Internationally renowned game developer Peter Molyneux is leaving both Lionhead Studios, the company he co-founded in 1997, and Microsoft, which bought Lionhead in 2006. Microsoft has not named anyone to succeed him as creative head of Microsoft Studios Europe. Lionhead will continue under the leadership of co-founder Mark Webley.

He will remain at Lionhead until Fable: The Journey, the latest title in the studio’s hugely popular Fable franchise, is completed in about a month. Lionhead is also well-known for the Black & White franchise and The Movies. Additionally, it has an ambitious project called Milo and Kate in development that is designed to push the boundaries of what’s possible with Microsoft’s Kinect.

Molyneux used Twitter to share the news that he left to join 22 Cans, a new games company recently established by former Lionhead chief technical officer Tim Rance. “Now for something really amazing, scary and brave, a new company called 22 Cans,” Molyneux tweeted.

More formally, he issued a statement initially to Kotaku that read: “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.”

Microsoft issued a corporate statement of support for Molyneux: “As 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 endeavors.”

Related links:!/pmolyneux/status/177367286859051008

Kotaku – Peter Molyneux Is Leaving Lionhead Studios and Microsoft, Will Finish Kinect Fable

Gamasutra – Peter Molyneux leaving Lionhead, Microsoft for new games studio 22 Cans

G4 – Fable Creator Peter Molyneux Leaves Lionhead, Microsoft

GamesIndustry International – Molyneux leaves Lionhead to join indie studio 22 Cans