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Fabled developer Lionhead, longtime host to Peter Molyneux, inheritor to Bullfrog, and progenitor of Black & White, is officially closing for good today, after owner Microsoft was unable to find a buyer for the onetime great studio. After cancelling the production of Fable Legends, a continuation of the series studio founder Peter Molyneux began in 2004 with his traditional enthusiasm, Microsoft apparently had no further use for the team, which had been laboring to create content for the Xbox consoles since 2006.

Though Molyneux left the studio in 2012, it retained license to create Fable and Black & White games, few of which were especially noteworthy, and many of which went uncompleted even in the absence of their founder’s aggrandization. Black & White 3 never surfaced, and Fable: The Journey was a transparent vehicle to promote the Kinect. Legends was the last straw in this regard, and seems to have become the final, perhaps fitting, unfinished chapter to a great series of games.

Despite frequent attempts to recreate their success with sequels , and their spiral into console-exclusive serfdom, let Lionhead studios be remembered as the group that brought a little bit of its sky-high visions to reality, and which positively affected the industry during some of its formative years.

 

lh2


Quick Take

Lionhead did make great games, even if their second tries often missed that mark. The Fable series has at least one game that anyone could love, even if you can’t “carve your name into a tree and see it grow years later”. Black & White was a legitimately groundbreaking title, both technically and as a defining entry in the god-game genre, which was itself pioneered by Bullfrog Studios years before. The slow decline of Lionhead was visible for years, but hopefully we can all remember the better times when gods haphazardly flung boulders at their enemies, heroes walked Albion, and no one had ever heard of a Kinect exclusive.The industry is lessened by Lionhead’s passing, but let us hope that some new studio will rise in its place to forge new paths, take new risks, and bring us ever newer worlds to explore and wonder at.


Gene Marsh

Gene is a student of biology and philosophy, who enjoys PC games, technical advancements, applied science, and the internet. Pester & harass him @GeneMildest



  • oldirtybaron

    This is shitty to hear. I loved Fable and Fable II; excellent, raunchy little RPGs with the kind of toilet humour I can’t help but laugh at. It’s a shame they started going downhill after III and never seemed to recover.

    I was hoping they’d pull through. Their games had a charm to them that’s quite rare in the medium.

  • Elmar Bijlsma

    Not to be mean but if you do not make good games as a developer, this what is SUPPOSED to happen. And Lionhead haven’t made a decent game in years. Sucks for the staff but the company is not a great loss.

  • ADK

    I don’t wish anyone to lose their jobs, but you’re right. Never once impressed with any of the Fable games. Black and White was Lionhead’s last good game.

  • Arbitrary

    “let Lionhead studios be remembered as the group that brought a little bit of its sky-high visions to reality, and which positively affected the industry during some of its formative years.”

    Or – y’know – be realistic.

  • Dweezil

    Good fucking riddance.

    Fuck you, Molyneaux, you fucking hack.

    The guy who wrote this article is a fanboy because Lionhead was a terrible company, and Molyneaux is a douche bag.

  • MRAlias

    RIP

  • Kenshiro84

    Molyneux and the fact the press has a raging boner for the guy to the point of overhyping every shit he does or says is one of the reasons Lionhead died.
    The other main one is that they made passable games at best. Yes Black & White and Fable too.

  • jaygerbomb

    Let’s be honest, the writing has been on the wall for a while – Lionhead was doomed after Molyneux left. It was a studio built on his name, and quite frankly, his stock has been plummeting for years, because he can’t shut up and just make a game, he has to overpromise and under deliver. Lionhead made some great games, but they never lived up to the pie in the sky visions Molyneux had that the gaming press kept slurping. But anyone with two brain cells to rub together knew that 80% of that he said was going to be in “Project Ego” wasn’t possible on even high end PCs at the time, let alone the original Xbox.

  • Eight

    You become a SJW and then you die
    rip in pepperoni

  • Sebastian Mikulec

    Surprise Level = Zero The company hadn’t produced anything of note in over a decade. Molyneux is a name that had become synonymous with has been and empty promises and after his departure the company couldn’t recover and shake his stigma.