Longtime Lionhead designer goes it alone

Rag Doll Kung Fu creator Mark Healey to form new studio. Lionhead "sad to see Mark go."

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With the casual words "I've made the leap," the part-time indie game designer and full-time Lionhead staffer Mark Healey blogged his intentions to leave Peter Molyneux's Lionhead Studios to start his own development studio.

The designer had been with Molyneux since the early days of Bullfrog Studios, Molyneux's pre-Lionhead studio that put titles, including Dungeon Keeper, Syndicate Wars, and Magic Carpet into gamers' hands.

At Lionhead, Healey contributed to Fable and Black & White, among other titles.

Calling his departure from Lionhead "a very hard decision," Healey elaborated in a post on the Steam users forum. "My current plan is to spend rest of this year finishing the map editor with Alex [Evans], get the free demo out (sorry about delay on this--it's in Valves hands as to when and how they release it), and then set up a dev team, to make a new game next year, with Alex and Dave [Smith], who helped out on Rag Doll. (This time, it will be full time, none of this spare time business, TOO TIRING!)"

Healey made Rag Doll Kung Fu in his spare time. A quirky side-scrolling 3D platformer with no prescripted animations, the game got a rousing welcome earlier this year when Healy presented it to Game Developers Conference attendees in San Francisco. The full version of the game has been available via Valve's download service, Steam, since October.

"Rag Doll was originally just an idea for me and some friends to have some fun making an old-style Kung Fu movie," said Healey in a now oft-quoted statement posted on the game's Web site.

Emphasizing the terms of his departure, Healy said, "I would like to point out that I didn't leave Lionhead on bad terms or anything, it was just time for a change really."

A Lionhead spokesperson told GameSpot, "We're all sad to see Mark go but wish him the very best for the future."

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