Lionhead regrouping

[UPDATE] Developer's headcount reportedly cut by 50, remaining staffers working on a pair of unannounced projects.

by

Barely two months into 2006, it's already shaping up to be an eventful year for Peter Molyneux's Lionhead Studios. Rumors surfaced in February that the development house was the subject of a heated bidding war between Ubisoft and Microsoft. At the same time, publisher Activision announced the cancellation of Lionhead's console versions of its PC game The Movies, citing disappointing sales of the game on its native platform as the reason. Now a Movies fan site is reporting that the developer is downsizing its operations and ending support for The Movies.

"We understand that Lionhead have had a company meeting today, where the decision was taken to downsize the company from three studios to just the two, which means the loss of approx 100 people," reads a news post on The Movies Planet.

An administrator on Lionhead's official forums gave the following response:

"Over the last few months Lionhead has been working on plans for a new AAA world class game. As work on a number of its titles draws to a close, a pool of 100 super talented developers at Lionhead are available to create a new super team at Lionhead. This will be in addition to an existing team which is working on an amazing next generation title. This strategy was presented to Lionhead this morning in a company meeting but sadly it will mean some redundancies.

"We are still continuing our support of the Movies, with new downloads on the Propshop, an add-on disk in summer, and the announcement of the winner of the Chrysler competition at E3."

Lionhead posted a news story on its Web site Tuesday advertising that the developer was now hiring, but as of press time, the developer's jobs page lists no current openings.

[UPDATE]: Trade site gamesindustry.biz reports confirmation from Lionhead that the developer has laid off 50 staffers from its Surrey studios, bringing the company's total headcount down to 200. The site also says Molyneux informed his staff that only two titles would continue on in development at Lionhead.

Discussion

81 comments
frankeyser
frankeyser

i liked the new black and white.... the movies was boring...

itBit
itBit

pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease dont cancel the movies! i want to play it on mu playstation 2, i waaaaaaaaaaaaaant to!!!!!! pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase im killing myself over heeeeeeeeeeereeeeeeeeeee

ICmorons
ICmorons

Peter Molyneux's comments or these fanboys comments posted here Peter Molyneux's comments have more weight R.I.P. the movies support

Sandman100
Sandman100

Proble Fabe 2 for the the 360. And maybe something new from him.

Tiefster
Tiefster

If MS buys them say bye bye to great Lionhead PC games.

kaziechameleon
kaziechameleon

i have black and white, it just wasn't what i expected, no multiplayer, and enemy AI that simply sucks. fun city building though, i am also experiencing some major graphical glitches with the game, texture poping in and out, or stretching into infinaty. just doesn't feel finished or worth full retail price.

vitz3
vitz3

It is my belief that only Konami and Nintendo are the only true originators in the industry. Everything else is just a game. Especially EA and their shovelware.

quietguy
quietguy

Making quality games as the usual is starting to see a trend for the worse and casual...

chrisdojo
chrisdojo

job cuts? those are never good...

QualityJeverage
QualityJeverage

Well it seems I can't talk any sense into some of you guys (*cough* vitz3 *cough*). Go read my post on page 7 man, come on, the guy's trying. And leave him alone on the stuttering thing! Stuttering is a problem some people have and they have no control over it, it doesn't mean they're any less intelligent. Besides, at least Lionhead is making good and innovative games, EA is just flooding the market with "Urban" this and "Street" that.

EugeneE3RD
EugeneE3RD

Well, it's always sad when a company has to downsize & people lose their jobs. I played Fable on my XBOX 360 & it was a fun game.

vitz3
vitz3

Burn out and die Lionhead. Burn out and die. If you guys really wanted to make great games you would string up Pete and let in some real talent. Your games are delayed for no reason at all it seems lately. You delay them to hell but they still end up not delivering on what that bastard Pete says they will be. Take a lesson from Nintendo. Take more time to build up the game and put in the promised features. Nintendo delays their games to give the teams time to make it work, not to edit out the parts that don't. Don't make promises you cannot keep. Pete. Leave the biz Peter. Learn sign language if you can't talk properly.

