One of the oldest game development studios in the UK could be closing down following an announcement from Microsoft, today.
Microsoft stated that one of the most anticipated exclusive games for the XBOX One, Fable Legends, has been completely cancelled, and that the development studio that has been hard at work with it for over four years, Lionhead Studios, may also soon cease to be.
Hanno Lemke, general manager of Microsoft Studios Europe made the following statement today on Xbox's official 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.
Fable Legends was originally announced in 2013, with a provisional release date set within the fourth quarter of 2015. However, the game was then delayed with a beta expected to arrive in Spring of this year. The free-to-play spinoff of the Fable franchise was intended to be cross-play compatible between Windows 10 and Xbox One.
Lionhead Studios was behind such remarkable projects such as Black & White, Black & White 2 and the highly successful Fable series. We wish all of those who worked at this studio, and Press Play Studios in Denmark, well and sincerely hope their talents can be put to further use in the gaming world.