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.
"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.
Activision and Lionhead will shortly announce the development of an expansion pack for The Movies, according to a Lionhead forums administrator - and Activision's doing the traditional "can't comment" thing about it.
On Tuesday we reported that Activision had canned the console versions of The Movies following poor sales of the PC version.
However, in a forum discussion focusing on that decision, a Lionhead developer going by "Sam" said, "that does not mean the project is dead".
Those of you wondering about the fate of the promised console versions of Lionhead's The Movies have your answer: they've been canned due to weak sales of the PC game.
Those of you intrigued by the premise of The Movies can finally find out what it's like for yourself by downloading a new playable demo.
It's on odd world, The Movies. Of course there's the idea of resource-managing a film studio while creating films at the same time (some of which we've seen and aren't horrendously awful). But there's also the post-release promotional side, which has already seen virtual stars in the game squawking about John Malkovich's "Uncle Kimino" clothing, and now challenges players to create films featuring product placement for the Chrysler car company. Eh?
Lionhead Studios bigwig Peter Molyneux has praised short film The French Democracy, which was produced using PC Hollywood sim The Movies.
It is, it has to be said, a killer idea.
You're in charge of a major Hollywood movie studio. You hire the stars. You choose the movies to make. You order the research and try and keep everyone happy. And when you've completed a film, a fully watchable mini-featurette pops out the other end. Get more involved and you actually script the films yourself. It allows you to reach out, tear down the silver screen and wear it as a resplendent cloak in your heroic fantasy as a genuine auteur. It's a good idea - one of the best to come from the Bullfrog lineage of good ideas.
But, as a management game, something grates.
The Movies has gone gold and will be released across Europe on November 11th, according to publisher Activision. It's out in the US three days prior to that on the 8th. Look for it on PC, PS2, Xbox and Cube. And, no, we're not doing a "That's a wrap" joke.
Lionhead Studios has announced plans to launch a new website where players of forthcoming PC title The Movies can upload and share films.
Lionhead Studios has dipped into its postbag to answer some questions about The Movies, the forthcoming film-making sim for PC, PS2, Xbox and GameCube.
It seems that the biggest question for most Movies fans is whether you'll be able to make films full of blood, guts and assorted gratuitous violence - and sadly, the answer is No.
"As we're trying to make a game that appeals to everyone, we have to be careful so that we remain within our targeted age rating," says Lionhead.