Microsoft may close Lionhead, cancels Fable Legends

3 min read


You may or may not like Lionhead all that much, but you have to admit that they’ve made some great games. Even if you don;t consider Fable to be among the great ones that they’ve released, the franchise certainly left a mark on the last two generations, with 3 well received games in the series – and one terrible on that used Kinect. Whatever your thoughts, there has to be a part of you that’s been waiting for a sequel to Black and White. Unfortunately, it’s likely to never happen.

Microsoft is discussing shutting down Lionhead, and cancelling the game it was busy with, Fable Legends.

“Today, I have some difficult changes to announce that affect some of our Microsoft Studios teams and projects in the UK and Denmark,” Microsoft said in a post.

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.

Already closed is the smaller studio Press Play, developer of Max: The Curse of Brotherhood.

“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.”

That’s unbelievably sad – and the idea that such an old and revered studio is closing is terribly disheartening.

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Last Updated: March 7, 2016

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Jonah Cash

    Is Microsoft going for this? Watch your back EA, you might have some stiff (or soft) competition for your prestigious poo award…

  • Jonah Cash

    I loved playing Fable 2, it was such a cool game. Didn’t play 1 and never though about 3 all that much. But 2 is right up there with my personal must play games.

    • HairyEwok

      Lost Chapters won the hearts of many gamers.

  • HvR

    Expect more to fall, M$ only about 7000 to 8000 people in to their 18k target of people being cut.

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    So I reckon Rare is on its death bed too? If Micro$oft truly cared about gaming* they’d put Rare up for sale and allow either Sony or Nintendo to purchase their IPs.

    *Lol they don’t.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      They only care about PC gaming now! Let’s rename the Xbox One, Xbox Last One!

      • Hammersteyn

        Seems Fable is fading into….Legend?

  • Hammersteyn

    Maybe they’ll do a 180 and launch the game anyway?

  • Pieter Kruger

    WTF?? Was really looking forward to this game FFS!!! Only heard good things from people playing the beta, would love to hear their rationale behind this decision! Very Sad….????????????

    • Hammersteyn

      Scalebound is coming

      • Pieter Kruger

        Yeah yeah I know……Scalebound, Quantum Break, ReCore, Gigantic, Gears of War 4, Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3 etc. etc. but NO FABLE LEGENDS DAMMIT!! Why cancel a game so late into development?! Feeling emotional/nostalgic, calling in sick, gonna play all my old Fable games today…..

        • Hammersteyn

          I’d do the same

  • HairyEwok

    Well if Lionhead Studio gets closed down, all hope for a new Black & White goes with it.

    • Guild

      Feel the same. Been waiting sooo long for Black&White 2

  • And I was looking forward to Fable Legends. Sometimes I wish Microsoft would stop all affiliation with games.

    • Guava_Eater

      Me too

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