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Peter Molyneux Exiting Lionhead Studios Following Completion of Fable: The Journey

Gaming's most overly-ambitious designer is shuffling off this Microsoft coil to work on his own new independent venture.

In an unexpected yet perhaps not altogether surprising piece of news this morning, we have learned that famed designer and notorious over-promiser Peter Molyneux will be leaving Lionhead Studios, and by proxy, Microsoft, following the completion of the studio's upcoming Kinect title, Fable: The Journey.

The news comes in a statement picked up by Kotaku, in which Molyneux expressed his deep admiration for the team while citing a desire to move on to newer pastures as the reason behind the departure.

Of course it isn't, Peter. Of course it isn't.

"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," he said. "I remain extremely passionate and proud of the people, products and experiences that we created, 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."

Molyneux's history with Lionhead dates all the way back to its formation in 1997, when he helped co-found the studio following his years at Bullfrog Productions, where he helped more or less invent the "god game" genre in Populous. His tenure at Lionhead has been marked with numerous critical and financial successes, including the aforementioned Fable franchise, as well as PC-centric titles like Black & White and The Movies.

For all his successes, many were perhaps unfortunately overshadowed by Molyneux's own reputation as something of a sideshow carnival barker, a man perhaps better at conveying a fantastical idea and selling people on it than actually making good on said idea in the end. On more than a few occasions, Molyneux promised gamers the stars with his new projects, and then proceeded to deliver them interesting video games, instead.

As the years have gone by, Molyneux and Lionhead's games have often been spoken of better in retrospect than at the time of their release. Still, Molyneux has persisted in his habit of speaking perhaps above the resources at his disposal, especially when it came to Microsoft's Kinect. His famous "Milo" demo never quite formed into that Milo and Kate game that seems all but canceled at this point, and Fable: The Journey's development cycle has had its share of bumps along the way, including the much-mocked "It's not on rails!" goof from last year's E3.

And yet, despite that perhaps deserved reputation, there's no denying that Molyneux is one of the industry's most creative and forward-thinking minds. It's difficult to imagine a game industry without Molyneux--and thankfully, we won't have to. Molyneux's new independent venture is a small start-up company he's titled 22 Cans. What is 22 Cans? We don't know yet, but it does appear that it will be rooted in gaming. Hopefully the venture is something that will well suit Molyneux's ambitious mind--or, at the very least, help rein it in a bit.

Alex Navarro on Google+
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Posted by Alex

In an unexpected yet perhaps not altogether surprising piece of news this morning, we have learned that famed designer and notorious over-promiser Peter Molyneux will be leaving Lionhead Studios, and by proxy, Microsoft, following the completion of the studio's upcoming Kinect title, Fable: The Journey.

The news comes in a statement picked up by Kotaku, in which Molyneux expressed his deep admiration for the team while citing a desire to move on to newer pastures as the reason behind the departure.

Of course it isn't, Peter. Of course it isn't.

"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," he said. "I remain extremely passionate and proud of the people, products and experiences that we created, 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."

Molyneux's history with Lionhead dates all the way back to its formation in 1997, when he helped co-found the studio following his years at Bullfrog Productions, where he helped more or less invent the "god game" genre in Populous. His tenure at Lionhead has been marked with numerous critical and financial successes, including the aforementioned Fable franchise, as well as PC-centric titles like Black & White and The Movies.

For all his successes, many were perhaps unfortunately overshadowed by Molyneux's own reputation as something of a sideshow carnival barker, a man perhaps better at conveying a fantastical idea and selling people on it than actually making good on said idea in the end. On more than a few occasions, Molyneux promised gamers the stars with his new projects, and then proceeded to deliver them interesting video games, instead.

As the years have gone by, Molyneux and Lionhead's games have often been spoken of better in retrospect than at the time of their release. Still, Molyneux has persisted in his habit of speaking perhaps above the resources at his disposal, especially when it came to Microsoft's Kinect. His famous "Milo" demo never quite formed into that Milo and Kate game that seems all but canceled at this point, and Fable: The Journey's development cycle has had its share of bumps along the way, including the much-mocked "It's not on rails!" goof from last year's E3.

