Game companies • Lionhead Studios • Articles
In 1987 Peter Molyneux founded Bullfrog Productions, along with his then partner Les Edgar in Guildford, Surrey, England to develop an idea he had for a revolutionary new type of strategy game for home computers. This first game, Populous, went on to sell over 4 million copies. Molyneux’s follow-up designs included hits like Powermonger, Syndicate, Magic Carpet and Dungeon Keeper. Each sold in excess of 500,000 copies and firmly established Bullfrog as one of the most innovative game design studios in the world. Another Molyneux title, Theme Park sold over 3.5 million copies and became a sensation in Japan.
In 1995 Molyneux sold Bullfrog to the world’s largest computer games publisher, Electronic Arts. In early 1997 he announced he was leaving Bullfrog to set up a new venture with three other likeminded individuals. Mark Webley, a colleague from Bullfrog who had headed up Bullfrog’s highly efficient conversions department before producing, designing and programming the top selling Theme Hospital. Two other directors also joined Lionhead, Steve Jackson who had co founded Games Workshop and had a great deal of success with the Fighting Fantasy series of books and Tim Rance one of the Cities most highly regarded systems analysts
The new venture was immediately in the news, with lengthy features on Lionhead and Molyneux himself appearing in all the leading UK trade and consumer magazines. Similar articles appeared in dozens of overseas publications.
In late March 2001 Lionhead’s first game Black & White was released to widespread critical acclaim, attracting some of the highest review scores ever achieved by a software program. Worldwide sales are currently top the two million mark. Autumn 2004 saw the release of Lionhead’s second game Fable for Xbox. Sales now top the 2 million mark and it was the Xboxes fastest selling game at that time. PC owners got their own version of Fable, Fable The Lost Chapters (Autumn 2005) and the Xbox version was also updated with extra content.
Black & White 2 the long awaited sequel to Black & White was released on 30th September and The Movies a simulation which allows the player to manage a movie studio, create their own stars and make their own unique Movies was released on 8th November.
Lionhead Studios was acquired by Microsoft Corp on 6th April 2006, this combination of creativity and stability is bound to offer gamers some exciting times ahead.