Lionhead Studios won’t, “just sip Microsoft’s Kool-Aid,” according to the studio’s creative director Gary Carr. He has stressed that the company has retained its identity since the departure of Peter Molyneux.
Speaking with OXM, Carr discussed the appointment of former Cryptic CEO John Needham as Lionhead’s new boss, and insisted that the company’s structure and philosophies remain intact.
“John’s amazing”, Carr explained. “He sits next to me actually. He’s great because obviously when Peter left, we had a year of change. We had an interim boss in [former Rare studio manager] Scott Henson, who was looking after us until we found the right person. Because you don’t lose Peter and just drop anybody in – you have to find somebody who would culturally fit in.
“And to be fair to Microsoft, they didn’t want to drop in a Microsofty person. They wanted to find somebody who fitted the culture of Lionhead. Because when they did culture tests on Lionhead, and we’re at the opposite end of the scale to where Microsoft normally are. So they looked long and hard and found John, and it’s fair to say we all had this scepticism about him being just another corporate dude in a suit before he walked in, but he’s not. He’s an absolute great guy, and very, very non-Microsofty – and I’m not saying that in order to be derogatory to Microsoft, because Microsoft picked him.
“They know the culture of the studio, they know we want to retain an identity, and they also knew Peter’s a difficult person to replace, and I’m glad they took so long because he’s an absolute spot-on hire. I really get on with the guy. The best thing about John is he’s a people person, he can completely relate to anyone, he knows everybody in the studio by name already, he walks around, he talks to everybody, he asks them about themselves, he makes everybody feel like they’re part of the studio.”
What do you make of the above? Is Lionhead the same old studio you knew from the early years? Has it become Microsofty? Let us know what you think below.