And yet, despite that perhaps deserved reputation, there's no denying that Molyneux is one of the industry's most creative and forward-thinking minds. It's difficult to imagine a game industry without Molyneux--and thankfully, we won't have to. Molyneux's new independent venture is a small start-up company he's titled 22 Cans. What is 22 Cans? We don't know yet, but it does appear that it will be rooted in gaming. Hopefully the venture is something that will well suit Molyneux's ambitious mind--or, at the very least, help rein it in a bit.

Staff
Edited by NeilRapalee

Good. Not a fan of his.

Maybe Fable will be a little more mature now.

Posted by awesomatic

My balls!

Posted by Yanngc33

Man , I hope this means he'll concentrate on making games where we interact with creepy computer children. That's all I've ever wanted

Posted by JustKamToo

Lets hope he can finally get a game that has everything in it that he says and wants!

Also 'ma balls!'

Posted by Diablos1125

Looking forward to hearing vinny talk about peter's balls on the bombcast. One can only hope.

Posted by LobsterMobster

@awesomatic: One of them can die.

Posted by IAmNotBatman

Wonder if he'll go back to his roots and start making unique games again. He's been stuck on Fable for a while now.

Posted by Brendan

Hahaha oh man, I forgot about that whiteboard that journalists had to sign to agree that "The game is NOT on rails, okay!?" What a great Molyneux moment.

Edited by Brackynews

I want another Magic Carpet. That's about it really.

or, at the very least, help rein it in a bit.

Because horses.

Posted by BigStupidFace

When asked about 22 Cans, Peter claimed

1 million employees all interacting with each other and dealing with their own emotions and relationships. Employees will have the ability to marry each other as well as form bitter conflicts (sometimes both!).
Posted by Gruff182

Good to hear. Pre-shackles Molyneux, was awesome.

Posted by Aarny91

@IAmNotBatman said:

Wonder if he'll go back to his roots and start making unique games again. He's been stuck on Fable for a while now.

I hope so.

Edited by 014
@JustKamToo said:

Lets hope he can finally get a game that has everything in it that he says and wants!

Agreed.
Posted by Sinful

I can see it now when he makes a Failed Game..."22 Can Not"

Posted by clientkiller

Smaller projects with more creativity hopefully.

Edited by Jimbo_N

Really hoping he can keep his creative genious going as well as hes been doing it when he crafts something new. Always super exciting to see Peter do something fresh and creative. Best of luck to him! Really exciting news.

Posted by TheYear20XX

Peter Molynooooooooooooo

Posted by timmbot

Where do I sign?

Posted by G24S
Posted by mattgriffin

Maybe you'll be able to jump in a Lionhead game someday...

Edited by falling_fast

he's been involved with some great games in the past. hopefully this isn't the end for him in terms of making important games.

Posted by AMyggen

This is good news for us gamers, he can now create something other than a new Fable game.

Posted by gla55jAw

Didn't he leave already? I just read that he tweeted he's gone, not that he's waiting until it's completed.

Posted by sirdesmond

This makes that terrible looking down downloadable Fable game a bit more understandable.

Posted by GhostStrykre

god, i just remember watching the Fable: The Journey E3 stuff and just thinking, what... dafuq?

i especially hate when molyneux talks about stuff in the gaming industry because usually i completely disagree with him.

Posted by MariachiMacabre

Good. I hope he finds success in his new company.

Posted by JuggaloAcidman

I can tell Alex wrote this article without even looking at the name!

Posted by atomic_dumpling

@Jimbo_N said:

Always super exciting to see Peter do something fresh and creative.

Like that delightful animal cruelty discussed on the bombcast?

Posted by MeatSim

Even though he over hypes his games I have interest in seeing what game Peter makes that isn't a Fable game.

Posted by LordXavierBritish

Where is Black & White 3 Peter.
 
Peter?

Peter.

Posted by MX

I read this while listening to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, and I'm really sad now.

