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Molyneux, Lionhead Studios Think Different
Four new titles demonstrate unique approach of U.K. studio
For Peter Peter Molyneux and Lionhead Studios, the construction of unique and emotionally provocative gaming experiences has always been the primary goal, so the Gilford, U.K., developer's far-reaching 2003-2004 lineup should come as no surprise to the computer and videogame industry.
In The Movies, set for a 2004 release by Activision on PC and all videogame systems, gamers take the helm of a Hollywood movie studio. Starting in the silent-film era of the 1920s and moving into Tinseltown's modern era and beyond, The Movies allows players to manage scripts, directors, actors, and the all-important bottom line amidst the cacophony of egos and stiff studio competition. "Lionhead is [definitely] a development studio [that has]
the knowledge and resources to develop a game that will allow players to fulfill the fantasy of building a movie empire," stated Larry Goldberg, executive vice president of Activision Worldwide Studios.
In classic Molyneux style, the Xbox-only title Fable (formerly known as Project Ego) begins with the kidnapping of the lead character's mother and sister, then allows gamers the freedom to solve the mystery and engage the magical world of Albion in whatever manner they choose. Callous, selfish, and evil actions can be just as effective as a noble and altruistic approach, and each moment in the game has a permanent effect on the player's character. Scheduled for release by Microsoft later this year, Fable is set in a fantasy universe and features strong emotional hooks, a lead character whose appearance varies depending on how gamers play, and unrestricted gameplay and story elements.
Also published by Microsoft and scheduled for release on Xbox later this year, BC is a prehistoric third-person action-adventure title featuring a "fully simulated food chain." Set at the dawn of the human race, BC pits humanity against a vicious rival race of ape-men. The gamer's role is to guide the evolution, learning, and survival of their clan via fairly intense action in a massive, wide-open world in which every object has multiple purposes and every creature has its own motivations and personality.
Rounding out Lionhead's current batch of projects is Black & White 2, the sequel to Peter Molyneux's best-selling PC hit. New challenges, tribes, deities, and moral choices await gamers in this much-anticipated title, which promises more focused and diverse gameplay than the original. Black & White 2 should be released by Electronic Arts in 2004.
-By George Jones
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