- "All stories have to end eventually, but the memories of Heroic triumphs and Villainous plots will last forever. Thank you for your support - you are all Legends!"
- — Lionhead, on the termination of Fable Legends
Lionhead Studios was a video game development company that was established in the United Kingdom in 1997 by Peter Molyneux. On March 7th 2016, Microsoft announced that they were in talks with employees about the proposed closure of Lionhead Studios. The studio was shuttered a few weeks later, on April 29th.
Named after producer Mark Webley's former hamster, Lionhead was founded as a breakaway from Bullfrog Productions, also founded by Peter Molyneux. The first game they created was the god game Black & White. Following its release, the company got to work on a number of other projects, and signed on a couple of "satellite studios", one of which was Big Blue Box, developers of the original Fable, which fully merged with Lionhead shortly before Fable was released. The company went on to develop The Movies, and Black & White 2, but poor sales figures and delays in their production left Lionhead in a vulnerable financial state and primed for a takeover bid. In April of 2006, this bid was won by Microsoft Game Studios, over their primary opposition of Ubisoft.
Since the acquisition and the shift in priority to a focus on Microsoft gaming platforms, Lionhead Studios achieved significant success with the creation of many successful video games, including the Fable series, which has since risen to be one of the highest selling RPG franchises in the market today. In addition to the Fable series, the company began work on the Kinect game Milo & Kate, although this game was eventually canned by Microsoft. Some of its features made their way into Fable: The Journey.
On 7 March 2012, Peter Molyneux announced he was leaving Lionhead to work at an independent developer called 22Cans. Lionhead co-founder Mark Webley took over as interim head of the studio until the appointment of John Needham to that position in April 2013. Gary Carr filled the role of Creative Director.
In March 2016, Microsoft announced plans to close Lionhead, following a consultation period mandated by UK law. According to gaming news site Kotaku, a number of potential buyers filed letters of intent to purchase the studio during the consultation period, but none of those came to fruition as Microsoft reportedly refused to sell the Fable license alongside Lionhead.
List of Games Created
- Black & White
- Black & White 2
- Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods
- The Movies
- The Movies: Stunts & Effects
- Fable: The Lost Chapters
- Fable II Pub Games (supervised, not developed by)
- Fable II
- Fable III
- Fable Heroes
- Fable: The Journey
- Fable Anniversary
- Fable Legends (cancelled)
In Fable II, Lionhead made a few references to themselves in the game.
- Leo Head is a reference to Lionhead since Leo means lion.
- Lion Head Isle is an island near Bloodstone and its name is a reference to Lionhead.
- A Lionhead back tattoo can be found in Fable: The Lost Chapters.
- A Lionhead tattoo featuring the Lionhead logo can be achieved by completing "A Hero's Tale" - once completed it can be found in the Guild Hall chest. To achieve it the Player must choose the Hero Crown (left).
Lionhead also referenced themselves in Fable III.
- While in Driftwood, if you try to swim towards the Spire, you will be stopped by an invisible wall and will be able to see the Lionhead Studios logo under water.
- ↑ 2016-03-07 Changes at Microsoft Studios, UK and Denmark, Xbox Wire, accessed 2016-03-07.
- ↑ 2016-04-29 Fable developer Lionhead closes down today, Eurogamer, accessed 2016-04-29.
- ↑ 2016-04-29 Lionhead closes today - one of gaming's greatest dreamers is gone, GamesRadar (OXM), accessed 2016-04-29.
- ↑ 2016-05-12 Lionhead, the inside story, Eurogamer, accessed 2016-05-12.
- ↑ Peter Molyneux Is Leaving Lionhead Studios and Microsoft, Will Finish Kinect Fable (Kotaku)
- ↑ Lionhead's new boss is a free-to-play MMO expert, will "take advantage of Microsoft's incredible hardware" (OXM UK)
- ↑ Lionhead boss: "I'm all for technology being as dumbed down as possible" (OXM UK)
- ↑ Sources: "Multiple Buyers" Were Lined Up for Lionhead, Kotaku UK, accessed 2016-05-31.
- Lionhead, the inside story, Eurogamer