Lionhead may be hiring for next-gen MMO
This job listing on LinkedIn states that a “major, renowned studio in the UK” is recruiting designers and programmers to work on an MMO for next-gen consoles. Superannuation believes it’s Lionhead.
The MMO is going to be based on an RPG IP that will offer a “radical new take on… co-operative and multiplayer gameplay.” It also aims to blend online and single player into one experience.
Building upon that, it further states that the game will feature a “complex progression system, multiple routes through the campaign, and an MMO-like multiplayer experience.”
If it’s Lionhead making the game, then it’s definitely coming to the next Xbox console.
Something Big is Coming to Fable 2
A “big” announcement is coming for Fable 2, according to this post on the game’s blog.
“Normally, we don’t like to tease too much,” reads the post. “You know, all this hype being generated by teasing the announcement that there will be an announcement in X-number of days. Who cares? But in this day and age where a gazillion titles are asking for your attention, I felt it might be the right thing to do on the blog.
“We’ve got some good news for all Fable II fans next week, dare I even say it’s quite a big announcement? Yes of course I dare say it’s a big announcement regarding Fable II, next week!”
That will be one hell of a “big” announcement. I hope it’s a downloadable expansion or chapters of some sort.
Lionhead Studios Video Diary – Episode 3
The third episode in Lionhead Studio’s video diary is now available for download from here (direct), the official website and from Xbox Live Marketplace. Unfortunately, I don’t have a streaming version of it here.
The video takes a look at the studio’s 10th anniversary bash and the technology team behind Fable 2, who explain what it is to be a “geek”. They also show off the tools and technology behind the coming game.
Lionhead Video Diary – Episode Two
To celebrate the studio’s tenth anniversary, as well as the development of Fable 2, Lionhead has released episode two of its video diary, highlighting the upcoming game’s one-button combat system.
The video diary also talks about the development team’s comical anecdotes about their real-life combat encounters with the sword-master they had hired to demonstrate “real sword-fighting.” They also show a friendly football match between Lionhead and Rare, another fellow UK developer.
You can view the video on the studio’s website; it is also embedded below:
Fable 2 Update: "Next-gen" World
A new Fable 2 update is up on the Lionhead website, this time offering word on the world in the game and how they are developing it to be truly “next-gen”. Here’s a bit:
Dene Carter created 2D sketches of most of the areas that are used in Fable 2. Charlton then went off, using the Fable: The Lost Chapters engine, to turn those sketches into a “real” world in which you could walk around. The aim of this process was to get a complete feel of what it will eventually look like, while the technical guys were working on the tools and the brand new Fable 2 engine itself. It took Charlton about 2 – 3 days to create every area this way. The team could then walk around in the world and review each area and make the required changes instead of working with an engine that isn’t finished yet or designing all the levels on paper without a real feel of the final result. This “template world” allowed the design team to get a really good feel for the game and improve all areas even before being able to test them in the Fable 2 engine. Once all of this was done and the programmers and coders finished their initial work everything was transferred to the new Fable 2 engine, including the height fields which are so all-important. Don’t ask me why they’re that important, as I’m not completely familiar with all this vocabulary but Charlton mentioned it on more then just once occasion.
This time around the world will be “much bigger and better;” however it seems that it will still be on-the-rails as its predecessor. Going off-topic, the update also mentioned that the design document for Fable 2 currently stands at 1,364 pages or around 550,000 words. Now, that’s BIG!
I should also mention that a new piece of low-res concept art is also attached with the update (mirrored here).
Fable 2 Tidbits
This year’s E3 saw a short, but sweet teaser trailer for Fable 2 on Xbox 360; no details were revealed, but a few new tidbits are now available through an update by Sam on Lionhead’s website.
The developer has apparently submitted a “milestone” build to Microsoft; it was well-received, though the author mentions modestly that they haven’t done “too badly.” It seems that the studio is avoiding the mistakes it made with the first Fable – talking too much about it – and has decided not to divulge any details, though the post mentions a motion capture session, among other things.
