Despite being under Microsoft control, Lionhead creative director, Gary Carr insists that they are different. When it came to replacing Molyneux, Microsoft had to find the right person to lead the studio.
Speaking to OXM, Carr explained that John Needham’s selection was well thought out:
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.
I just find it funny that even an ‘in-house’ developer like Lionhead seems to have a negative view of Microsoft. Carr explains that Lionhead is different because they focus on making games people want to play:
I’m not a Microsoft corporate dude. 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.
Um, does this mean that other Microsoft studios don’t want to make good games? I must say, people love to rag on Microsoft about all kinds of things – there’s that perception that they’re a big, evil corporation. It just seems strange that a studio under their own umbrella can’t phrase things in a nicer way.