Microsoft Cancels Fable Legends, Proposes Closure of Lionhead Studios

Microsoft Cancels Fable Legends, Proposes Closure of Lionhead Studios

fable legends

Microsoft has announced big changes, which include the cancellation of Fable Legends and the proposed closure of Lionhead Studios.

In a blog post today, Microsoft announced that it is "in discussions" to close Fable developer Lionhead Studios. The closure of Press Play was also announced. The company says that it is working with those affected to assist them in finding new opportunities within the industry. In addition to the closure and proposed closure, Microsoft revealed that development on Fable Legends has ceased. The announcement was made by general manager of Microsoft Studios Europe, Hanno Lemke.

In December, Lionhead stated that development on Fable Legends was "coming together well," but that it became larger than originally anticipated. As a result, the open beta was delayed to spring of 2016, with the studio saying "It's simply the most ambitious game we've ever created at Lionhead."

Lemke's full post can be read below:

"Today, I have some difficult changes to announce that affect some of our Microsoft Studios teams and projects in the UK and Denmark.

After much consideration we have decided to cease development on Fable Legends, and are in discussions with employees about the proposed closure of Lionhead Studios in the UK. Additionally, we will close Press Play Studios in Denmark, and sunset development on Project Knoxville.

These have been tough decisions and we have not made them lightly, nor are they a reflection on these development teams - we are incredibly fortunate to have the talent, creativity and commitment of the people at these studios. The Lionhead Studios team has delighted millions of fans with the Fable series over the past decade. Press Play imbued the industry with a unique creative spirit behind games like Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Kalimba, which both captured passionate fans. These changes are taking effect as Microsoft Studios continues to focus its investment and development on the games and franchises that fans find most exciting and want to play.

I speak for all of Xbox when I say that despite this news, we remain committed to the development communities in the UK and Europe, and Xbox will continue to support new IP and originality in the games we offer on our platforms, whether they're AAA blockbusters like Quantum Break from Remedy, adventurous new IPs like Sea of Thieves from Rare, or unique new creations from independent developers like Moon Studios with Ori.

We have nothing but heart-felt thanks for the members of Lionhead and Press Play for their contributions to Xbox and gaming. We are committed to working closely with those affected by today's news to find them new opportunities at Xbox, or partnering with the broader development community to help place them in jobs elsewhere in the games industry should they desire."

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That's very diplomatic and carefully worded of them. Lionhead were lucky to have survived this long. I hope the people who worked there move on to better and more productive things.

In December, Lionhead stated that development on Fable Legends was "coming together well," but that it became larger than originally anticipated. As a result, the open beta was delayed to spring of 2016, with the studio saying "It's simply the most ambitious game we've ever created at Lionhead."

I'm guessing that was a big warning flag. Shame that this means we may never get a remaster of Black & White for new OSs.

EDIT: Last game they made that I enjoyed was over a decade ago, but their best was probably 14 years ago. That's a bit shocking, considering how much joy I got out of it at the time.

Hmm, big question for me is why? The suits at Microsoft have never been very smart about how to handle their games and IP, and they've been seesawing in what they focus on every few years anyway. At the same time, Lionhead studios has also been much more ambitious than they probably should have been. Still, would have liked to see what they would have produced.

Given my current mood, I'd blame Microsoft this time around.

Damn, I hate when publishers close studios. The former keeps the IPs, and the later lose everything. Why can't publishers sell the studios and IPs that they no longer consider profitable to someone else who can put them back together instead?

Sorry to hear that. I liked Fable 2 and... ... Fable... 2. On the other hand, the culture of the studio was one that since founding (the head went on to create another studio whose business is profound disappointment) was never set up to deliver what they promised. Legends was going to just be another disappointment,

I'm neither surprised nor upset. Lionhead hasn't produced a really great game since the first Fable, and haven't even made a semi-decent one since Fable 2. Even with all the DX12 hype going for it, Legends always just seemed like a game that nobody really wanted.

I liked Lionhead quite a lot. The Black and White games and the first few Fables were some of my favorites growing up, and while they didn't live up to Molyneux's ambitions they're still unique and charming things.

Unfortunately, judging by their release schedule these past six years, Microsoft had them making a Fable Xbox Live Arcade exclusive game, followed by a Fable Kinect exclusive game, then a re-mastering of the original Fable game...and then Fable Legends.

I'm no expert or insider, but I think Microsoft saw the success of earlier Fable titles and put Lionhead to work trying to make a "franchise" out of it instead of leaving them to just make good games. Legends might've introduced a fun new game in the form of the co-op players vs. player controlled villain, like a sort of antagonistic DnD roleplaying experience, but now we'll never know.

To be fair, that studio mainly had Peter Molyneux going for them. Let that sink in for a minute... Yeah... And even he's gone for a while now.

Their lies, half truths and exaggeration about their games finally caught up with them? About time.

MS really have no clue what to do when it comes to 1st party studios and titles outside of Halo. And this is despite being in the business for about fifteen years now. All this does is keep their first party library low, ensuring there's less incentive to buy an X Box.

Sad times, even if you didn't like Lionhead they were quite the big name back in the day.

