Molyneux Demonstrates Internal Lionhead Experiments

Molyneux Demonstrates Internal Lionhead Experiments

Back when Lionhead studio was working on its first game, Black and White, the studio's founder, Peter Molyneux, got the idea to have in-game weather match the weather outside in the real world. Development of almost all other game aspects was halted as the development team tried to get the weather right. That idea never made it to the final game.

To prevent that situation from happening again, Molyneux instituted an "experiments program" within the company. The experiments program encouraged and regulated Lionhead employees' ideas.

Under the program, all Lionhead employees are able to pitch their ideas in front of an assessment board that meets every few months. The board selects the most prominent ideas and assign them to small teams of less than 5 developers for less than 12 weeks (the average is 4 weeks).

During the Game Developers Conference, Peter Molyneux outlined some of the ideas that were tackled under the program. ProtoDog was an experiment of Molyneux's creation. At first, the user used a hand icon to pet and pamper the dog in a classic punishment/reward fashion. Molynuex believed that this felt more like a creature from black and white than like a dog, so he went back to the drawing board and redesigned it. The end result was the famous Fable II's dog.

Most of the experiments focused on graphics and physics, but one experiment that was a "real success" was Fisticuffs Crescendo. During one of his speeches, Molyneux expressed his frustration that more people couldn't experience combat-heavy video games due to the dexterity required to operate multi-button controls. After that speech, a Lionhead employee told him that he's got "this really cool idea for something called one-button combat." The idea was included into the experiments program and it ended up being the core of Fable II's combat system.