Molyneux tweets farewell to Lionhead

Say you what you like about the man. You can't say he doesn't love Guildford.

Peter Molyneux – the real one, not his satirical doppelganger – rarely uses his twitter account unless it’s for something he feels is really important. His last tweet was back in November last year congratulating Notch on Minecraft going gold, so a prolific tweeter he is not. Today however, completely out of the blue, he’s tweeted to let us all know he’s leaving Lionhead to join a new Guildford-based company called 22 Cans, and told Kotaku some of his reasons why. “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 said, according to Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo.

22 Cans was founded by former Lionhead chief technical officer Tim Rance, who has worked with Molyneux since the Bullfrog days on titles like Populous, Black & White, and Fable. Little else is known about the company other than they’re based in Guildford but we can assume they’re not going into business shipping baked beans to the Middle East. We can probably expect a game or two out of them at some point, and who better to have on board to promote them then everybody’s favourite hype machine? I say that with love by the way. Molyneux has had a lot of flack thrown at him during his career but he’s one of a precious few developers outside the indie scene willing to explore more off-the-wall and interesting ideas. Say what you want about the flaws of Fable, at least Lionhead tried to do something new with each iteration.

Where does this leave Lionhead though? Students of gaming history will know the last time Molyneux left a company he’d established to branch out and try something new, we lost a studio responsible for some of the greatest games ever made. I speak of course about the much-missed Bullfrog torn apart and devoured years ago by the great beast EA, like it did to Origin and Westwood. Will Microsoft make of Lionhead a similar feast? It’s a distinct possibility now that Molyneux’s gone unless he made preparations for such an eventuality. As much as he’s distanced himself from Lionhead in recent years he’s still very much the face of the company.

In the meantime I’m genuinely keen to see what Molyneux and Rance come up with. Molyneux’s at his barking-mad best when he’s genuinely excited about something to the point he starts over-promising. What, you don’t like him over-promising stuff? It makes you angry? Tsk tsk, you need to develop a better sense of scepticism and humour my dear boy or girl. You’ll have a greater appreciation for what the man does when you realise half the stuff he talks about has as much chance of happening as a blizzard in Hell. You see it isn’t about whether or not he succeeds in making, for example, a game about cheering up a sad child. No, I love Peter Molyneux because he’s barmy enough to even consider the idea in the first place. Trust me, you’ll miss him when he’s gone.

Good luck Pete.

Source: Twitter and Rock, Paper Shotgun


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