One of the most celebrated creative minds in the world of gaming, Peter Molyneux, has announced that he is to quit both developer Lionhead and its owner Microsoft.
Molyneux will continue to work as a consultant on Xbox 360 Kinect title Fable: The Journey until its release later this year.
His next venture will be his new company 22 Cans, which was established by chief technical officer of Lionhead Studios Tim Rance following his departure from the studio in January. It is a Guilford based business.
Fellow Lionhead co-founder Mark Webley will take over at the Guilford-based studio. As well as quitting as boss of Lionhead, Molyneux will also be stepping away from his role of creative director at Microsoft Studios Europe.
"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,” he told Kotaku.
"I remain extremely passionate and proud of the people, products and experiences that we created from Black and 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."
A Microsoft statement added: “Lionhead Studios Founder and pioneer game developer Peter Molyneux has made the decision to leave Microsoft. While his decision was a difficult one, he felt the time was right to pursue a new independent venture.
"As a 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.
Lionhead Co-Founder Mark Webley will assume the role of studio manager, while Peter wil remain a creative consultant on Fable: The Journey. The development of Fable: The Journey remains on track to be one of the year’s most anticipated Kinect for Xbox 360 titles.
“He has made an indelible mark on the games industry and we wish him all the best of luck in his future endeavors."
Lionhead was founded in 1997 and after a string of successes such as Black & White and Fable, was acquired by Microsoft in 2006. Molyneux was then promoted to head of Microsoft Game Studios Europe in 2009.