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    Lionhead Studios Ltd.

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    Lionhead Studios was a British developer studio founded by industry legend Peter Molyneux. They focus on innovation in God games, management simulators and RPGs. Their first title was released in 2001, called Black & White. The company was formed with people from Bullfrog Productions.

    Short summary describing this company.

    Lionhead Studios Ltd. last edited by MelodicVirus on 02/28/23 06:07PM View full history


    The Lionhead building.
    The Lionhead building.

    Lionhead Studios was founded by designer legend Peter Molyneux as well as Mark Webley, 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 was based in Guildford, Surrey in England, United Kingdom 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

    Lionhead entrance.
    Lionhead entrance.

    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 developed for Xbox 360 with their big holiday 2008 title Fable II as their first game. Their latest released game was Fable Anniversary, released in 2014.

    In April 2016, Lionhead Studios was closed by Microsoft and development on Fable Legends was cancelled. Former Lionhead developers would set up companies such as Media Molecule, 22Cans, PixelCount Studios and Two Point Studios.

    Lionhead and Artificial Intelligence

    Reception area with trophies.
    Reception area with trophies.

    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 it has been nominated for Guinness Book of Records for "Best AI in Any Game".

    The company was constantly evolving their AI and according to people working with the A.I their goal was 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.

    Design visions

    Black & White (2001)
    Black & White (2001)

    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 Molyneux 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."

    Design Diaries

    Inside Lionhead
    Inside Lionhead

    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.


    TitlePublisherRelease Year
    Black & WhiteElectronic Arts2001
    Black & White: Creature IsleElectronic Arts2002
    FableMicrosoft Studios2004
    Fable: The Lost ChaptersMicrosoft Studios2005
    Black & White 2Electronic Arts2005
    The MoviesActivision2005
    Black & White 2: Battle of the GodsElectronic Arts2006
    The Movies: Stunts & EffectsActivision2006
    Fable II Pub Games (co-developed with Carbonated Games)Microsoft Studios2008
    Fable IIMicrosoft Studios2008
    Fable IIIMicrosoft Studios2010
    Fable: Coin Golf (co-developed with Ideaworks Game Studio)Microsoft Studios2011
    Fable HeroesMicrosoft Studios2012

    Fable: The Journey

    Microsoft Studios


    Fable Anniversary

    Microsoft Studios


    Fable Legends

    Microsoft Studios


    Fun Facts

    • 12 percent of Lionhead Studios have goatees .
    • 28.5 percent wear glasses .
    • 17 percent have shaved heads .
    • 10 percent of the guys have shoulder length (or longer) hair.
    • The company was named after a dead hamster owned by Mark Webley.
    • Peter Molyneux is on the list of available coaches in Major League Baseball 2K7.

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