Lionhead Studios was founded by designer legend Peter Molyneux as well as Mark Webley (who then left to set up Media Molecule), Tim Rance and Steve Jackson (of Games Workshop fame) in 1997 after leaving Bullfrog Productions to pursue their dreams of innovation in video games. It was clearly set up to resemble the old school Bullfrog days that were long gone.
The company is based in Guildford, Surrey, UK but was for a long time a "satellite" based studio branching out to Big Blue Box and other smaller studios for development. But in 2004 the smaller studios were integrated into the main foundation of Lionhead and they are now working as a collective group. Towards the end of that same year Lionhead ran into alot of financial trouble. They were, up until that point, a privately owned company but after overstepping their budget on several projects (Black & White 2, The Movies and more) a couple of investors (Ingenious Ventures, IDG VE) made big investments in the studio.
The two overdeveloped games have not reached great sales even to this day and at
the time of their release it looked pretty dark for Lionhead as an independent studio.
In 2006 the company was acquired by Microsoft and Lionhead's independence was ended. The studio now develops for Xbox 360 with their big holiday 2008 title Fable 2 as their first game.
Lionhead and Artificial Intelligence
The company takes pride in coming up with cutting edge A.I. solutions and in 2001, the studio won several awards for Best A.I in Any Computer Game with Black & White and i t has been nominated for Guinness Book of Records for Best AI in Any Game .
The company is constantly evolving their AI and according to people working with the A.I their goal is to achieve social intelligence, real conversations and versatile characters you can truly believe in . With Fable II they hope to create a believable world where the people that inhabits it reacts to what happens around them in ways never seen before. The player should also be able to interact with the A.I. and make people change their minds about what is happening.
Combined with their will to constantly invent new mechanics that has never been seen in games before or creating interface polish that makes playing a game much smoother, makes Lionhead Studios a development studio unlike any other. Even if the results are not always huge mainstream successes they continue to push onwards with the vision that Peter set out when he founded the company. According to Peter himself this is the vision that the company will take to its grave.
When asked about where he gets his inspiration and how he wants to create games, Peter Molyenux answered:
"Doing Black & White made me realize something. I don’t think there’s one perfect game in me, and that everything I do is striving to create it. I think there are a lot of different, games which are as good as Lionhead and I can make them. None are perfect because in this world you can’t write a perfect game. Many of the similarities in these games are like those you’ll see in work by one film maker or hear in the work of one recording artist. If we find lovely ideas, like mana, we’ll use them whenever we need to. We won’t shoehorn them in because people expect them. The old adage is true. Games, like everything creative, is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration."
The company has released video diaries from the production of Fable II, called Inside Lionhead which can be found here.
There is also a page dedicated to webcams set up around the office. They can be found here.
- 12 percent of Lionhead Studios have goatees .
- 28.5 percent wears glasses .
- 17 percent have shaved heads .
- 10 percent of the guys have shoulder length (or longer) hair.
- The company is named after a dead hamster.
- Peter Molyneux is on the list of available coaches in Major League Baseball 2K7.