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."