In an upsetting turn for some, Microsoft Xbox division announced that two studios would be closing in the coming days, and their current projects canceled. Lionhead Studios and Press Play Studios are being shut down. What this means is that the highly anticipated game Fable Legends is being canceled. The free-to-play multiplayer action RPG was also intended to be a DirectX 12 showcase, as well as one of the first major Xbox One and Windows 10 cross platform titles.
Studio closures are not a new thing, however, cancellation of this title is curious. Microsoft has talked of cross-platform play for some time, however no actual games have materialized. Should Lionhead Studios fall into financial mismanagement issues, wouldn’t Microsoft retain rights over Fable Legends? Seems a strange move, considering the game giant invests considerable amount of money to retain it’s popular IPs, such as Halo, from their developers. The Fable series has been one of those long lasting Microsoft IPs that has received timed console exclusivity. Somewhere along the line Microsoft no longer deemed the Fable series as one gamers “find most exciting and want to play”.
The closure comes days after Microsoft’s release of a promotional video showing off snippets of what makes DX12 superior to DX11. No surprises on the timing of the video, which followed announcements that rival Vulkan API was complete. The video features of snippet of now canceled, Fable Legends.
Here is the official statement from Hanno Lemke, General Manager, Microsoft Studios Europe (source: news.Xbox.com) :
“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.”
If there are any changes on the current defunct status of Fable Legends, it will be posted here