Bad news today. Microsoft announces the sudden cancellation of Fable Legends and proposes to shut down completely its developer, Lionhead Studios.
In an unexpected way, Microsoft has confirmed today that there won’t be any Fable Legends. What is more, this death-blow comes hand in hand with the possibility of closing the studio that created this and other amazing titles, Lionhead Studios. Additionally, they will close Press Play Studios in Denmark and discontinue their work on Project Knoxville, announced last year.
Hanno Lemke, general manager of Microsoft Studios Europe has been the one in charge of communicating this. “There have been tough decisions and we have not made them lightly, nor are they a reflection on these development teams”, he has written via Xbox Wire. “We are incredibly fortunate to have the talent, creativity and commitment of the people at these studios”. A pledge that now seems rather bittersweet.
Is The Cancellation Fable Legends the Closing of an Era?
The iconic Lionhead Studios was founded back in 1996 by Peter Molyneux. It delivered its first hit, Black & White, five years after. When Microsoft acquired the studio in 2006 they had already brought Fable to the world. This action-RPG game was highly praised by critics and players alike, who enjoyed generally its concept of free will and the alignment upshots of the Hero’s actions.
Fable’s proposition was interesting back then and fueled a number of sequels, becoming quickly the most profitable and well-known title of the company. That pervading quality and scope even brought the attention of a plethora of actors, who gave their voices to different characters in Fable III. Among those were Michael Fassbender, Stephen Fry, Naomie Harris and even Ben Kingsley.
Fable Legends had everything in place to take us back to the universe of Albion. To its compelling stories, heroes and villains, the synthesis between open world and classic RPG. It was designed to work cross-platform between PC and Xbox One and had been in development since 2013. It was actually pretty deep into it (latest newsletter was sent to subscribers during February), aiming for an open beta phase during spring this year. An open beta that will never arrive.
This is not the first time that such a giant as Microsoft announces the closing of an emblematic studio. They already broke some hearts when they decided in 2008 to dismantle Ensemble, famous for the Age of Empires series and the first Halo Wars. It is always hard to see veteran studios closing doors.
We can only hope that Microsoft remains faithful to their desire to support the development communities in the UK and Europe. Whether they are AAA blockbusters or creations from the indie side of life, Hanno Lemke confirms the commitment of Microsoft towards new IP and originality that they offer on their platforms.
As with a lot of things in this industry: time will tell.
Source: XBox Wire