Peter Molyneux Quits Microsoft The creator of classic titles such as Populous, Black & White and Magic Carpet – Peter Molyneux has decided to leave both Lionhead Studios and Microsoft.

In a statement issued by Microsoft today, Peter said “It is with mixed emotions that I made the decision to leave Microsoft and Lionhead Studios, the company that I co-founded in 1997, at the conclusion of development of Fable: The Journey”

“I remain extremely passionate and proud of the people, products and experiences that we created, from Black & White to Fable to our pioneering work with Milo and Kate for the Kinect platform.”

“However, I felt the time was right to pursue a new independent venture. I’d like to thank the team at Lionhead, as well as our partners at Microsoft Studios for their support, dedication and incredible work over the years.”

Molyneux has become a near-legendary household name in the gaming industry and a figure almost synonymous with gaming itself. Lionhead will continue though, under the guidance of co-founder Mark Webley.  Peter will continue the work on Fable: The Journey Рwhich is due for release later this year Рon a consultancy basis.

Molyneux mentioned on Twitter recently his decision to leave Lionhead/Microsoft and join Guildford based indie developer 22 Cans (run by former Lionhead Chief Technical Officer, Tim Rance)

Microsoft responded to Molyneux’s departure with a statement issued shortly after his announcement.

“Lionhead Studios Founder and pioneer game developer Peter Molyneux has made the decision to leave Microsoft. While his decision was a difficult one, he felt the time was right to pursue a new independent venture.”

“As a co-founder of Lionhead and an integral part of Microsoft Studios, Peter was the creative visionary behind the blockbuster ‘Fable’ franchise and one of our most passionate and influential developers for the Xbox 360 platform.”

“He has made an indelible mark on the games industry and we wish him all the best of luck in his future endeavours. Lionhead co-founder Mark Webley will assume the role of studio manager, while Peter wil remain a creative consultant on Fable: The Journey. The development of Fable: The Journey remains on track to be one of the year’s most anticipated Kinect for Xbox 360 titles.”

This comes after Molyneux expressed some frustration during a Q and A session at Gamelab in June 2011:

“I would always prefer to work on something that’s not a sequel. Very often with a sequel you can get very bound up in what’s gone before. I think Fable 3 suffered from a bit of that, to be perfectly frank.

“I don’t like the idea that people know what to expect from Fable. I hate that idea.”

So, what is to come from Peters departure from Microsoft and Lionhead? Well, hopefully some truly fantastic games coming from 22 Cans, definitely a studio to keep your eye on.

…and so his story begins…