In October 2008, Microsoft released Lionhead's Fable 2 to critical and commercial acclaim. At a launch party an emotional Peter Molyneux held aloft glowing reviews and praised the exhausted team of developers who had spent the previous four years pouring everything they had into the game. Fable 2 would go on to win a BAFTA and become the best-selling role-playing game for the Xbox 360. Lionhead was on top of the world.
UPDATE: Fable Legends ends at 3pm on Wednesday, 13th April 2016, Lionhead has said.
Games used to be such hostile places. Dropped behind enemy lines or sneaking through monster-infested caverns, everyone you'd meet on your journey seemed to want to kill you. Over the last ten years or so, there's been a gentle rebalancing, however. From Pey'j to Yorda to Alyx Vance, designers have started giving you friends as well as enemies.
"How long have you got to talk?" I ask Peter Molyneux at the beginning of our Skype interview.
British developer Lionhead has confirmed industry rumours of layoffs at its studios in Surrey, with the company's headcount being cut from 250 to 200 in the wake of poor performance of recent PC titles.
Lionhead Studios has released the first patch for recently-released PC god sim Black & White 2. It's now available for download via the Lionhead website.
The good news is that the v1.1 patch fixes a long list of crashes, hangs and graphical issues and adds a couple of new options. The bad news is that any save games you've already created won't work with the new patch - so if you've been playing the game for a few days now, you'll have to start all over again from scratch.
Lionhead says we can expect a v1.2 patch "at some point in the (near) future" - and that hopefully it'll be compatible with v1.1 save games.
I've been God for quite a while now. It began back in the 80s, and I've been filling the role ever since. Funny thing - I'm used to it. It was special at first - I had the power to raise and lower the ground itself, change the weather, summon forth great changes to the world, and most of all, influence the lives of my subjects to my whim. Meh, that's old news now. Being God is good, yes, and I'm not trying to suggest otherwise. All I'm saying is, I'm past the point where being reminded of my abilities is enough to get me going.
The trouble is, Black & White 2 seems to think otherwise. From the moment you begin, it's unavoidably obvious that Lionhead think you're going to be wowed by the deified position they've put you in, and hope that's enough to blind you to the mediocre game beneath.
Immediately it's beautiful. Gorgeous islands are flown around, detailed to the finest blades of grass, all alive and aware of your godly presence. Sweep your cursor hand across the vegetation and it sways beneath your awesome power. Trees bow their boughs as you stroke them, vast boulders crack in half at your touch. Animals shiver sensing that their creator is amongst them, the sea ripples under your palm. You really are the god of this land. The lavish animations create a living, wonderful world into which you're tasked to impose your kingdom. If only there was five minutes to look at it without the bloody imps springing up and shouting their dreadful script at you.
With just weeks to go until the sequel to PC God sim Black & White hits the shops, Lionhead Studios has announced plans to hold a special event to celebrate the game's release.
A post on the Lionhead Studios forum has confirmed that forthcoming PC god sim Black & White 2 will be in the shops this autumn.
"The game will be released in stores on September 30th in the US, and October 7th in Europe," the post reads.
"This is official. We are almost finished."
Lionhead is considering a next-generation console version of PC God-game/real-time strategy hybrid Black & White 2, designer and co-founder Peter Molyneux has revealed, and is already working on "other games" using PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 development kits.
Say what you want about Peter Molyneux; there's no denying he's honest. Especially when asked what he thinks about his pseudo strategy title, Black & White, four years after its release.
Two new trailers for Black & White 2, the sequel to Lionhead Studios' best-selling PC god sim, are now up for grabs on Eurofiles.
They're only short, but they give you the chance to see two different types of miracle in action - the water trailer can be found here, while the fire trailer is here.
What the trailers don't illustrate is the fact that B&W2 also allows you to combine miracles for even more devastating effect. So, for example, you can use water to make the land wet, then unleash lightning and watch the electric charge will spread instantly, sending any innocent folk who just happen to be out for a stroll to a their doom.
Lionhead studios has dipped into the virtual postbag to answer a few more questions about the forthcoming sequel to PC God-sim Black & White.
It's been confirmed that four creatures will be available - Cow, Wolf, Lion and Ape - while three more unnanounced characters will pop up later in the storyline. Creatures start off at around four times the height of your average villager but can more than triple in size, provided they get enough rest and square meals. "And they're much, much, much more advanced," says Lionhead.
Black & White 2 will feature two different types of miracles. Standard ones are quick to charge and can be used in two different ways - Throw or Pour. So you can launch a Water miracle to either irrigate your crops or drown your enemies, for example. The other standard miracles are Fire, Heal, Lightning, Shield and Meteor.