The dream is over. Microsoft has officially confirmed that Fable Legends has been cancelled. Not only that, but Lionheads Studios is likely to close as well. Microsoft is cancelling development of Fable Legends and “in discussions” to close Lionhead, which is in discussions for a “proposed closure.” The statement on the situation was released by Microsoft Studios Europe General Manager Hanno Lemke on the Xbox, which you can read in full below:
Here’s Lemke’s statement, posted to the official Xbox 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.
It was also confirmed that Press Play Studios, the Danish based game developer behind Max: The Curse of Brotherhood will close too.
Fable Legends was previously announced in 2013 and set for a 2015 release. It was going to be a free-to-play spinoff of the Fable franchise. The open beta was set to launch this spring. Polygon reports that Microsoft is discussing a “proposed closure” of Lionhead because companies have to meet certain requirements for mass layoffs under UK law. If more than 20 employees are fired, employees have to have a minimum 30-day consultation period before dismissals take place. During this time period, companies have to seek alternatives to layoffs. This includes offering retraining or reassignment.