Report: Lionhead Had "Multiple Buyers" Interested in The Company

Report: Lionhead Had "Multiple Buyers" Interested in The Company

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Report indicates a number of potential buyers expressed interest in Lionhead Studios, but Microsoft would not consider selling Fable IP.

In March Microsoft announced it was ceasing development on Fable Legends and was "in talks" regarding the proposed closure of Fable developer Lionhead. On April 29, Microsoft confirmed that Lionhead had been closed after 20 years.

A new report from Kotaku UK indicates that a number of companies had expressed interest in purchasing the studio - but the Fable franchise was off the table.

Kotaku claims that the interested parties were "some of the biggest names in video game publishing" and included letters of intent, but were unable to independently verify the claims due to the confidentiality of the process. A source reportedly told Kotaku that Microsoft was unwilling to sell the Fable IP with the studio despite offers "that were in the range of hundreds of millions," and that "90% of the people interested just walked away at that point."

We've reached out to Microsoft for comment, and we'll update should we receive a response.

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I bet they never do anything with the IP, either.

Kajin:
I bet they never do anything with the IP, either.

It follows logic. MS jhas more or less failed to do much with that asset and the worst thing you can do as an executive officer is sell an asset you failed to make money with and then have the guy you sell it to make money hand over fist with it.

What that tells you is the value is in the IP, and not the actual development house. The Buyers wanted to buy the IP. Microsoft saw the value in keeping the IP. Nobody wanted the actual staff or development team. Even if the studio had been bought, the buyer would have done the traditional Bethesda, Activision, EA approach of taking the IP, padlocking the studio and laying off the staff.

Well, that must mean they plan to actually do something with Fable, then, right? I mean, who would be stupid enough to leave millions of dollars on the table if they were just going to-

whisper whisper whisper

...Oh, right. Microsoft.

Crap.

Typical game companies, they buy a studio and its IP, close the studio, and then never touch the IP again, but of course they would never consider selling the license, that would be insane! No no no adopt the "dragon on treasure" mindset, we'll never do anything with any of these great IPs that we didn't even make, but fuck giving the creator of the IP the rights back or letting any other companies actually interested in doing something with the IP have it

Well at least we can hope that they will sell the IP to Black and White so a better studio can do something with it.

Not exclusive to Microsoft. Most major publishers would rather hold onto IP forever than risk someone else making money with it. Oh, NcSoft, why won't you give up City of Heroes...

If only there was some system in place where if IP went unused for a set amount of time, it would revert to its original owner.

Have they considered crowdfunding? There are probably still fable fans out there. Lost. Wandering aimlessly through the darkest woods of the Xbone's online store, as echoes of Stephen Fry and other British talent call to them like the deadly sirens of the south marshes.

I'll never see Fable 2 on PC :(

Zipa:
Well at least we can hope that they will sell the IP to Black and White so a better studio can do something with it.

For what? It doesn't have an interesting canon and there are so many concepts one can come up with to make a god game.

Look at From Dust. It's really similar to Black and White. It would have needed some form of avatar (afaik it has none) and that would be it. I may be neglecting some village building here, since I don't know if it is in From Dust and found that to be the most stupid part of B&W 1.

Speaking as a big fan of B&W(1), even though it maybe is out of a lack of meaningful competition in this particular genre.

Maybe it would be because of the alignment system. But as it was implemented in B&W 1 and 2, it's incredibly outdated today with modern technological capabilities. (Individual alignments for cities, forming nations, nations having much more agency, something more than rainbows or lava lakes).

I haven't played much of B&W 2. Its focus on RTS disappointed me.

Xsjadoblayde:
Have they considered crowdfunding? There are probably still fable fans out there. Lost. Wandering aimlessly through the darkest woods of the Xbone's online store, as echoes of Stephen Fry and other British talent call to them like the deadly sirens of the south marshes.

I don't think so honestly. Fable had one great game and it was the first. Its rep is shot. There are so many games out now that do what Fable did so much better that I think a Kickstarter would fail unless it was a PC exclusive.

