casual players are intimidated by more experienced players.
"Passive bullying is the big problem when you're trying to get casual gamers to play with core gamers," Molyneux said. "Now the last thing that would enter my mind is to bully you, but the very fact that I say I play computer games 20 hours a day is a form of bullying because it's intimidating.
"Most casual gamers don't think they're good enough to play multiplayer games, and this is what we found with Curiosity. Curiosity was an exception because they felt safe. There was no way to chat. They could hide in a cube and their taps were invisible, so they didn't feel intimidated."
Molyneux said he wants players — experienced or not — to get comfortable and confident with each other and to form a community, and he believes the key to this is by limiting communication, not increasing it.
The primary way players will be able to interact is through trading, and he believes that simple mechanic will encourage the formation of a community because players will be sculpting together.
"My little followers will trade with your little followers, and that's it," he said. "Of course, I have no idea how it's going to all turn out. It may turn into anarchy, but I don't think it will. I still think that most of the world will want to be nice. And provided we don't over-cook it ... then I think something amazing could happen."
Godus is currently in beta. The full game is expected to launch on Mac, Windows PC and mobile devices next month. Polygon's video interview with Molyneux with gameplay footage can be viewed here.