Microsoft has formally announced Lionhead Studios, the UK-based developer behind the Fable franchise and Fable Legends, is to close.
News arrives by way of the publisher’s official blog, where an update posted this morning confirmed that development on Legends will also be cancelled with immediate effect. The move is part of an internal shake-up across Microsoft’s UK and Denmark studios, with plans in place to shutter Danish developer Press Play, best known for Max and the Curse of Brotherhood.
In a statement, Microsoft Studios’ European boss Hanno Lemke outlined the changes taking into effect.
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.
Founded in 1996 by industry veteran Peter Molyneux, Lionhead Studios worked across Black & White and the Fable series before being acquired by Microsoft back in 2006. More recently, it had been overseeing the development of Fable Legends for Xbox One and PC. Indeed, the game has been long in development, with the planned open beta postponed to spring.
However, those plans are no more, and with Fable Legends now scrapped, Lemke closed out the statement by commemorating both Lionhead and Press Play’s work: “We have nothing but heart-felt thanks for the members of Lionhead and Press Play for their contributions to Xbox and gaming.”