by Johnny Cullen,
Ex-Crytpic Studios CEO Needham will report directly to Microsoft Studios Europe boss Phil Harrison as part of his new day-to-day role, which he takes over after the depature of Mark Webley. Webley became studio head in the wake of Peter Molyneux's leaving from the developer in March 2012.
"This is a historic time in our industry and I’m excited, and honoured, to be joining Lionhead and Microsoft Studios," said Needham. "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.”
Harrison added: "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.”
Worth noting that Microsoft trumpted Needham's past experience with subscription-based massively multiplayer as well as free-to-play online experiences in the press release announcing his appointment, which adds more spice to the whipsers that the Fable studio is working on a MMO for the next Xbox, or at the very least an MMO-like title.
Lionhead's last title was the panned Kinect spin-off Fable: The Journey last year for Xbox 360.