Lionhead Studios To Shut Down, Fable Legends Officially Cancelled
Lionhead Studios to close after 20 years of service
Mondays are typically labeled as the worst day of the week. For the staff at Lionhead Studios and Press Play Studios, this Monday is particularly terrible. According to Hanno Lemke, general manager of Microsoft Studios Europe, Microsoft has officially cancelled Fable Legends and is “in discussion” to close down both studios.
Fable Legends was set to release for the Xbox One and Windows PC sometime this year during the fourth quarter. Here is Lemke’s official statement concerning the events, which have been posted to the official Xbox Website:
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.
It was also revealed that Press Play Studios, would also suffer from impending closure as well. The Danish studio is known for their work on Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, along with future titles such as Project Knoxville; this title was to have a Hunger Games vibe and to be a multiplayer action survival title.
According to Lemke’s statement, Microsoft is discussing a “proposed closure” of Lionhead because under U.K. law, companies must meet certain requirements for mass layoffs.
Basically, if 20 or more employees within companies are about to become redundant, employees are given a minimum of 30 days during a consultation period to get their affairs in order. During this time, companies are then obligated to seek alternatives instead of layoffs, which can range from reassignment to offered retraining.
Lionhead was founded in 1996 and is known mainly for their work on the Fable series. Press Play Studios was acquired by Microsoft back in 2012.
Writer’s Thoughts: While the potential loss of the Fable series bums me out, I can’t deny that the series went downhill after Fable 3; the unnecessary spin-offs didn’t do the studio any favors. It’s never fun to hear your place of work will soon shut down and must then look for job opportunities elsewhere. Best of luck to all the employees at Lionhead and Press Play.
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