Microsoft Shutters Lionhead Studios
In March of this year, Microsoft pulled the plug on Fable Legends and announced a "proposed closure" of their award-winning developer Lionhead Studios.
"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."
Today, they made it official.
The released Microsoft statement reads:
"We can confirm that after much consideration over the six-week consultation period with Lionhead employees, we have reached the decision to close Lionhead Studios. We have nothing but heart-felt thanks for the team at Lionhead for their significant contributions to Xbox and the games industry."
The statement goes on to say that Microsoft is still committed to other development communities in Europe and the UK. This would include such companies like Moon Studios (Ori), Remedy (Quantum Break) and Rare, Ltd., which is currently developing Sea of Thieves.
Lionhead's last project, Fable Legends, had been in development since 2012. Though a closed beta started in October of 2014, the game stagnated until April 13th of this year -- when it was officially shut down. Customers who had made in-game purchases will be refunded.
The 'consultation period' was likely a formality due to UK law regarding company closures. The company's website has been closed as well, but staff members are posting goodbyes on various social media outlets, including the artwork seen above.
Lionhead's Founder and somewhat controversial figure Peter Molyneux had left the company in 2012 to start a new firm 22Cans, with former Lionhead CTO Tim Rance. Molyneux had often come under fire for being overly enthusiastic and embellishing on features in developing titles, which would often disappoint or underwhelm upon release.
Lionhead Studios received numerous accolades over their 20 years, including 3 BAFTA Awards for Black and White, The Movies and Fable II. Fable also won the Play Magazine Best Overall Game of the Year in 2005, IGN's Best Original Score (2004) and 1UP's Best RPG (2004).