Fable developer Lionhead hires MMO veteran as new boss

Ex-Cryptic CEO joins UK developer to "lead Lionhead towards an ambitious online future."

UK-based developer Lionhead, responsible for the Fable series, has announced John Needham as its new boss.

Needham has a long background in massively multiplayer games. He was formerly the CEO of Marvel Heroes developer Gazillion Entertainment, and before that City of Heroes maker Cryptic Studios. He's also been chief financial officer at Sony Online Entertainment.

"John’s deep understanding of all aspects of the gaming industry, from subscription-based, massively multi-player to client-based console and free-to-play online, PC and mobile experiences, will be a huge benefit to Lionhead and European Studio operations more widely," said Microsoft in a statement.

Needham will report to established games industry executive Phil Harrison, who spoke earlier this year about Microsoft Studios' intention to transition its major gaming titles across multiple platforms for the "connected audience."

"It's my pleasure to welcome John Needham to Microsoft Studios and Lionhead," said Harrison. "He brings a wealth of proven executive leadership experience in the online gaming space to the company and I know he will confidently lead Lionhead towards an ambitious online future."

In May 2012 Lionhead was spotted hiring for a next-gen, MMO-like title.

The job posting was for a game that would blend single-player and multiplayer and offer a "radical take on how cooperative and multiplayer gameplay feeds into the experience."

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55 comments
SpaceDr00ze
SpaceDr00ze

I didn't read the article, I pressed control-f and typed in "We are going to pretend everything after Fable 2 never existed and start over where we left off" and found no results, so I am not interested. 

Fable is a perfect example of taking an above average game and shitting it all up.

PCsama
PCsama

i didn't played Fable 2 cause i didn't came on PC ..so i was straight from Fable 1 to 3 was a major different i prefer the first a lot ..but going MMO i don't think so \_/ nop count me out

Cruisemissile
Cruisemissile

I was done with Fable when 3 came out, WHAT a piece of junk! NEVER again!

alpha_unit97
alpha_unit97

I don't think this means an MMO, even though Fable 1's combat system (on PC) would work really well in an MMO.

jotalandia
jotalandia

microtransaction wagon here we go

collinmul
collinmul

Woah, look at that face.  And the last company he worked at was "Cryptic" to boot - how dark is that?  ...I take it that in addition to handling Lionhead executive stuff, he will also be doubling as the villain in the next Fable game.

bibbalo
bibbalo

Why can't they just give us action combat (weapons, magic, archery) like in Fable 1 with armor (that adds defense and not just cosmetic)  and a MMO world.  PVP could simply be arena with a ladder (1v1,2v2, etc).  Loved the first Fable and have been waiting for a MMO like it forever.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

There goes another game to the MMO scrapheap.

Fursnake
Fursnake

Fable fans don't worry, once Curiosity if finished and the suprise inside is revealed to be an announcement for the next Fable game you can commence to hoping in vain for a new "good" Fable game.

Shantmaster_K
Shantmaster_K

They have a long way to go. Fable 2 and 3s multiplayer were awful. I can see Fable as an MMO though. 

Patohua1
Patohua1

Yeah guys you should really stay away from the MMO market. You couldn't even handle online multiplayer in Fable 2 and 3, why do you think you can make a full fledged MMO? Although if the next Fable has the character customization that City of Heroes had, that would be suppperrr dope.

fredwv
fredwv

do people still really play mmos?  Haven't they been in decline for awhile now.

MadMartin
MadMartin

With how many ideas Lionhead has wasted (Fable, Black and White, BC, etc) with poor execution, they should somehow be charged with a crime. They need to make the overall ideas, and just sell them to a development team that can actually implement ideas successfully.

ziproy
ziproy

Goodbye Fable...I'll miss you

RossRichard
RossRichard

Lionhead is hiring the ex-CEO of Cryptic to design an MMO? Talk about a double-scoop of fail.

Pyrosa
Pyrosa

Yep; Fable-themed MMO.  No thanks.

MaskRisen
MaskRisen

Fable as an MMO? Maybe.

Cryptic mojo? No thanks.

CrashOV
CrashOV

lol Cryptic, such a successful MMO company. lets get microtransacting in Fable. seems to work for Cryptic.

macca366
macca366

Ughhhh... Just as long as it isn't 'always online'. I cannot see myself buying a Fable MMO - or any MMO for that matter, though I am interested in Destiny. I'm not into this 'connectedness' movement. The last time I used an online feature was a Halo 4 match 4 months ago.

I played Metroid: Zero Mission this week. It was the best game I've played all year, Bioshock Infinite a close second. And it was a completely solitary experience.

But good luck to Lionhead!

Ovirew
Ovirew

*Ex-Cryptic CEO joins UK developer to "lead Lionhead towards an ambitious ALWAYS-online future."

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

You're only 10 years too late. Not bad!

Fable MMO sounds awful. Here's an idea, go back to when Fable was good, don't change it even MORE than the Kinect abomination.

maximo
maximo

Fable MMORPG....sounds good to me.


Adavanter
Adavanter

What was that tiny speck that vanished down that deep dark hole..? Oh that was my hope for Fable being awesome this gen.

jessie82
jessie82

what?! no No NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

david60639
david60639

*pewwwwwww...... KABOOOM* 


Bye Lionhead.

Mecamatt
Mecamatt

Why can't anyone in the video game community ever be happy for anything ever!?

hardeddie
hardeddie

Former CFO and a CEO running an MMO, sink or swin, we shall see.

Lebowski__basic
Lebowski__basic

Fable MMO?  I think it could work if it took place before the first Fable.

feleas
feleas

@fredwv not really. only pay-to-play ones have. World of Warcraft is the only major pay-to-play that still exists. all the others are free-to-play. We got 3 more in development that's coming within the next 3 years. MMO's are still very much alive.

Patohua1
Patohua1

@MadMartin yeah agreed. the Fable series is one of my favorites of all time, but it still had sooo much potential. And then they released Fable the Journey and all of that potential was gone.

CrashOV
CrashOV

@macca366 lol " just as long as it isn't always online" to an MMO. That's making me laugh. No offense

Adavanter
Adavanter

Mainly because it seems like an onslaught of bad news lately.

Scorchstar
Scorchstar

@Lebowski__basic No MMOs work.
Period.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

@feleas @fredwv Yeah I agree.  I for some reason have a WoW sub right now (mostly to try Mists) but except for the brand new stuff, WoW is starting to grate on me.  It's repetitive and grindy and the combat's stuck in the stone age.

Plus, the PVP balance is a joke and you have to jump through WAY too many hoops to get anything fun.

feleas
feleas

@Patohua1 @MadMartin dude, when they screwed up with Fable 2 and 3, then all the potential was gone. Journey just killed the hope, lol.

macca366
macca366

@CrashOV @macca366 Haha, yeah stupid statement.

I was thinking of that restriction in regard to the article mentioning it 'blending single-play and multiplayer'. Neglected to add, 'If it turns out to be an MMO...' to the next sentence

kcender08
kcender08

Or it's because they wish to find ways to control and exploit the gaming audience. Which is mainly what it is.

Mecamatt
Mecamatt

@Scorchstar Usually when people generalize that drastically it means they just don't like the genre.

"All rap music sucks" is a pretty good example.

ebeorietemethhp
ebeorietemethhp

@MadMartin @Patohua1 The Journey was actually quite good. it has the best told story of all the games in my opinion. the controls didnt work all the time, so i could understand people not liking it.

SirNormanislost
SirNormanislost

@jessie82 @mecamatt @scorchstar

"All rap DOES suck"

2001 by Dr. Dre begs to differ from the opinion of a mainly rock lover