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Peter Molyneux leaving Lionhead to start new studio

Microsoft will soon bid adieu to one of its greatest storytellers, as Lionhead Studios co-founder Peter Molyneux declared he is leaving his post as creative director of Microsoft Studios Europe to form a new independent studio, 22 Cans.

"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 announced in a statement to Kotaku. "I remain extremely passionate and proud of the people, products and experiences that we created...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 departure marks an end to his fifteen-year tenure with Lionhead Studios, which began life in 1997 as an off-shoot of his first studio, Bullfrog Productions, where Molyneux first found his footing in the game making biz with classics like Populous, Dungeon Keeper, and Syndicate. During his time at Lionhead, Molyneux was the driving force behind the Black & White and Fable series; the latter of which became the studio's chief export after being acquired by Microsoft in 2006. His efforts and enthusiast public persona have won him respect and admiration amongst gamers and developers alike, as well as industry awards including, most recently, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts' Academy Fellowship trophy, and a Lifetime Achievement Award at last year's Game Developer Choice Awards.

"As 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,” said Microsoft in a follow-up statement, adding, “He has made an indelible mark on the games industry and we wish him all the best of luck in his future endeavors."

Since making his announcement, Molyneux has taken to Twitter to chat with fans about his bold next step. “I have left the lovely amazing Microsoft and Lionhead. Now for something really amazing, scary and brave a new company called 22 Cans,” he wrote, later admitting, “I look forward to this, but also a little bit scary if I'm honest.”

We wish Molyneux well on his new adventure, and looks forward to seeing what he'll have to hype up under the 22 Cans banner. 

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21 comments

  • tichtat - March 8, 2012 1:37 p.m.

    So... is Fable going to suck even more now, or will it be on the level of The Lost Chapters again?
  • smurfantista - March 7, 2012 6:47 p.m.

    Molyneux's closing statement- "I really messed up at Lionhead, but my new company is going to completely revolutionize videogames, it will be incredible! I promise!"
  • NelosAngelos - March 7, 2012 2:57 p.m.

    I don't really know what to say, or what to expect. I guess it'll be time for the waiting game. All I can say is, I don't want to see the end of Fable. But I certainly don't want to see it degrading down to the level of Fable 3 anymore.
  • PimplesInYourAsstista - March 7, 2012 2:51 p.m.

    Maybe Lionhead will start making decent stuff again?
  • Jacko415 - March 7, 2012 1:51 p.m.

    NO! NOT BEFORE BLACK AND WHITE 3!!!!!! Hopes crushed.
  • robotdickens - March 7, 2012 1:38 p.m.

    Smug bastard creates an exceptional game, then a decent game, then recopies and adds some new stuff to last game and shows it off as something new, then he makes a gimmick and now he thinks he's so awesome that he deserves his own studio. I shit out better ideas every day and where's my own game studio??
  • Jacko415 - March 8, 2012 1:47 p.m.

    "I shit out better ideas every day and where's my own game studio??" You don't get one because you're obviously too busy sitting on your fat ass playing his video games and bitching on the internet to actually go outside and accomplish something and/or one of you're "better ideas."
  • Redeater - March 7, 2012 1:18 p.m.

    Wow and here I thought I was one of the only people who really disliked this man. Bottom line: If you have admitted that you made things up during interviews because they looked bored you deserved to get a kick right in your lying face. It is because of this man that I don't even touch previews anymore.
  • oddprophet - March 7, 2012 11:09 a.m.

    I hope this somehow leads to a new Black and White game... Honestly, I don't care about what happens so long as I get to be a giant hand wielding an oversized bipedal zebra!
  • FalconPunch - March 7, 2012 11:02 a.m.

    I wonder if he'll read these comments... I bet he cries.
  • IceBlueKirby - March 7, 2012 10:45 a.m.

    Seems like it's becoming fashionable for recognizable developers to leave their studios to "start a new independent studio and embark on a new adventure" or something to that effect. But whatever, I don't really care about this. The first Fable was pretty fun, but I couldn't stay interested in Fable 2 for long and never played 3, nor have I ever played his pre-Fable games, so I can't say I'm looking forward to his new studio's first game.
  • bebl09 - March 7, 2012 10:03 a.m.

    "Microsoft will soon bid adieu to one of its greatest lie-tellers" Fixed.
  • spaced73 - March 7, 2012 9:39 a.m.

    ha good riddance
  • fullmetallegend - March 7, 2012 8:43 a.m.

    Maybe Fable will finally be good again. If it will still exist.
  • SonicX_89 - March 7, 2012 8:39 a.m.

    I feel like I should be more upset considering how big of an Xbox advocate I am, but I'm not. I hope that Mr. Molyneux finds success with his next endeavor, but I'm more interested in seeing Microsoft will do next. Just like the situation with 343 Studios and Halo, I hope that MS can get some new blood on Fable and get something new of the series.
  • Sketchydevil - March 7, 2012 8:29 a.m.

    All the fables seriously sucked..compare any of them to the likes of Mass effect, Skyrim or hell even Ocarina of Time ten years ago and it was better. and yes I have played all 3 fables and was dissapointed by every single one of them. But hey we could decorate our houses like the Sims..wooot...wait...no
  • Redeater - March 7, 2012 1:21 p.m.

    I think you are completely wrong. What other game has allowed you to plant an acorn and watch it grow into a mighty tree whilst you progress through your game. What's that?......That game is almost a decade old and we still haven't got to that point in Fable games yet? Disregard.
  • Bloodstorm - March 7, 2012 8:28 a.m.

    Does this mean we might actually see some real evolution in the Fable series now, instead of dumb ideas that Peter thought were the next big thing, but turned out to be insignificant in the game (Dog, holding hands, ect)?
  • larkan - March 7, 2012 8:17 a.m.

    Let me guess...he's going to tout this as the best studio ever created, with original ideas no one has ever witnessed before, and it will melt your damn eyes. A year from now, they'll make a generic RPG that no one will buy since Molyneux has pretty much ruined his own reputation with crap games, and the studio will sink, and hopefully it will be the last we hear from that hot pile of garbage!
  • A9entOfChaos - March 7, 2012 7:23 a.m.

    Thank god, Peter M wa a creepy, egotistical liar. Who, by the way, made horrible games. Good riddance i say. Maybe Lionhead can actually make a good game now and not have some blowhard thinking he is the end all be all for gaming.

Showing 1-20 of 21 comments

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