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Molyneux: Lionhead working on "super secret" second project

By Dan Pearson

Thu 30 Jun 2011 3:27pm GMT / 11:27am EDT / 8:27am PDT

Industry icon talks Fable: The Journey and career in impassioned Gamelab presentation

Lionhead Studios

In 1987 Peter Molyneux founded Bullfrog Productions, along with his then partner Les Edgar in Guildford,...

What's the hardest job in the games industry? Probably being the person who has to try and control what Peter Molyneux tells the public.

Speaking at Gamelab this afternoon, the Lionhead boss was visibly disappointed when he told the crowd that he had planned to give a detailed demo of his Kinect-enabled Fable: The Journey - except that "the powers that be have decided that it's probably not a good idea."

Molyneux did however manage to restrain his legendary enthusiasm by refusing to tell listeners any details of a "super secret second project" currently underway at Lionhead, only promising that it would be worth waiting for.

Nonetheless, Molyneux was unable to resist spending some of his presentation, which was largely focused on what has inspired him over his long career, talking about Fable: the Journey.

Reiterating, through slides and verbally, that the game "isn't on rails", Molyneux went on to say again that the game can be played entirely sitting down, requiring only hand gestures to control the horse, the "off horse navigation" and a magic "weaving" system which enables players to create objects and weapons.

"Some people in the audience wiill be thinking, I don't want to use Kinect. I don't want to jump around all over the place - I want to sit down. That's only thinking of the negatives. Think about the positives about Kinect. The wonderful, amazing thing about Kinect is that it can see you.

"The most amazing thing about the journey is that you can play it sitting down. If I'm going to tell the most emotional story in the fable saga, you'll have to be relaxed."

After confirming that "huge amounts of technology from cancelled Lionhead title Project Milo was used in the creation of the game, Molyneux was also characteristically wistful about the nature of the horse which will pull players' caravans.

"This horse is one of the most amazing things we've ever created. He's going to have so much feeling for you. Think about combining the creature from Black and White, the dog from Fable and my hamster from when I was a child.

"I definitely want to make you cry. I want there to be a lump in your throat. I want you to remember this for the rest of your life. Why would I want to make a game that didn't do that?"

Answering questions after his speech, Molyneux revealed some of his frustration with the final product which Fable III became, telling the crowd that he would always prefer to work on new IP to a sequel, whenever possible.

"I would always prefer to work on something that's not a sequel. Very often with a sequel you can get very bound up in what's gone before. I think Fable 3 suffered from a bit of that, to be perfectly frank.

"I don't like the idea that people know what to expect from Fable. I hate that idea."

From Recommendations by Taboola


Antony Johnston Writer & Narrative Designer

112 18 0.2
"This horse is one of the most amazing things we've ever created."

Peter, gawd bless yer, don't ever change.

Posted:5 years ago


Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware

386 316 0.8
"The most amazing thing about the journey is that you can play it sitting down".

Funny that, I play most my games sitting down....

Posted:5 years ago


James Pungello Content Writer,

1 0 0.0
I love this guy, he's hilarious

Posted:5 years ago


Rupert Loman Founder & CEO, Gamer Network

140 60 0.4
Rule number one of "super secret" projects...

Posted:5 years ago

super secret. not any more. sounds like self promotional?

Posted:5 years ago


Abbass Hussain International Business Development, AQ Interactive

13 0 0.0
Phew, I was worried; we hadn't heard anything from Peter for at least 12 hours.

Posted:5 years ago


Jean Auguste Consultant

4 2 0.5
KinectMe and AvatarKinect as mocap events are the emerged part of the iceberg.

Microsoft and Lionhead will certainly announce a revision of 2005 Lionhead's The Movies for Kinect and the avatars, with Xbox Live compatibility.

- Staging Xbox 360 avatars instead of the original models from 2005
Lionhead's The Movies,

- Ability to start shooting via the vocal command "Action !", thanks
to the Kinect,

- Management of the studio is mainly handled via a solid controller (if not Kinect only with the concept of the couch being the director chair),

- Shooting and post-production processes are mainly handled via the

- The clothes purchased by users through Xbox Live Market Place for
their avatar can be freely used as costumes (Halo, Dead Space T-shirt,
etc..) into the game with no dispute on the copyrights,

- The cars purchased or customized, bound to the user's Xbox Live
racing game Kinect Joy Ride account, can be used,

- Access to movie upload is only granted to Xbox Live Gold subscribers
(hence the need to promote a solo game with studio management),

- Movies can be shared beyond the Xbox Live Gold section (ex: Zune HD,
Xbox Live Silver subscribers, Live Anywhere, etc.),

- Downloadable Content primarily focuses on new props to decorate the
sets, new sets/FX, after user's votes,

- Real trademarks from various companies can appear on billboards
during the game,

- The cast for each movie can be done among the avatars of Xbox Live
user's friends,

- Setting an event like the Xbox Live Oscar / Golden Globes ceremony
with a meeting of subscribers and awards, inspired by 1 versus 100.

