In a shock move today, Microsoft have announced that UK studio Lionhead is to be shut down and their upcoming game Fable Legends is to be canned.
Lionhead studios is most famous for working on the fable series along with the Black and White games.
Founded in 1996 and led for most of its life by Peter Molyneux, the studio started to break away from another acclaimed British company Bullfrog, who was famous for the Theme series including Theme Hospital and Theme Park.
During Lionhead’s life cycle its main property was the Fable series with the first game seeing the light of day on September 14th, 2004 with a sequel to follow five years later and a third game in the series released the following year; all games in the series were released on the Xbox 360 along with Kinect spin-off title Fable: The Journey and board game Fable Heroes.
Fable Legends was the next project in the series and was going to utilize the cross play feature between the Xbox one and Windows 10, however now it will not see the light of day.
In the full statement released by Microsoft it said:
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.