It came as a huge shock when it was revealed last month that Microsoft had made the decision to close Lionhead studios and consequently cancel production of the upcoming 4vs1 F2P game Fable Legends. The game was still receiving updates and by all considerations, it came as a shock for many Lionhead employees also. It’s always a terrible thing when a studio is closing down because that always means people losing jobs but also the fact that Fable Legends was seemingly coming along nicely. The game had been stuck in development for many years and missed its 2015 release date while still in closed beta.
Hanno Lemke, general manager of Microsoft Studios Europe made an official statement when the closure was announced.
“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.”
Fable Legends was the only title officially in development at Lionhead, which Microsoft acquired in 2006. It was sad to hear because the game boasted some impressive features but didn’t make the cut in Microsoft’s eyes. The service will cease to be available after 15:00 GMT on Wednesday 13 April 2016. That makes today the last day for you to take on some enemies in Albion for what is very likely the last time in Fable Legends. Go out and enjoy the final few hours of the game Heroes, because after today you won’t get the chance to do so.