The benefits for Microsoft to bring the Movies on Xbox Live are :

- To provide Downloadable Content on a regular basis with no negative
impact on the image of the product (as it's only decoration that does
not interfere with the meaning of the movie),

- To drag people, via the popular phenomenon of User Generated
Content, into the Xbox Live Gold section,

- To ensure non-stop advertisement of strong Xbox licenses (one can imagine that many Halo or Gears of War movies created by users will pop up and be shared through many networks),

- To demonstrate the simplified use via Kinect,

- To capitalize on the use of avatars,

- To get contracts with various companies (the in game billboard concept),

- To strengthen the commitment of the user to his gamertag thus to the
Xbox (or Live Anywhere) brand.

However the difficulties for the studio Lionhead are currently as follows :

- Need to re-work on scales as the avatars are slightly deformed characters,

- Collaboration with the studio Rare (avatars, of course, but Lionhead
really needs to simplify the studio management part and make it
playable via a joystick ; the experience of Viva Pinata could serve
them well),

- Possible need for an artistic overhaul,

- Adapt command to the Kinect,

- Unexpected marketing decisions from Microsoft.

The commercial failure of 2005 Lionhead's The Movies can be attributed to the fact that it was necessary to first be interested in the video game and then in this particular game named The Movies, then visit the Lionhead site, to simply be aware of the possibilities the creation tools offered (very high entry cost for a brand new user ; success based on an ex post community).

Now that a Lionhead's The Movies project can arise as part of the means of expression of an already established community like the Xbox Live (or Live Anywhere) community, should guarantee it a profound
success until long-term (very low entry cost for a brand new user ; success based on an ex anté community).

Posted:5 years ago

@ David - thanks for your interesting insight into the update of Lionhead's the movies. But overall, I dont really understand the long term appeal.

i.e - Is this fun? Is there any real strong replay value?

From a tech standpoint, I can see how it works for marketing, and possible revenue, and even machinima. Heck even one day, you can have live cast of these as short episodes of user generated movies.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Dr. Chee Ming Wong on 1st July 2011 10:16am

Posted:5 years ago


Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,289 126 0.1
Is the super-secret second project Fable IV perchance?!

Posted:5 years ago

Please make a good fable game.
Fable 4 will not be good

Posted:5 years ago

For good IPs, it is good to rest it from the public perception for a bit, and prevent fable-itis.
So, as such an alternate IP announcement would be best, thus allowing Lionhead to alternate between its core projects

Posted:5 years ago


Christopher Bowen Editor in Chief, Gaming Bus

479 813 1.7
If it's such a secret, why are you telling us about it, Peter? Out with it, already. You're taking valuable time away from telling us how amazing your next mediocre game will be!

Posted:5 years ago


Mike Spence Games Development Coordinator, South Thames College

6 0 0.0
all that talking, and now feeling a little horse

Posted:5 years ago


Adam Russell Social Games Designer, Soshi Games

4 0 0.0
"This horse is one of the most amazing things we've ever created. He's going to have so much feeling for you (...) I definitely want to make you cry. I want there to be a lump in your throat."

So basically, the horse is going to die.

Posted:5 years ago


Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator

962 187 0.2
"I don't like the idea that people know what to expect from Fable. I hate that idea."

Well you did create 3 of them!

Striiiiiike 3!

Posted:5 years ago


Luke McCarthy Indie Game Developer

35 0 0.0
Look at my horse, my horse is amazing
Give it a lick, Mmm! It tastes just like raisins.

Posted:5 years ago


Bonnie Patterson Narrative Designer, Writer

299 928 3.1
I love Lionhead's approach to games: the focus on interaction and emotion. I just wish they were larger-scale and the "intelligent" or "evolving" aspects less showcased in the manner of a technological toy and more integrated.

Posted:5 years ago


Matt Ness zzz

5 0 0.0
"The wonderful, amazing thing about ______ is that it can see you."

Big Brother? :)

Posted:5 years ago


Joe Winkler trained retail salesman, Expert

179 5 0.0
@David: Great Idea ;) it is just a matter of time 'till someone steals your idea..
@Adam: "So basically, the horse is going to die." Damn I was too slow.

Peter "promisealot" Molyneux is always good for a laugh. But instead of bashing him, I must admit that his love for games and the way he talks about his babys (or dogs or horses) is a fascinating way to promote a product. He's a designer through and through and the most "emotional" game designer in public.

The super duper mega secret is: PopolusBlackFableWhiteMylowMovies and is a MMORPGSHOOTVENTURE.
PBFWMM will be released in August 2037 on hte MS Livecloudconsole.

Posted:5 years ago


Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,292 456 0.4
Is it a new Magic Carpet? I know the answer to that is no, but I can dream.

Posted:5 years ago


Kenneth Mcmorran 3D Artist \ Environment Artist, One Thumb Mobile Ltd

16 0 0.0
I just know there is going to be a special horse peripheral that you sit on and plastic carrots to dangle in front of it.

Posted:5 years ago


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