Microsoft buys Lionhead

Molyneux signs on the dotted line

Guildford-based developer Lionhead has become the latest addition to the Microsoft Game Studios group, with the studio behind Fable and Black & White being sold to the US platform holder in a deal announced today.

Financial terms of the deal, which we originally reported on a fortnight ago, were not announced - and Microsoft is also staying quiet on the topic of what titles Lionhead will be working on, although announcements are likely to be forthcoming at E3.

Microsoft and Lionhead previously worked together on Xbox title Fable, which has sold over two million units to date between the original game and the updated Fable: The Lost Chapters, making it into the best-selling role-playing franchise on the Xbox platform.

"We could not be more excited about being part of MGS," Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux commented in a statement today. "They have long supported our creative vision, and this teamwork resulted in the hugely successful 'Fable' franchise."

"This acquisition gives Lionhead the stability and opportunity to focus on creating world-class next generation titles," he continued. "We are joining some of the most incredible studios in the industry, the combined talent of which will truly take next generation gaming to a new level."

Microsoft Game Studios boss Shane Kim was equally effusive in his praise for Lionhead, commenting that "Peter Molyneux is one of the few true visionaries in our industry, and joining us is incredibly important to the future of both interactive entertainment and MGS."

"Lionhead is a shining example of the innovative and creative talent that has delivered some of the most impactful and unique games experiences to date," Kim commented, "and I am honored to welcome Peter and the incredible people at Lionhead Studios."

Lionhead has long been rumoured to be seeking a buyer, especially in the wake of the commercial under-performance of PC titles Black & White 2 and The Movies, and as well as Microsoft, the firm has also been linked to takeover bids by French publisher Ubisoft and investment firm Elevation Partners.

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