Peter Molyneux, the genius behind games such as Fable, Black & White, Populous and Theme Park, has announced that he is leaving both his position as head of Lionhead Studios and his role as creative head of Microsoft Studios Europe.
News first broke on Kotaku.
When we contacted Microsoft to confirm the story, we received the following prepared statement:
"It is with mixed emotions that I made the decision to leave Microsoft and Lionhead Studios, the company that I co-founded in 1997, at the conclusion of development of 'Fable: The Journey.'"
"I remain extremely passionate and proud of the people, products and experiences that we created," Molyneux continues. "From ‘Black & White' to ‘Fable' to our pioneering work with ‘Milo and Kate' for the Kinect platform.
However, I felt the time was right to pursue a new independent venture. I'd like to thank the team at Lionhead, as well as our partners at Microsoft Studios for their support, dedication and incredible work over the years."
Along with his statement came an official response from Microsoft. In full, it reads:
"Lionhead Studios Founder and pioneer game developer Peter Molyneux has made the decision to leave Microsoft. While his decision was a difficult one, he felt the time was right to pursue a new independent venture.
As a co-founder of Lionhead and an integral part of Microsoft Studios, Peter was the creative visionary behind the blockbuster "Fable" franchise and one of our most passionate and influential developers for the Xbox 360 platform. He has made an indelible mark on the games industry and we wish him all the best of luck in his future endeavors.
Lionhead Co-Founder Mark Webley will assume the role of studio manager, while Peter wil remain a Creative Consultant on "Fable: The Journey". The development of "Fable: The Journey remains on track to be one of the year's most anticipated Kinect for Xbox 360 titles."
Molyneux was responsible for running Lionhead (and through his role at Microsoft, Rare). Whilst Lionhead co-founder Mark Webley will take over the reigns at Lionhead, it is not yet clear who Microsoft will put in place as the new head of European studios.
This revelation will come as a surprise to many. Only yesterday the Lionhead website was relaunched with a new design.
However in a Showcase interview with GRTV Molyneux was vague about the future of the studio. At the time is sounded like he was concentrating on the current Fable projects, but in retrospect his phrasing can be read differently.
He told Gamereactor that: "The future is, at the moment, we've got Heroes (though I'm not sure if we've announced the release date), coming soon, and we've got Journey. That's a real focus, and I'm sure there's going to be lots of exciting projects coming out of Lionhead in the future."
Though unexpected, this move isn't without precedent. Molyneux followed a very similar path with previous company Bullfrog, which he established and then sold on to EA before establishing Lionhead.
Molyneux's decision to leave the studio he co-founded follows on from the recent announcement that several lead designers from Lionhead Studios, including the creators of the Fable series, had left to establish Another Place Productions.
Loading next content