Microsoft cancels Fable Legends, "in discussions" to close developer Lionhead Studios

By midian182
Mar 7, 2016
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  1. In a move that has taken many in the industry by surprise, Microsoft has announced the cancellation of upcoming PC and Xbox One game Fable Legends, and is discussing closing down the long-running studio behind the Fable frachise.

    "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,” wrote Hanno Lemke, General Manager of Microsoft Studios Europe, in a blog post.

    Additionally, Microsoft’s post added that it would be closing down Press Play Studios in Denmark, ending development of the company's third-person multiplayer survival game, codenamed 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 post states. "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."

    One-time PC luminary Peter Molyneux was one of the founders of Lionhead Studios in 1996. The company’s debut title was ambitious God game Black & White, before it introduced the popular RPG franchise Fable in 2004.

    Lionhead shifted its entire focus onto the Fable games after it was acquired by Microsoft in 2006. Molyneux, who had led Lionhead from its inception, left in 2012 to start another studio, 22cans, where he faced so much controversy over promises he made to fans regarding Godus Wars that he swore to “completely stop talking to the press.”

    Fable Legends was in development since 2013 and had gone through a series of redesigns over the years, including a move to a free-to-play model last year. Judging from Microsoft’s statement, it seems that not enough people were showing an interest in the game, which promised Xbox One and Windows 10 cross-platform play.

    While Microsoft has categorically stated that Press Play Studios is being shuttered, the company didn’t use such certain terms when talking about Lionhead. But the likelihood is, unfortunately, that the studio will be broken up, rather than closed entirely. Hopefully, Microsoft will be able to find other positions for any affected staff members who work in the UK and Denmark.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2016
  2. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder You know, that one guy with the PC Posts: 2,189   +589

    Its unfortunate to lose them but in all honesty their recent games had been on a decline. Fable and Fable the Lost Chapters were excellent games that were fun, different, and great looking. However, Fable 2 was a joke of a game and made some very weird changes to the game which made it short and lacking. Fable 3 slightly improved Fable 2 but was still way to short and lacking content. I still find it hard to believe that of the three the first game was still the best by such a long shot. All the others they made had their followers and were decent games (Like Black and White) but had been shelved for many years with Fable feeling like their focus.

    I am going to miss the company and I guess this possibly cans the fable series at least for now but they were not doing much that was spectacular recently so its understandable unfortunately.
    Adhmuz likes this.
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,298   +667

    Gee, maybe the reason everyone lost interest is because of F2P? We all know what kind of games THAT model produces. Or maybe Microsoft just gave up because they couldn't figure out how to release the game as a crappy "universal app".
    Lionvibez and Adhmuz like this.
  4. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,618   +494

    Multiple factors are involved in the making of this decision, decreasing interest in the franchise, diminishing quality in the last couple releases, and then they decide to go F2P, which almost guarantees a limitation due to the pay to win ecosystem these games employ, for those who actually enjoyed the series this is a death blow.

    Personally I enjoyed the PC port of the original Fable, it played well and was easy to pick up and play. I tried the sequel when that finally made it's way to PC and couldn't play more than a couple hours to never go back to it. Microsoft is probably making the right choice given what would have inevitably been a bad game.
    GhostRyder and Puiu like this.
  5. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 1,819   +485

    It's unfortunate for the developers since they lost their jobs, but from what we've seen this Fable game just wasn't something that people really wanted.
  6. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +113

    Alas poor Lionhead...gone are the glory days of Black & White.
    Too bad they are leaving on a down cycle, it's always nice to go out on the top of your trade.
    Lionvibez likes this.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    That's the problem right there. Exclusivity

    I'm not sinking my money on an Xbox or the Microsoft store. And there is nothing Microsoft can do about that. They change too much. I'm putting my money where I don't see change as often.
  8. ghostf1re

    ghostf1re TS Enthusiast Posts: 77   +35

    I've tested this on Xbox One and I honestly did not play the game for more than 15 minutes at a time. I used to love playing the Fable games, but they just aren't the same anymore. This version was riddled with bugs (I know it's a beta), and the frame rate was horrible. One of the worst frame rates I've seen on a console. Besides the bugs, it just simply wasn't interesting enough to hold my attention. I don't like the way they did multiplayer either.
  9. sithalo

    sithalo TS Rookie

    there are games that get F2P right

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