However, Sam does report that the final storyline has been set in stone and that they are hard at work on implementing it in the game. The story, as stated, will be mature and darker from the original Fable; it will be set 500 years after the original and will have some “rather cool” twists to it.
The studio will submit another milestone build next month, so another update can be expected then.
Microsoft Acquires Lionhead
Confirming previous rumors, Microsoft Game Studios has announced that it has purchased Lionhead Studios, the studio behind Fable, Black & White and The Movies.
Joining the likes of Rare, Bungie, Ensemble Studios and FASA, Lionhead will now create content exclusively for the PC and Xbox 360 platforms.
“At Microsoft Game Studios we have worked hard to become the best partner for the best creative talent in our industry, and this acquisition underscores our commitment to excellence,” said Shane Kim, general manager of Microsoft Game Studios. “Peter Molyneux is one of the few true visionaries in our industry, and his joining us is incredibly important to the future of both interactive entertainment and MGS. Lionhead is a shining example of the innovative and creative talent that has delivered some of the most influential and unique games experiences to date, and I am honored to welcome Peter and the incredible people at Lionhead Studios.”
“We could not be more excited about being part of MGS. They have long supported our creative vision, and this teamwork resulted in the hugely successful ‘Fable’ franchise,” said Molyneux, managing director of Lionhead Studios. “This acquisition gives Lionhead the stability and opportunity to focus on creating world-class next-generation titles. We are joining some of the most incredible game creators in the industry, the combined talent of which will truly take next-generation gaming to a new level.”
Black & White 2 Demo
A 617 MB Black & White 2 demo has been released, offering the chance to become the hand of God. The demo starts in “Land 3” of the full game, guiding users through the finer points of town building.
Grab the demo from 3D Downloads, 3D Gamers, FileFront, Gameguru Mania, GameSpot, Strategy Informer, VGPRO and Worthplaying.
Black & White 2 Expansion Announced
Marking the day as expansion day, Lionhead announced the Battle of the Gods expansion pack for Black & White 2, their God-simulation title. Here’s the deal:
The war between the Aztecs and the allies was over. The Aztecs, crazed with dreams of ruling the planet, had come up against the steely resolve of the stronger, cleverer Greeks. And, most importantly of all, they’d come up against the Greek god.
The graves of the Aztec army covered the lands, but one band of survivors would not accept the defeat, the death of their nation. Over many months they built Totems. Shrines to the thousands of slain Aztec warriors. Then, slowly, they started pulling the bodies from the ground. They dragged them to the Totems and sacrificed them, chanting mindlessly to the skies. For a long time nothing happened. The survivors dug and pulled and dragged and hundreds of bodies went into the Totems. Yet nothing happened. As every believer knows, sacrifices must be living to bring forth a response.
Then the incredible happened. As more bodies piled into the Totems, without warning the sky split with a flash. The accumulated dead had been enough and a god had been summoned. Born of an army of the slain, this was no ordinary god. This was a god never seen before. For the first time in this world there was a god of the Undead. And the ground began to shake. This Aztec deity was raising an entire corpse army. Death was coming to the world on a massive scale.
The expansion will feature a brand new creature, two new lands and four new miracles, as well as six new challenges, among other content. A Spring release date was stated; however, no pricing was announced.
The Movies Expansion Announced
Activision and Lionhead have officially announced Stunts & Effects, an upcoming add-on for The Movies which was revealed some time ago. Scheduled for release this Spring, the add-on will add stuntmen to the lot, enhance the movie-making toolset, add a diverse selection of dangerous stunts, new visual effects, new sets and new techniques and technologies which can be unlocked.
The Movies: Stunts & Effects allows players to hone their movie making skills with features that can turn an ordinary script into an extraordinary blockbuster. In addition to stunts and effects, the game introduces new backdrops, costumes and props, as well as upgrades to the Advanced Movie Making mode that lets players take control of even more movie features. Players are further immersed into the Hollywood lifestyle as they train and manage stuntmen, as well as compete for industry awards and achievements by uploading their movies to www.themoviesgame.com for the entire world to see.
No pricing or exact release date was provided.