Lionhead Studios

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Lionhead Studios (also known as Microsoft Game Studios Europe) is a British computer game development company led by industry veteran Peter Molyneux, and acquired by Microsoft Game Studios in April 2006. Lionhead started as a breakaway from the developer Bullfrog, which was also founded by Molyneux. Lionhead's first game was Black & White, a god game with elements of artificial life, strategy, and beat 'em up games. Black & White was published by Electronic Arts in 2001. Lionhead Studios is named after Mark Webley's hamster, who died not long after the naming of the studio.

Black and White was followed up with the release of an expansion pack named Black & White: Creature Isle. Lionhead then released the popular Fable, from satellite developer Big Blue Box. In 2005, Lionhead released The Movies and Black & White 2. On 6 April 2006, it was announced that Lionhead Studios was to be purchased by Microsoft. Their most recent game to be released is Fable III which was released on the 26th October 2010.

Milo and Kate was being developed for Kinect, though speculation arose concerning whether it was actually a game or a tech demo. Production has since been halted.


Corporate structure

For a period of three years, Lionhead set up a network of "satellite" developers, including Big Blue Box Studios (developers of Fable), Intrepid Games (developers of B.C., since suspended due to a massive overrun) and Black & White Studios (who have taken responsibility for the continuation of the Black & White series). Lionhead proper was working on three games: Fable, B&W2 and The Movies; in addition, the studio may potentially have been working on Fable III and The Dimitri Project.

The "satellite" system has ceased to exist in any meaningful form since mid-2004, however, with Big Blue Box having been more or less integrated into the main company, and Intrepid essentially having been disbanded.

Lionhead was a privately held company until October 2004 (shortly before the suspension of BC) when a consortium of investors, including Ingenious Ventures, IDG Ventures Europe and technology firm Add Partners, made a significant investment into the developer. This at a time when the company was in severe financial straits, as they had over-run development on two projects, Black & White 2 and Fable, and also canceled B.C. and a project with Jeff Minter named Unity.

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