Peter Molyneux leaves Lionhead

Industry legend Peter Molyneux is leaving Lionhead Studios and parent company Microsoft for new pastures, 15 years after he co-founded the English developer behind Fable and Black & White. He's moving to be creative director at new company 22 Cans, joining former Lionhead CTO Tim Rance.

"It is with mixed emotions that I made the decision to leave Microsoft and Lionhead Studios, the company that I co-founded in 1997, at the conclusion of development of Fable: The Journey," Molyneux said in a statement provided to Kotaku.

"I remain extremely passionate and proud of the people, products and experiences that we created, from Black & White to Fable to our pioneering work with Milo and Kate for the Kinect platform. However, I felt the time was right to pursue a new independent venture. I'd like to thank the team at Lionhead, as well as our partners at Microsoft Studios for their support, dedication and incredible work over the years."


Friend of Shacknews Molyneux added on Twitter, "Now for something really amazing, scary and brave a new company called 22 Cans."

What exactly 22 Cans is, and what it's doing, are still under wraps.

"Today is 7th day of 3rd month of 12th year. Add them all up and you get 22. 22cans," he cryptically noted.

Molyneux co-founded Lionhead in 1997, after splitting from the hallowed Bullfrog Productions (which he also co-founded) a few years after it was bought by Electronic Arts. Microsoft bought Lionhead in 2006, and appointed Molyneux the European creative director of Microsoft Game Studios in 2009. There's no word on who'll fill the MGS role, but fellow Lionhead co-founder Mark Webley will step into Peter's shoes as studio manager there.

In a statement, Microsoft said, "As co-founder of Lionhead and an integral part of Microsoft Studios, Peter was the creative visionary behind the blockbuster Fable franchise, and one of our most passionate and influential developers for the Xbox 360 platform. He has made an indelible mark on the games industry and we wish him all the best of luck in his future endeavors."

As well as Fable: Journey, Lionhead is working on the recently-revealed Fable Heroes and has been spotted seeking a programmer with MMO experience.

Another group of Fable veterans recently split to form Another Place Productions.