i_love_my_ds
i_love_my_ds

this guy's a great developer. hope he keeps making great games.

roged49
roged49

I played Fable, I loved the concept yet i beat it in 12 hrs (10 of those hrs being a sat. night) and i was pissed that it was so short. I played black and White 2 which I though was cool with the god powers, but it got repetitive. The Movies I played which I also though had a cool concept but lacked execution however i seen some of the people make movies that were pretty solid. All I have to say about Lionhead it that their ideas are original but lack the creativity needed to make it "legendary"

Jahalo
Jahalo

As long as they keep working on Fable 2.

deadone1000
deadone1000

Prsonally i thought Black n white 1/2 were Great games, i dont see whu some1 would think they are bad. I never tried the Movies since it reminds me of the Sims and I thought fable was a good RPG for the x-box, personally in the PC section it had way too much competition be a succesfull RPG, kinda like Halo on the PC. Anyway, Lionhead make some of the best games, and deffinatly the most original. You're all saying how they floped, but do you stop to think of the 100's of titles EA put out and all this crap celeb games that are focus on some d*ck head that got shot 2359834560945867 times n cant Rap to saves his life. This company is actually giving us something we all say we want, original content, n when you get it you throw it back up them n say its crap.

QualityJeverage
QualityJeverage

Come on guys, lighten up. At least he's trying, and I find his games to be pretty good. Sure, Fable wasn't what it could have been, but It was still a great game. The Movies was an excellent game! Everyone is complaining about the simplicity and lack of power, but go to the The Movies Online and watch some of the user-made movies and you'll see what the game can do. Besides, The Movies is a GAME, it's not high-end animation production software, and it's not intended to be. Why is everyone still mad at Molyneux over Fable? It's over. Can you not just forget? He apologised, so forgive him. The fact that he even admitted to screwing up on Fable is more than you can say for most other developers. He's got heart, and a passion for what he does, which is why he sometimes gets farther than he can reach. So please, stop pounding Molyneux for not making the perfect game, and just play Lionhead's games for what they are, superb, innovative, and often under-appreciated games. Remember, there's no such thing as perfect, besides, do you realize how much work goes into these games? These guys work all day, and often all-night, to make YOU happy with their game. Take a minute and think about how it must feel! What if you were Molyneux or anyone at Lionhead, putting so much work and thought into a game only to have it crushed by the public for not changing the world. Shame on you guys.

DevinKell
DevinKell

This better mean they get their act together and get cracking on BW3 or an expansion for BW2!!

dreDREb13
dreDREb13

I can't wait for this game! Hopefully it will be good.

tremo01
tremo01

I hope he pulls out in the end...

Psycho_Teen
Psycho_Teen

Damn i hope its fable 2. MS buy them you need more first party games!

Natria
Natria

The movies was fun for a couple of hours, but I am not surprised it flopped. The magic just wasn't there. Towards the end of the game you had to spend 10-15 minutes making one movie at a time. The drag and drop interface, while creative was overdused. Why force your players to manually drop a movie on a PR office 3-4 times to create publicity. It should have just been a button or a slider. Micromanaging your actors / directors was annoying. As was the stupid decision to severely limit your staff pool. I had to reuse my extras as janitors, and my scriptwriters as film crew. What does that have to do with running a movie studio? The Movies, as well as Black and White 1 / 2 were funky overhyped experiments, but they were not good games, and I think commercial reality just set in at Lionhead.

Solarsonic7
Solarsonic7

He shouldn't have hyped Fable so much. If he couldn't deliver what he said he was going to, he should of just said so.

seteger
seteger

I'm am officially sick of it. One more dream down the drain of Mr. high-minded, low-results Molyneaux. Shame on me for taking another of his games seriously. Like Sega consoles of yesteryear, sometimes you have to have resist your false optimism and just call it like it is: a lame duck.

SnuffDaddyNZ
SnuffDaddyNZ

PLEASE remake Populous II. That's all I want.

