Last year Peter Molyneux announced he was leaving Lionhead Studios and Microsoft to get back into the indie development crowd. It wasn't entirely clearly what Lionhead would do in the meantime, but now we do. John Needham, former CEO of Cryptic Studios and Gazillion Entertainment, is the new boss at Lionhead, and he brings a ton of MMO experience to the group. He sounds quite happy to join the team, as you can see below:
This is a historic time in our industry and I'm excited, and honoured, to be joining Lionhead and Microsoft Studios. Our vision is focused on building innovative gaming services and AAA experiences at Lionhead, and the rest of Microsoft Studios, which take advantage of Microsoft's incredible hardware and software platforms. Personally, I can't wait to get started.
Needham oversaw City of Heroes and Star Trek Online during his time at Cryptic, while Gazillion is putting the finishing touches on Marvel Heroes. He also worked at Sony Online Entertainment once upon a time. That MMO experience could mean a new direction for Lionhead, especially in terms of online with the Next Xbox. Phil Harrison, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business for the EMEA territory and the man Needham will report to, had the following to say about the new executive:
It's my pleasure to welcome John Needham to Microsoft Studios and Lionhead. He brings a wealth of proven executive leadership experience in the online gaming space to the company and I know he will confidently lead Lionhead towards an ambitious online future.
The "online future" of Lionhead may mean a new MMO is in the works at the studio, especially given the track record of Needham. We'll just have to wait and see what happens, but at the very least it's good to see Lionhead Studios get a new boss.