Microsoft's very approachable, says Lionhead's Gary Carr; especially Carr's new boss.
"I'm not a Microsoft corporate dude," says Lionhead's Gary Carr. "I want to make sure that Lionhead doesn't just sip the Kool-Aid, I want us to be a developer that makes games we think people actually want to play." But it's been a while since Peter Molyneux left Lionhead to form 22 Cans, and Lionhead did without a permanent replacement. Now John Needham of Cryptic fame has taken up the Lionhead leadership mantle, and Carr thinks this is a step in the right direction. "Because you don't lose Peter and just drop anybody in," says Carr, "you have to find somebody who would culturally fit in."
Carr thinks Needham will do just that, despite initial concerns that Needham would prove to be just another dude in a suit. Very "non-Microsofty," says Carr, and a real people person. But Needham also brings a ton of industry skills along with him, having dipped his toe in pretty much every business model imaginable, from client based and free-to-play, to PC and mobile. Carr thinks he's going to fit in well at Lionhead, but then, even Microsoft isn't the Microsoft of yore. Carr finds himself having more in common with the Microsoft management than he'd have imagined. The people he knew as mid-level bosses years back, the ones he could have a beer with, who hung out in the same places he did, are now the folks in charge of the shop.
Next up for Lionhead is Fable Legends, the game with the 10 year lifespan. "It's big and ambitious," said Needham when the announcement was made, "but it needs to be because it's going to be around a long time." Hopefully Needham lasts as long; but we'll see.