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.”
A free Kameo update is now available, unlocking co-operative gameplay over Xbox Live and System Link. Players can now enjoy the two-player co-op found in the action levels of the game which have to be completed in single-player mode.
Rare has also released two packs of costumes for the game, with both going up for 200 points.
“Microsoft is in deep shit,” is the thought that went through many people’s heads with the recent PlayStation 3 announcements from Sony. Well, the official response is here from Shane Kim, the GM of Microsoft Game Studios, and it’s pretty much “We don’t care.”
“Leaders don’t react,” are the man’s exact words though. “For us, Sony’s announcement doesn’t change anything. We’ve had a very clear strategy for a long time now and we’re not going to change that. We’re not going to react to anything that they do.”
He also talked about Sony’s E3 2005 presentation, which many people believe to be all light and mirrors. Kim also feels that the Xbox 360’s one year head start will cause “serious problems” for Sony. The company’s worldwide launch was also mocked by the General Manager.
Gamer Score, a blog run by Microsoft employees, reiterates the same statements. However, their “greatest launch in the history of video games” comment has been thought to be comic relief by many rather than a serious statement.
This announcement certainly doesn’t change any of our plans. We’ve blasted out of the gate with the greatest launch in the history of video games and we’re keeping our eyes squarely fixed on today and on the Xbox 360 road ahead, including continuous new content and programming through our premier Xbox Live online gaming service, the delivery of 80 high definition games and shipping between 4.5 and 5.5 million consoles by June.
Expansions for Zoo Tycoon weren’t enough – Microsoft Game Studios and Ensemble Studios also announced plans for an expansion pack for Age of Empires III. Due in stores this Fall, the expansion will provide new ways to play and win, new gameplay elements and content including new civilizations, a new single player campaign, Home City enhancements and additional maps and units. Additional content will also be added to the European civilizations as well.
Two new expansions for Zoo Tycoon 2 have been confirmed by Microsoft Game Studios: African Adventure and Marine Mania, and a downloadable “Dino Danger Pack.”
To be available in June 2006, African Adventure will let players adopt and care for 20 new Afircan animals from eight biomes. New buildings, objects and gift items will also be included. The expansion will also enable a safari-like adventure in Zookeeper, Zoo Guest and Photo Safari modes. The “Marine Mania” expansion pack and downloadable “Dino Danger Pack” will also further expand the game by adding new scenarios and themes.