back to article Peter Molyneux parts with Microsoft and Lionhead

Peter Molyneux has called time on his position at Microsoft and Lionhead Studios, after 15 years involvement. The man behind titles such as Fable, Populous, Black & White and Syndicate dropped the bombshell on Twitter. "I have left the lovely amazing Microsoft and Lionhead," said Molyneux. "Now for something really amazing, …


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  1. Aldous

    22 Cans?

    does that mean that by the time they launch there first came they will be known as "2 1/2 Cans" with a promise that for the next game there will be 30 Cans?

  2. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Populous, I'll give you.

    Syndicate, I'll give you.

    Hell, even Theme Park, Magic Carpet and Dungeon Keeper were good.

    Since then? All downhill. And little that's "famous" outside of the Fable franchise. Black & White was the tipping point. After that, it's all just junk.

    Some games designers were brilliant in the 90's, less so nowadays. He's one. And the franchises he did create, were sold off to junk and poor remakes (Syndicate! Gah!).

    But still - Bullfrog got you a lot of credit, but I'll never forget what you did to me with Black & White, where the second level in basically took my creature (the whole POINT of the new game and I'd barely learned how to control it) away from me. It never lived up to the hype, and nothing since has been able to.

    1. Adam T

      22 cans of beer on the wall...

      I can but agree.

      We don't have many famous 'Designers' in the UK, so I guess you have to prop someone tall on center stage to parade around. Jeff Minter is more creative by far, and he can do more than talk the talk.

    2. Chad H.

      The problem with Peter...

      I liked the movies.

      But the Problem with Peter is he's too much of a dreamer. He talks up his new projects when he's still in his "dreaming" phase, only for them to be hit with cold hard reality later; so we're left with a product that overpromised, and underdelivered....

      1. Euchrid

        Re: The problem with Peter...

        Absolutely agree. To be fair to him, I think Peter has acknowledged this in the past to a degree (there was a report about apologising on a forum for gilding the lily, but if that was true, I can't say) but it does lead to disappointment.

        IIRC in Black & White, the player's role was going to be a mad scientist and I seem to remember that it was claimed that you coulde play music via the computer whilst interacting with the monster you were creating, so it would react when it heard it again (e.g. if you had abused it, it would go beserk).

      2. Thomas 4

        Re: The problem with Peter...

        I miss Bullfrog. So many great games.

        Black and White demonstrated quite neatly the problem with Peter's brain.

        The building settlements, enouraging believers and hurling deific magic around was great fun. Having a creature that you could train and develop was also fun. Using gestures to cast magic - again, great fun.

        Trying to stop your creature from eating your village while at the same time trying to cast a spell to protect your villagers was an exercise in mouse-devouring frustration. And don't even get me started on the Fable series. -.-

        Although that said, I do actually have a copy of Fable 3 signed by Peter Molyneaux for some reason.

      3. TimNevins
        Thumb Up

        Re: The problem with Peter...

        Very true. See the aborted 'BC' XBox game on Youtube to see a greate concept not followed through.

    3. Audrey S. Thackeray

      Magic Carpet

      Yeah, that was ace. Add that to the update-the-graphics-and-I'll-but-it-(cheap)-again list.

      I love the whoosh noise the accelerate spell made - it seems to have been copied everywhere and you still hear it in ads and jingles.

  3. 1Rafayal

    Black & White

    Possible one of the most overrated video games in history.

  4. W.O.Frobozz

    Black & White...

    ...wasn't that the game where you had to pick up creature poop? Man do I remember the hype around this game, followed by the massive wailing and gnashing of teeth about a week later.

    Dungeon Keeper was the only one of his games I enjoyed, and even that got to be an awful slog. Although I must say I enjoyed smacking my minions.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      And the chickens !

      Don't forget the exploding chickens !

      Ah, the terrified squawks, the puff of yellow feathers . . .

      Good times.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The guy can come up with a good concept, but ultimately most of his work has been ruined by bad implementation and over hyping.

