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30 great devs in 30 years: Lionhead

A quintessentially British studio...

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Fable II

"Fable II finally sees Lionhead's original concept realised, and all round it's clearly the developer's best game to date."CVG

One of the most famous RPGs around and a franchise that is thought of by many as quintessentially British at its core, Fable is a name resonates with gamers even if it has failed to smash the top band of review scores to date.

Nevertheless, its strength is once again in its depth, putting together beautifully realised worlds, open-ended gameplay, a slew of RPG elements and cheeky humour.

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The series kicked off with Fable in 2004 but it wasn't until Fable II when the series truly delivered, delivering gamers quests of morality and heroism from Lionhead ever since. There are few games that will make your choices feel quite so important.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Lionhead is currently working on Fable: The Journey - the fourth game in the RPG series but the first for Microsoft's motion sensor, Kinect.

Molyneux explained: "Microsoft came to us and said, 'Hey, could you do a game for Kinect?' We had been working on Milo for well over a year so we had lots of experience with Kinect, but this is a challenge which is not for the faint hearted, to be honest with you.

"I think that the core are pretty tied to their controllers and I think what we need to do is prove that Kinect can have a game as full and engaging and as easy to control as anything that you could have on a controller."

Molyneux promises he has "a very clear idea where Fable will go in the future", but what of the man himself? This year alone, he's had to make room in that Lionhead cabinet for a BAFTA Fellowship and a GDC Lifetime Achievement Award. Does he ever think it's time to hang up his boots?

"That can't be true. It can't, damn it! I feel like everything I've done in the past has led to this moment now. It's time I used all of my experience and all of my failings to make something truly great."

LEGACY

Although Molyneux and Lionhead are sometimes accused of over-hype prior to a games release but the studio has always strived to offer deeper experiences than those that are already on shelves.

Fable brought solid RPG mechanics to the table but, more importantly, it offered both humour and journeys of morality.

It's this exploration of deeper themes in gaming that has informed the studio's direction going forward. Projects like Kinect's Milo & Kate aimed to challenge how we thought about game design.

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