Fable and Xbox 360 killed Lionhead’s B.C. says developer
“An executive decision was made to put everything behind Fable at the expense of BC”, says original Intrepid Games designer
In a special feature on the greatest cancelled games in history, games™ has spoken to Joe Rider, one of the original developers on B.C., the ambitous dinosaur hunting adventure game once in development at Peter Molyneux’s Lionhead but sadly cancelled at about 75% completion.
Developed alongside Fable, B.C. was reportedly about six months behind Molyneux’s pet RPG project and was, according to Rider, a victim of the early death of the Xbox. “Sony brought out the PlayStation 3 nearly a year ahead of schedule and in turn Microsoft pushed forward the 360 launch window by nine months,” explains Rider. “It was unlikely that Fable and BC would both be finished on time with the current resources available. An executive decision was made to put everything behind Fable at the expense of BC because both products couldn’t be made with the resources available in the now-reduced period of time.”
While Fable was a full Lionhead production, B.C. was a co-development between Lionhead and Intrepid Games, and suffered, according to Rider, because the two studios failed to work together adequately. “Looking back, one of the poor decisions that was made was not to share technology between the two studios,” he says. “Both studios were developing their own proprietary technology – shaders, engines, AI systems – and although the games were very different, I think clearly, looking back, we would have been better served by working more cooperatively.”
Is there any hope that B.C. will eventually resurface? It’s unlikely. Rider confirms to us that three employees at Intrepid Games had worked on concept documents for an Xbox 360 version of B.C. but that no further work was done, as Lionhead and Molyneux moved on to Fable 2. And with the B.C. idea owned by Microsoft and most of its original staff now at Media Molecule, under Sony, the ambitious adventure game is more than likely lost forever. Extinct.
To read more on the fate of B.C. and 20 other great cancelled games, including exclusive insights into TimeSplitters 4, Star Wars: Battlefront III and Criterion’s Skate Or Die remake, see games™ 128, on sale now in both print and digital formats.