"I Felt That The Time Was Right"
Breaking news. Legendary developer Peter Molyneux has decided to leave Lionhead and his position as Microsoft Studios Europe's Creative Director after over a decade of service. Apparently he's decided to start up his own "independent venture," but will stay around long enough to to finish Fable: The Journey.
In a statement made to Kotaku, Molyneux expresses mixed emotions about the amicable split, and thanks his team for their hard work on Fable, Black & White and the Milo & Kate Kinect tech demo.
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.
I remain extremely passionate and proud of the people, products and experiences that we created, from Black & White to Fable to our pioneering work with Milo and Kate for the Kinect platform. 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.
Lionhead co-founder Mark Webley will step up to lead the studio, but Microsoft hasn't yet named a successor for Creative Director. It will be interesting to see what Molyneux's "independent venture" turns out to be and how this will affect the fates of both companies. The latest Fable title, cartoony brawler Fable Heroes, is currently in development for XBLA.
This isn't the first spectacular Lionhead departure to occur within the last week. Five veterans left their posts to form Another Place Productions on March 1st, and it's likely that the timing isn't entirely coincidental.
UPDATE: Molyneux has confirmed that he'll be joining indie outfit 22 Cans, which was set up by former Lionhead Technical Officer Tim Rance.