"1998 was when Big Blue Box started and we started working on Fable," Dene, who left Lionhead three years ago, says. "I'd worked on the Fable series for quite a long time. Because my background was coding, art, music, level design, the whole kit and caboodle, I grew increasingly frustrated that I wasn't actually doing any of those things myself any more.
"We had at one point on Fable 1 or 2, I can't remember which one it was now, a team of 120 people, all of whom I would know the names of. When I came home I would get to talk about what they did, all of them, to my wife, and then she'd say, 'Oh, well what did you do?' I'd go, 'Well, that's a really good question. Err, I think I told people to do some stuff.' That was valuable, I hear, but it didn't quite feel the same.
"So for me it was a huge drive to get back to my roots of my 8-bit coder days and have a bit more fun and actually do stuff and go, 'I did that! That was awesome! Look at that!' which is what it's all about for me really."
Dene's brother, Simon, left Lionhead more recently, some nine months ago. "We started Big Blue Box in '98, '99. Fable took however long it took - too long (it launched six years later) - but we didn't actually expect it to be nearly as successful as it was. We had plenty of other game ideas we wanted to work on. Fable ended up dominating our life for over a decade. We wanted to get on and do some of those other ideas."