Ah, the dry, insincere rhetoric of a heartless bastard politician. I wonder if this is to do with pre-order performance. It seems the sort of reasoning to come from a board of out-of-touch directors.

Well, I'm a little surprised. lionhead was always one of those companies that tended to promise a lot and not always (read, rarely) deliver one what was promised. Still every game of theirs I played, while deeply flawed had a touch of genius that showed me what could have been if they tried just a little harder.

I hate to see a studio close, but the bright side is that the employees that turned out some of the better work can get opportunities in studios that can actually properly manage their time and efforts into greatness.

Meanwhile Fable joins Freelancer, Mech Commander and heaven only knows what else in teh pile of IPs that will never see teh light of day again. Sad really.

They cancelled the game this far into development and are closing the studio. Yeah that tells you a lot right there. In short it says that it will cost more to fix the game they were shown than the game would make in returns following a delayed release.

Huh, well that was unexpected, and I hope Lionhead can survive. What'll happen to Fable, though? To be fair, Legends never interested me in the slightest, but I adored Fable and, in particular, Fable 2 - that's an IP I really don't want to see die off.

Keep the same quality of art design and writing (ditto starring and guest spot voiceovers by various awesome Brits), bring in someone to give it a fully developed combat/magic system, and you have a distinct product that a lot of people will value.

Apropos one of Lionhead's founders: I'll always be grateful to Molyneux - one of the few proper high-profile mavericks of the British gaming scene, going back decades - for Syndicate, Populous II, and the first two Fables. One could say he'll always be a - ahem... - legend to me.

I still can't believe that his has happened... it's just so sudden. I was expecting this to be a joke article but I've seen this news elsewhere and it unfortunately appears to be true.

I've enjoyed the Fable series; mainly Fable 1 and 2, and despite grievances with Fable 3, I was looking forward to Fable Legends. I was anticipating Fable Legends so much that along with Ori and the Blind Forest and Sunset Overdrive, it convinced me to get an Xbox One. I was so excited for Fable Legends that I had been picking out mains, or at least potential ones. I was so eager to play it that I went and got an Xbox One headphone and mic so I could (for the first time ever for me) chat with people as I play an online game.

I'm incredibly disappointed to see this occur... and I'm sad to hear of Lionhead Studios closure and the loss of the jobs of the staff who work their.

CaitSeith:
Damn, I hate when publishers close studios. The former keeps the IPs, and the later lose everything. Why can't publishers sell the studios and IPs that they no longer consider profitable to someone else who can put them back together instead?

I guess if they won't make money out of the IP, no one can.

Ha! I just won a $100 bet before the game even got released!
Also, the studio isn't closing yet. It's just being talked about. Honestly if they had just abandoned that idiotic legends idea and went with Fable 4 I think it would have been fine. Problem was development took to long and there was virtually no demand for the game. Every time it was brought up in my game store it was met with a resounding "meh".

I knew shit hit the fan when it was to be free to play instead of a real game. I don't care about Lionhead, since Molyneux is all that mattered, and now he's a defeated mess which really bums me out. Maybe they should sell Fable to a good developer that is not in Microsoft's clutches so they can make a good one.

Fuck Microsoft.

While I'm not disappointed that Fable: Legends is cancelled (played a bit of the closed beta and hated it), I am disappointed that there probably won't be any more Fable games. I enjoyed the first and second Fable thoroughly and didn't mind the third.

tiamat5:
Their lies, half truths and exaggeration about their games finally caught up with them? About time.

Since the departure of Peter, Lionhead have been pretty tight-lipped about ANYTHING regarding their games honestly. Leaving publishing to deal with any marketing.

And EA and Microsoft have put them to task doing some pretty inane stuff. I know this sounds like fan speculation but I AM literally down the road from the studio, walk past it daily. I know people (well, one) who work there, disillusionment from higher up orders has been rampant. They've wanted to be 100% focused on fable legends but just haven't been. It's a sorry state of affairs. (obviously not going to rat out my source since this was over drinks and I don't want to hurt their future job prospects if this goes through and they're let go)

This is baffling. Legends has had a lot of money pumped into it and has been heavily used in advertising for the X1, and Lionhead is one of the few studios making exclusives for Microsoft.

Seems like a real shot in the foot to me.

EDIT: So apparently, Lionhead wasn't told about this whole thing until about five hours before the announcement was made public. http://www.gamesradar.com/heres-what-phil-spencer-had-say-about-fable-legends-lionhead-last-week/?tag=grsocial-20

This makes me kind of sad. I always thought the Fable games were at least interesting to play, despite the flaws each of them had. I even enjoyed the third one. I've been interested in Black and White, but have never given it a try yet. I've always kinda thought of them kind of like Bethesda, in that their games are usually buggy when launched, but I have a good time playing what they have to offer anyway. Of course, the scale of their games are nowhere near Bethesda level, I'm just saying. It would be sad to see them go, but, despite my usual semi-optimistic 'wait and see, it might be fine' mentality, I do not trust modern Microsoft to handle this all that well.

According to "The Know" on YouTube (https://youtube.com/watch?v=5CsGkCW-Acs), the Windows UWP/UWA debacle may have had a role in Fable Legends' demise.

 

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