Peter Molyneux

Peter Molyneux

English programmer and computer game developer
Date of Birth: 05.05.1959
Country: Great Britain

  1. Peter Molyneux: A Biography
  2. Early Career and Entrepreneurship
  3. Transition to Game Development
  4. Lionhead Studios
  5. The 'Fable' Series

Peter Molyneux: A Biography

Peter Molyneux is an English programmer and game developer best known for his strategy games such as 'Dungeon Keeper', 'Populous', 'Black & White', 'Theme Park', and the relatively recent RPG series 'Fable'. Despite the overall success of his projects, both financially and in terms of critical acclaim, Molyneux is often seen as an overly enthusiastic dreamer. Many times during the development stages, Peter would paint a much more impressive picture of his games than what they ultimately turned out to be. A notable example of this is the release of 'Fable' in 2004, where several previously advertised features were not included in the final version. Molyneux later publicly apologized for this.

Peter Molyneux

Early Career and Entrepreneurship

Peter began earning money through computer games as early as 1982, distributing and selling floppy disks with programs for 'Atari' and 'Commodore 64'. These disks often included various games, and Peter soon realized that having games significantly increased sales. He eventually shifted his focus to exclusively trading games. His first project was a text-based business simulator called 'The Entrepreneur'. Choosing a rather unconventional genre for his debut project, Peter admitted that games like 'Space Invaders' were more popular at that time. He took on all the expenses for publishing the game and ended up manually creating a few hundred copies using two household tape recorders. Unfortunately, his first project did not take off as expected, receiving only two orders. However, it is worth noting that in 2007, a journalist pointed out that the economic aspect of 'Fable II' strongly resembled 'The Entrepreneur'.

Peter Molyneux

Transition to Game Development

Disillusioned with game development, Molyneux briefly shifted his focus to trading baked beans. However, fate intervened when employees of 'Commodore International' mistook his trading company 'Taurus Impex Limited' for the programming group 'TORUS'. Peter received an unexpected and confusing offer to "port his network products to Commodore". He would have likely explained 'Commodore' their mistake if they hadn't included ten free 'Amiga' computers for testing as part of the task. The resulting project, a database called 'Acquisition', brought Peter enough income to establish 'Bullfrog Productions'. Soon after, Molyneux started working on a new game, the strategy game 'Populous'. This game became the first "god simulator" for personal computers and was warmly received by gamers. In January 1995, 'Electronic Arts', the publisher of 'Bullfrog Productions', acquired the company. Peter was appointed Vice President and Consultant.

Peter Molyneux

Lionhead Studios

Molyneux's last project with 'Bullfrog Productions' was the release of 'Dungeon Keeper' in 1997. In August 1997, Peter founded his own company, 'Lionhead Studios'. The first game developed by 'Lionhead' was 'Black & White', which started development in 1997 and was released in 2001. In April 2006, 'Lionhead Studios' was acquired by 'Microsoft Game Studios'.

The 'Fable' Series

One of Peter's most recent projects is the 'Fable' series of role-playing games. All the installments of the series were received fairly well, although Molyneux once again promised potential buyers much more than he was able to deliver in the end.