    Also, the 90s was a golden age because the new technology of the time was allowing genuinely NEW things to be done. I'm not sure what technological advancements will be needed for the next spurt of innovation but it sure hasn't happened yet.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too much credit

    The whole concept of Populous was built up from the initial work of Glen Corpes, who came up with the concept of the 'world' and map, while mucking about on his computer at home. Without these there would have been no game at all.

    Peter only came into the project once something viable was there, and helped to mould the concept of the game. The initial and largest credit though definitely goes to Glen Corpes.

    1. GlennCorpes

      Re: Too much credit

      Not strictly true when you consider that the initial phase you speak of was only three days and it wasn't at home, it was in the office but it was over the weekend and on my own Atari ST.

      Peter worked on the project on the fourth day

      1. Yag

        Re: Too much credit

        Even the dev. phase of populous sounds God-related (think : Genesis)

  7. DrXym

    Fool me once....

    Hype: The user will play a part in an epic game where the player must develop a relationship with 22 different cans. Every can will have its own AI and personality, and react to the user's emotions and voice through a compelling, intimate story telling experience. The game will even be able to detect voice nuances and facial expressions all through the power of Kinect. It will be so immersive that the player will involuntarily reach out to the screen, so real and strong will their bond become with each can.

    Reality: Kick the can game where user performs exaggerated flailing kick motions that map onto 10 predetermined outcomes.

  8. Wild Bill
    Thumb Up


    ...for being SHIT

    1. Chad H.

      Re: SACKED

      So its "Sacked" when you leave one job for another now?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SACKED

        When you read between the lines it is

  9. Raggs

    Black and White

    Was an awesome game. Problems? Certainly, single player story pretty useless? Yep. Training a creature was an amazing experience, and amazingly well programmed. You could train your creature to respond to your personal villages needs first, then if that's fine go off to the neutrals and impress them with the best impressing spells, all done? Wander into enemy lands to burn down the enemy buildings.

    The best bit though? The peculiarities that developed in their characters. You thought you were teaching your creature to burn enemy villages, he thought you were teaching him to burn pig, and subsequently hunted every porcine on the map down and burnt them to a cinder. Or use the weakest attacking spell on the town centre, then spot a single villager fleeing? Time to use the massive beam spell which demolished everything it touches.

    People played the game an d disliked it, they never came to appreciate the creature.

  10. That Steve Guy
    Thumb Up

    Some good titles there

    Bullfrog now there's some good games right there.

    Back in high school the network admin used to allow everyone to stay back and play games on the network. Hi Octane got a lot of usage (a bullfrog title).

    Dungeon keeper 1 & 2 were awesome and I cannot forget that one! Beating up imps, having fun with the torture room (dark mistresses optional!), best of all was the evil voice overs that made me laugh, especially when playing late at night: "Keeper: Your nocturnal persistence has earned you a free gaming tip, GO TO BED!"

    Black and white was but flawed in that you could not keep the minions happy late in the game so had to finish the game as an evil god. The sequal however was poor imo.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    If anyone is feeling evil

    I see that is available }:-)

    1. Chad H.

      Re: If anyone is feeling evil

      Thats an awful lot of fruit loops....

  12. Tim Worstal

    Always be grateful to Peter

    Way back when, just after the fall of the USSR, he was one of the very few games makers who were willing to take a chance on Russian programmers. Spent quite a bit of dev money on having a look around at skills and ideas.

    Nothing made it into any of his games (the only "successful" projects I was involved in were the animations for Claymation and the Windows port of Another World, for other people obviously) but he was willing to have a go, look around and see what here was.

  13. Nextweek

    What I don't understand is that these god games are perfect for tablets like the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab.

    I'l love to play populous, theme park, theme hospital and transport tycoon again on my iPad.

    1. Steven Davison
      Thumb Up

      if you want to play Transport Tycoon... go play this...

      Got Coat... Gone!

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