Oni
Oni

I'm glad

hittin
hittin

AAA game? LMFAO.

Oetzi101
Oetzi101

^^ id have to disagree. all of the lionhead games have been something special. and peter learnt his lesson after fable and stopped hyping his games.

vitz3
vitz3

Peter Molyneux is a hack. Overpromising and never delivers. No talent. Creative yes but no skills to back up his concoctions. The Uwe Boll of Gaming. A Hack in it's purest form. Look at the way he talks. He can't do a straight sentence without stuttering like a dumb ass. Clearly anything he says is a lie if he can't say it straight. Leave gaming to the real guys Pete. Kojima and the others do fine without you. Just quit. Take speech enhancment classes or something.

Go0pynose
Go0pynose

thats what they get for making half a$$ games. **cough**Black & White 2!**cough** Releasing those games for consoles was a dumb idea.........some people just have no idea.

Fedaykin-Rock
Fedaykin-Rock

Peter Molyneux has been in this situation (of sorts) before. He sold his former games company "Bullfrog" to EA and then left Bullfrog. Without Molyneux holding the reigns Bullfrog soon ceased to be. If Peter Molyneux does sell Lionhead studios to anyone then Lionhead might well go the way of Bullfrog. Peter will leave, no new games will be released, then support for current Lionhead games will cease, and when nobody is looking, Lionhead will go away. So... enjoy the games you have now, don't expect any sequels and just wait several years for Peter to start a new company, and it starts all over again.

SuspendMEimBAD
SuspendMEimBAD

damn that basicly means no fable 2 unlessit will be next (next) gen (aka xbox 720)

fox3586
fox3586

Lionhead is the best for coming up with great new creative ideas... not so great with game sales though. Its a shame that intuitive games don't sell and WWII FPS games will sell no matter how much they suck.

hardcore0115
hardcore0115

Fable 2 is all they should work on anyway if they want it to come out anytime within the next ten years. It should be the greatest if not one of the greatest rpg's or action rpg's with the hardware they have to work with now. It just might take a decade to make.

thefjk
thefjk

.... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ..... ...

jasper26
jasper26

Lionhead reminds me a little of Troika. Great concepts and ideas., but doesn't necessarily follow through on execution.

reece590
reece590

Yeah MS should totalt buy lionhead...Or get an exclusive deal with them...Even though more then likly LH's N-G game is probably coming to 360.....BUT GET ~~~~THE MOVIES~~~~ OUT ON XBOX>>>>PLEASE

QualityJeverage
QualityJeverage

It flopped because it wasn't edgy. Unfortunately the majority of the gaming public wants blood and violence and sex, to hell with substance! They say. It's very unfortunate because games with real innovation, substance, and creativity are swept under the rug like they are nothing. That's the problem with the industry, or rather, it's fans. They scream for something mundane and overly violent, thereby condemning the possibility of any actual substance being put in the game. Here's a great example, look at ICO or Shadow of the Colossus, brilliant, innovative games with a disctinctly artistic style and the knowledge that a game needn't be edgy to be good. Now look at something like 50 Cent: Bulletproof, violent, ridden with glitches, hell to play, and yet people are still crazy about it. The same thing is happening with movies, and even books, I remember sitting in class a few years ago, and we were doing a report on Lord of the Flies. When I heard one of the students yell out "Geez! Whoever wrote this book's a f***in' f*g..." Has youth culture become so ignorant and narrow-minded that it can't see past the hormones it's driven by? People need to look past the fact that a game isn't filled with blood and sex and realize that it can still be a great game, or even (Usually in fact) be a much better game. Okay, my rant is done. What was this thing originally about again?

david_critic
david_critic

I find it surprising that the movies flopped so bad, I love the game.

doshey
doshey

this sucks the movies is cool game

Solarsonic7
Solarsonic7

When games like The Movies aren't selling, you know there's something wrong with the state of video games these days.

teh_ghost
teh_ghost

i remeber the last time Lionhead hyped a game....

Mouzz
Mouzz

i didn't know that the movies didn't sell