Famed designer talks to Develop about the lessons learnt in running Lionhead

Molyneux comes clean on the trials of Fable’s development

If there’s one thing in life that’s difficult, it’s admitting when you’ve made a mistake. But when you’re in charge of 200 people, and those mistakes are costing you millions of dollars a time, those mistakes are that much worse.

For the latest issue of Develop, we sat down with Peter Molyneux to talk about the mistakes he’s made as studio head of Lionhead – and, most importantly, how he’s learnt some important lessons and turned the studio around. We’re pretty confident, in fact, that it’s his most revealing interview ever – and we’ve just posted part one of it online.

Although classically known as taking its time to develop games, recent years have seen new measures and project management techniques employed at Lionhead to make the company a more professional operation.

"If you asked me what I was most proud of in Fable 2, it’s not actually any of [the innovations we introduced]: I’m most proud of the process," he says. "If I’m honest, on Fable we just burnt people’s lives; we destroyed the team. Week after week, month after month, they worked 50, 60, 70, 80 hour weeks. It destroyed their lives and destroyed their marriages. You just can’t do that anymore."

"So looking back at Fable 2, yeah, we crunched at the end, but it was only at the very, very end that we used up people’s whole weekends. There’s a few exceptions, but a lot of Sundays this studio was empty, which I thought was great."

For more on how Molyneux has relaxed the reign on creativity, plus how the company is now a much better place to work, check out part one of our interview here. Part two, in which Molyneux lays bare about his self-imposed PR blitz and where the company goes from here, will be published tomorrow.

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