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Peter Molyneux No Longer With Lionhead

The man behind Fable and Black and White leaves for a new studio.

Peter Molyneux, the man behind such well loved franchises as Fable, Black and White and Populous has announced via Twitter that he has left both Microsoft and Lionhead Studios in order to join a brand new company.

The tweet reads, “I have left the lovely amazing Microsoft and lionhead.  Now for something realy amazing, scary and brave a new company called 22 Cans.” 

The announcement comes at a time when his now former company, Lionhead, is in the midst of developing Fable: The Journey for Kinect and the newly announced XBLA title, Fable: Heroes.  No further details are known concerning the terms of Molyneux’s departure or his new venture.

PixlBit wishes Molyneux the best of luck and will have more information on this announcement as it becomes available.



Our Take

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

03/07/2012 at 04:05 PM

To be honest, this makes perfect sense and I'm surprised he didn't leave sooner. I admire Molyneux because unlike other developers, he actually tries to do something different. He hasn't been succeeding recently and the Fable series has really gone downhill. I can't see him being happy with the direction the series is going in and this is the result.

I hope Molyneux finds success someplace else and I look forward to his inevitable new project.


03/07/2012 at 04:52 PM

Now that I think about it, I agree with Esteban on this one. I still need to get around to Fable 3 since I have it, but I think I'll love it more than hate it based on what I've heard about it. I'm not interested in these Kinect Fables or offshoots in general. The series will definitely continue I assume, but I can completely understand Peter leaving. Fable has always been a passion project for him, but he's never been able to really achieve what he's looking for. Maybe the series just got away from him too much, he realized he wanted to start fresh? He's a brilliant guy and he has a very emotional and intellectual approach to his designs and brainstorms. During development of Fable 2 he loved talking about making a player feel emotion and love for their dog and developing a very relatable and human-animal bond. During Fable 3 among many things, he wanted to get players to experience the intimacy of holding somebody's hand and developing a relationship. Maybe Fable couldn't keep up with him, or maybe it's just not working well as his artistic outlet anymore?

I'm gonna keep checking out new mainline Fable titles, but I really want to see what Peter does next in his new company. Fable games have never been the greatest thing, but they have always been different and nobody can take that away from them. They have complex ideas behind them, and usually the mechanics just don't serve the purpose or achieve the goal. Nobody else in the industry strives for the things Peter strives for, and I respect that about him. He's a breed apart, his design goals are abstract, and as a result games like Fable end up being difficult to label or compare to other games. If you look at Fable and just think of it as an RPG you can easily start comparing it to others like Skyrim, Mass Effect, etc. But when you look at the really important and subtle nuances to Peter's games you will see that there's nothing else like them in gaming.

There's nobody else in the industry competing with Peter on the "make players feel love, hold hands, have a dog companion, cry, laugh, etc" front. You can't look at the industry and say, "Molyneux is okay but he sure doesn't do all that as well as this other guy." You can only compare his work to his previous work because there's not really any precedent for what he tries to do. Peter is a breed apart and you can't predict what he'll do next or what abstract goals will be behind his next project. You honestly just have to wait around and see what he comes up with next.

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

03/07/2012 at 05:46 PM

Well said, sir. Oh and Fable III is highly disappointing but still enjoyable. Also, it's only worth like $10 at the most now so you might as well keep it and give it a try. Because you're stuck with it.


03/07/2012 at 07:01 PM

Thank you Esteban. Yea I actually got my copy new on Amazon for $6, and with shipping it came to around $10 lol. I really wanted it so I was glad I got it so cheap, but you're right I'm stuck with it. I'll get around to playing it sometime soon. I trust you completely when you say it's highly disappointing but still enjoyable. That's what I've been hearing from most people. That's the same sentiment I had with Fable 2 actually. I get addicted to Fable games, I regress back to habits I had when I was a teen, and I turn into a vampire (never see daylight) whenever I get a new Fable title. I adore them and have long periods of time where I'm genuinely in love with the game, but there's always a list of things that make the games incredibly disappointing and make me rant. I talked a bit about Fable 2 among other things in a blog I did called Let's Talk Loot. I had some game-breaking problems with the economy system and leveling system. Somehow even with all the huge negatives I can't forget about how engrossed in the game I got and how much fun it was.

Fable is a really unique series. I've honestly never seen a series of games that has such a giant contrast between highs and lows. I've never seen a series of games that can be so beautiful, engaging and addicting, while also being broken, and disappointing. The idea I've always had is that Peter always had these amazing ideas (like holding hands, falling in love, having a companion, etc) but they weren't sure how to implement them. Now once Peter and the team had implemented those ideas into the games, they didn't know how to fill in the rest of the blanks. I see each Fable game as a piece of swiss cheese. There are amazing ideas in them, but there are also holes everywhere, and in the end the games always seem incomplete or patched together. Seems like, during the conceptual phase and then the development phase, they were never sure how to build around these complex and intellectual ideas Peter had, didn't know how to make them fun, make them work in the game as a whole, or get the point across that Peter was going for, if that makes any sense. Maybe Fable just wasn't the best conduit for Peter's intellectual and emotional engagement design goals.

The kind of ideas he has might be better suited for more focused, shorter titles. He might have been trying to kill all the birds with one stone in regards to Fable. I really want to design levels and maybe take a crack at designing mechanics someday, but if I worked with Peter it would be so difficult to try and make his concepts into reality. If he comes up to you and says, "I want to make a game where the player will experience true love, take their lover by the hand, and walk the beach at sunset." I'd say to him, "Well, we can make that happen. It's technically possible from an animation, level design, programming, and artistic point of view. But, how is that going to fit in the context of a game? Why do those small moments matter Peter? How do we get to that point? If you want to build a game around concepts like this, what is the game itself going to be?" You can mechanically make beautiful things like that happen, but you have to have a full game in mind to start with that will suit it. You have to make the script and characters great, flesh everything out before you just start crunching, taking stabs in the dark, and hoping you come out with an amazing piece of interactive art.


03/14/2012 at 10:37 PM

Milo was drug out back and snuffed with extreme prejudice.

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