The most unlikely surprise to come out of Microsoft’s January Windows 10 event was the HoloLens – an augmented reality doohickey that has more in common with Google Glass than the Oculus Rift. One of the brains behind it resides in the head of Kudo Tsunoda – the onetime creative director of Kinect.
Busy though he might be, Tsunoda is taking on new responsibilities at Microsoft Studios – and in particular overseeing significant managerial change at Lionhead.
Lionhead is losing John Needham; the former boss of Gazillion and Cryptic has led the Fable studio for the past year, but will now be recalled to Redmond to work on HoloLens and new Xbox IP.
In his place, Black Tusk general manager Hanno Lemke – until now working on the Gears of War reboot – will command Microsoft’s UK studios from London. And he’ll take orders from Tsunoda, now supervising Lionhead and Rare, as well as the younger crop of Microsoft outfits that includes Twisted Pixel. Minecraft will remain in the gentle grip of Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer.
“This is just really the set-up that gives our teams the best chance of success in making great products,” Tsunoda told Microsoft PR soldier Major Nelson. “Obviously if we were worried these are not things we would be doing. We’re making the changes to really set things up for success.”
Fable Legends, newly free-to-play and recently announced for PC, is reportedly “coming along great”.
“The beta is super fun,” said Tsunoda. “I was just over in the UK last week playing the game; villain mode is awesome, the heroes are playing really great. And so I feel really good about where Fable Legends is.”
Tsunoda’s experience with Kinect has taught him the importance of delivering “really great core experiences” – and that’ll be reflected in his future work not only on HoloLens, but with Windows 10.
What was the last Lionhead game you lot played? I think our Matt’s replaying The Movies atm.