The world of developing games isn’t a safe one. Many developers are lost every year, both big and small. In the last decade, we have lost studios such as Bizarre Creations (Project Gotham Racing), Eden Games (Test Drive Unlimited), Neversoft (Tony Hawk), and Rockstar Vancouver (Bully) to name just a few. However we’ve had a time of peace and developers have prospered lately. Until we received news that Lionhead Studios, the creators of the Fable has met it’s demise.
Lionhead Studios was best known for Fable 2 being their only undisputed ‘critical hit’. Historically their output never really reflected the high esteem the industry holds it in but their games have always been warmly received. However even fans say they had a reputation for over promising and under delivering. Peter Molyneux the founder of Lionhead Studios has made it clear in the almost 30 years in game developing. Dreams take precedence over financial bottom lines. This ideal brought a lot of ideas in their games but this might be what ultimately did the studio in.
Peter Molyneux founded Lionhead in 1996. It was believed to be the spiritual successor of Bullfrog Productions. Molyneux founded Bullfrog in 1987 effectively inventing the ‘god game’ genre with Populous and Powermonger. However Bullforg was soon acquired by Electronic arts in 1995. Wishing to get back to the free spirit of his project, Molyneux founded Lionhead to carry on his ideals. Early on they opened many partnerships with various smaller studios who became ‘satellites’. This allowed the smaller studios to remain independent while using Lionhead’s marketing and creative heft.
We owe a lot to Lionhead which evolved into a breeding ground for new tech ideas. From the Kinect to cross play between Windows ten and the Xbox One, they pioneered many ideas we see today both in games and gaming tech. With the loss of Lionhead Studios the industry losses some of its magic.