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With Black & White 2 out of the door TVG sits down with Peter Molyneux to discuss the future of Lionhead...
With the recent release of Black & White 2, Fable: The Lost Chapters and with the hugely anticipated The Movies just around the corner, we sat down with Lionheadâ??s head-honcho Peter Molyneux to grill him on what the future may bring for the esteemed UK developer.
Unfortunately sticking firmly to his claims after the original release of Fable we found Molyneux less-then-forthcoming when it came to specifics, however clinging to every word we found the talismanic UK developer attracted towards what the next-gen formats will bring particularly in terms of the Nintendo Revolution.
Three titles for release in relatively quick succession are not what Lionhead fans are typically accustomed to; was this intended or a coincidence and what are your hopes for Black & White 2, Fable: The Lost Chapters and The Movies?
This was not planned but the result of our desire not to release games until we are happy with them. But it has meant that it has been a phenomenally busy time at Lionhead with virtually every person at Lionhead in crunch mode simultaneously. The best part of this period is that all three games are amazing and we hope that everyone enjoys playing them.
To date Lionhead has applied its hand to the God-sim and RPG; would you experiment with any other genres if the right concept came about?
Absolutely in fact The Movies is really a life simulation so that shows we are not afraid to experiment. In fact at Bullfrog we released a number of different genres such as Shoot-em-up with Magic Carpet and RTS with DungeonKeeper. So I think that Lionhead would consider making a game of any genre so long as we could think of the right angle.
"I think the Nintendo controller is an extremely exciting development"
Details on the next wave of Lionhead titles have been kept under wraps with only a brief mention of Project Dimitri; could you divulge a little for us on this and what the near-future brings for Lionhead?
I really canâ??t say too much at the moment sorry except that in Project Dimitri you get the chance to relive your youth whatever it might have been and that I think it is an extremely exciting concept.
Comments attributed to yourself at the Leipzig Games Convention regarding the Nintendo Revolution have sparked interest amongst forums and blogs; have you been witness to Nintendoâ??s vision and do you believe it will offer the â??revolutionaryâ? gaming experience that many are hoping for?
I think the Nintendo controller is an extremely exciting development and that it is very likely to start a revolution as it represents a new way of controlling games and in that sense is far more likely to change the way games are designed than faster hardware as it means we can create games which are just not possible with existing controllers
Purely in terms of creativity the industry at large appears to be stuck in a bit of a rut; do you think this will change and what do you believe will spark this â?“ new hardware, publisher policies, etcâ?¦?
Inevitably when you get to the cusp of next generation hardware it always seems like we get stuck in a rut. There are lots of reasons why creativity is especially important for the next generation games; new controllers, the fact that many of the new machines will be online, the realisation that our audience expect us to raise our game means that you will see some stunning games and some big leaps forward as we become familiar with the new hardware.
"Microsoft is a fantastic publisher and is the natural home for Fable and its future."
Digital distribution and episodic content have been buzz-words in the videogames industry for longer then we care to remember; is this an area that Lionhead have any interest in, will being able to extend a titleâ??s life-cycle along these lines change the way developerâ??s think about games?
Well the possibility of digital distribution is a fantastic opportunity but we have yet to see it taking off in a really big way but when it does Iâ??d love to see Lionhead games becoming available this way.
Aspects such as real-time physics and constantly evolving AI are becoming significantly important in videogames; what areas does Lionhead see as providing the means to continue forward and keep innovating?
I honestly believe that innovation should not be restricted to any one area but innovation is needed from us, as developers in all aspects to create more and more realistic worlds. But we also need to innovate the ways in which games are played in these fantastic settings and that is really the bigger challenge. This means that we are going to have to innovate in all areas but I would single out AI as a key area of ensuring next generation games really are next generation playing experiences
"Lionhead is also developing for other formats and so will have close relationships with the relevant parties."
Shifting over 1.5 million units and with The Lost Chapters on the horizon, surely youâ??ve begun to think about a next-gen sequel to Fable? Additionally can we ever expect B.C to make a return?
I am sorry but I just canâ??t comment on this at the momentâ?¦
Your relationship with Microsoft appears to be very cosy; can we expect this to continue on the Xbox 360 or are you looking at all next-gen formats with equal appreciation?
Microsoft is a fantastic publisher and is the natural home for Fable and its future. Lionhead is also developing for other formats and so will have close relationships with the relevant parties.
Whatâ??s the balance and importance for Lionhead in establishing franchises and creating original concepts?
The freedom to create original concepts is the reason that we founded Lionhead but we also value the freedom to re-visit those concepts and improve, refine and add to them.
TVG would like to thank Peter Molyneux and Cathy Campos for the interview; weâ??ll have further coverage on the next wave of Lionehad titles soonâ?¦