Dick move M$, Dick move. You don't just kill the game, oh no! You have to sit on the IP and likely do nothing with it until it fades from memory and becomes worthless...

The good old world of corporate IP, where it's better to burn your house to the ground and salt the earth than to see someone else prosper.

... And Microsoft just goes "Nah, bra. Keep it in storage with the rest of the useless IPs. You know, the ones people want sequels for but won't make us millions of dollars in sales." Fuck off, Microsoft.

I'm calling it now that Microsoft is going to almost kill an entire medium of entertainment due to their incompetence and greed, and that's saying something considering EA still exists.

Quellist:
Dick move M$, Dick move. You don't just kill the game, oh no! You have to sit on the IP and likely do nothing with it until it fades from memory and becomes worthless...

These days there's worse things they can do with the franchise than just sit on it. They could make some crappy cash-in mobile game to try to sucker in old fans- one might call this "pulling a Dungeon Keeper Mobile".

What's so special about the Fable IP anyway? I can't really think of anything iconic about it other than the spectre of Peter Molyneux's continuously overblown promises of scope. Without that, it always struck me as "generic medieval fantasy world #1217". I mean, sure the games might have been good and all, but why would anybody pay millions for it? It ain't Lord of the Rings or The Legend of Zelda.

MS: If I can't make a good game with the IP then no one can

I really hate the idea of big companies buying the rights to IPs, like with Microsoft & Fable or EA & Mass Effect, the end result is always a watered down version from what the original creators made.

And how many big companies are just sitting on a mound of IPs that fans are crying out for sequels to but never do. Just sell them on, you get basically free money, some new company gets to try its hand at an IP and we get a new game in a beloved franchise, everyone wins!

The Rogue Wolf:

Quellist:
Dick move M$, Dick move. You don't just kill the game, oh no! You have to sit on the IP and likely do nothing with it until it fades from memory and becomes worthless...

These days there's worse things they can do with the franchise than just sit on it. They could make some crappy cash-in mobile game to try to sucker in old fans- one might call this "pulling a Dungeon Keeper Mobile".

I guess I should be grateful they didn't make a bunch of Fable Pachinko machines

I really do not care at all about Fable and what they do with it. But if someone out there was able to make another Black & White, I'd be over the moon.

It's one of my all time favorite games, at least the first one, but seem to be very hard to get hold of these days. It's a shame, as lately I've been really wanting to play through it again, but it does not seem to be sold anywhere or otherwise obtainable. Thinking the only option at this point is through Ebay or something.

You would think a new Black & White game would be great right now, as it would be absolutly perfect for VR. Imagine sitting there, taking care of your villagers with a steady and kind hand, only to sacrifice their children to fuel your miracles. When tired of all that, you could just take a moment with your pet and admire your world.
One can only dream..

Clive Howlitzer:
If only there was some system in place where if IP went unused for a set amount of time, it would revert to its original owner.

I thought of that but the problem is, there's nothing stopping companies from just making a crappy little mobile game nobody cares about off the IP just so they can say, "We do stuff with it."

Clive Howlitzer:

If only there was some system in place where if IP went unused for a set amount of time, it would revert to its original owner.

In an even remotely sane world, IPs would become public domain within 10 years after creation tops, whether it's used or not. However, we don't live in a sane world, we live in one where companies use things like IP law to hide behind and justify their inability to do anything worthwhile or worse do nothing.

Arnoxthe1:

I thought of that but the problem is, there's nothing stopping companies from just making a crappy little mobile game nobody cares about off the IP just so they can say, "We do stuff with it."

At least they'd actually be DOING something with the IP then, and maybe, just maybe even if it's one in a thousand games there would be a diamond in the rough somewhere. As it is they just sit on the IP forever while it restricts what everybody else can make so they can IP troll anybody that makes anything even remotely related.

The real reason Microsoft is keeping Fable is so they can make money suing other companies for supposedly infringing on their IP and keeping themselves from looking bad by keeping anyone else from being able to outdo what they did before. It's a shame really, until Fable Legends came along each game was actually better than the previous in almost every way.

 

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