One of Microsoft’s premier developers, responsible for the Fables series, has shut its doors. Microsoft has announced not only the cancellation of Fable Legends but also the closure of developer Lionhead Studios today in an update on the Xbox News Wire. Alongside that news, they went on to announce that Danish developer Press Play Studios will close too and its current game, Project Knoxville is also axed.
Lionhead was founded by Peter Molyneux and acquired by Microsoft in 2006. Molyneux, one of gaming’s most well known developers, founded the studio in 1996 and developed the Fable games for Xbox as well as the less successful (but still quite good) Black & White.
Fable Legends was a change from the regular formula of the franchise and allowed four players to team up as heroes and fight a player-controlled villain, very similar to how Evolve played. Unfortunately it seemed as if interest from the community was minimal so that could have rang the death knell on the game.
Hanno Lemke, general studio manager for Europe, said in a statement today noted that the company will try to find opportunities within Microsoft for affected employees as well as in the wider development community. Lemke added that Microsoft remains committed to developing games in the UK and Europe. From the official statement:
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.