Edited by Nakiro

@gla55jAw

Didn't he leave already? I just read that he tweeted he's gone, not that he's waiting until it's completed.

Yeah, I thought he's leaving before Fable: The Journey finishes.

Posted by awesomatic

@MX:Don't be a sad panda, just watch/hear the bombcast classic:

Posted by I_smell

Can't wait for the next TigJam. Peter Molyneux and David Jaffe workin on 8-bit platformers like most other indie devs.

Posted by p00rdevil

I don't see where this guy gets all the adulation and attention. The first game of his I played was Black&White. It was over hyped and mediocre. Then he trotted out Fable, which was nothing really special, a decent action RPG. What is so outstanding about this game developer? I thought Fable was like a Zelda game without the charm. Maybe I need to check out his earlier stuff.

Posted by Spiritof

I want Peter Molyneux to have his own podcast where he talks about the emotions he felt that week, and the things that bind humanity together.

Posted by Joe_Slap

Well done Peter, now you're free from MS chains unleashing your amazing ideas in your next games, hopefully within an indie team.

Posted by Harkat

@Spiritof said:

I want Peter Molyneux to have his own podcast where he talks about the emotions he felt that week, and the things that bind humanity together.

I'm not sure humanity is ready for that.

Posted by TwoSe7enFive

Pretty sure Molyneux stopped being relevant a long time ago .... you can only fuck people over so many times.

Posted by jaks

You forgot to mention that Molyneux also stated the new Fable game will cure your Mom's cancer and spit $50 bills out of the Xbox's disc drive every 3 minutes.

Posted by PenguinDust

@IAmNotBatman said:

Wonder if he'll go back to his roots and start making unique games again. He's been stuck on Fable for a while now.

That's my hope. I think working for a big monolith like EA or Microsoft limits his creativity. He should be free to explore wherever his imagination wanders and then tells us about it with preposterous embellishments.

Posted by Mumrik

Does Peter Molyneux still matter?

I think I lost most of my interest when he failed to deliver on Project Ego.

Posted by Phatmac

Yeah knew the comments would be disrespectful to a man that has given his life to a passion that he's been successful at. Good luck in your future endeavors Peter, you're still one of the more creative minds out there and I can respect that. Unlike some duders on here.

Edited by Beforet

All I'm going to say is that, when I'm old, I hope I'm even half as passionate about anything as Molyneux is.

Posted by adoggz

@Harkat said:

@Spiritof said:

I want Peter Molyneux to have his own podcast where he talks about the emotions he felt that week, and the things that bind humanity together.

I'm not sure humanity is ready for that.

yeah, we are still to primitive. We could not comprehend the ideas that would be conveyed from peters mind. It would only confuse and enrage us.

Posted by RagingLion

@LobsterMobster said:

@awesomatic: One of them can die.

You can tickle them :)

Edited by ArbitraryWater

I can't wait to see what conceptually interesting but mechanically basic games Peter will be making without his Microsoft leash. If he doesn't claim that I will have an emotional attachment with my binary moral choices I don't know what to believe anymore.

Edited by killr0y

Peter is a burned-out husk of a man. Outside of Populous he hasn't done much to impact the industry despite all the hype that surrounds his career. I don't get why people think he was somehow "shackled" at any point. Microsoft gave him free-reign and even elevated him from mere studio-head to creative director for Micosoft Studios Europe.. When you are responsible for the creative direction of multiple studios, with a massive budget, I don't see how he's been shackled.

I personally know someone who worked for Peter, who told me that Peter would come into meetings stoned quite often. He was a guy who had a few good ideas, but didn't have the technical vision to truly understand how to implement them in a practical manner. Instead, he would come up with completely impractical ideas that could barely even be tied into the game mechanics, that most of the time were not technically feasible.

I'm betting that Microsoft asked him to leave at the conclusion of this last Fable game, which will most likely not meet expectations (which is pretty sad, considering that the expectations of that franchise have fallen after each iteration).

I'm not sorry to see him go. He's a has-been whose best days are behind him.

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