Microsoft Possibly Shutting Down Lionhead, Cancelling Games

Posted on 07 Mar 2016 by
Tomer S.

Lionhead might finally be reaching its finale as Microsoft announces the fact that Fable Legends development has been completely stopped and that there is a good chance the studio will be closing down all together.

Lionhead Studios has been known for making a lot of great IPs throughout the years. They are most commonly known for their Fable franchise which started in 2004 and their Black & White franchise which started in 2001. The development of the game was most likely stopped because of the very low demands for it. The studio hasn’t made a successful game since Peter Molyneux left. He originally worked for Bullfrog Studios and made legendary games that are known to inspire some of the biggest games today who left in 2012 to work on other games was almost always the head of the new franchises. Some of his best known games from the 90s are Dungeon Keeper, Theme Park and Populous. Since then the company has been trying to milk their older IPs for more sales. A quote from an article Lionhead released today:

These decisions were not made lightly, nor do they reflect the talent of the studio, rather they are taking effect as Microsoft Studios continues to focus its investment and development on the games and franchises that fans find most exciting and engaging to play.”

The studio has said on their website in an announcement that anyone who has purchased the game will be getting a full refund. An email will be provided with further information that should arrive within the next 7 days.

We’ll most likely not see any other games coming from Lionhead and with the fact that Peter moved on over 4 years ago from the company it is at this point very much dead.

Press Play has also been hit by this “Getting shut down because of low demands” thing Microsoft are doing. Although not really a well known studio like Lionhead, Press Play has released many games since its original uproar in 2006 and was purchased by Microsoft in 2012. They were also in the midst of producing Project Knoxville which by now you can guess, has also had its production stopped.

Microsoft is probably just playing it smart business-wise, they are straight up stopping investments in companies that are no longer producing good games and making enough money. This point might seem harsh to some but both of these companies have had a nice lifespan where they created a non-insignificant amount of games for the world. They’ve both had a good long run but unfortunately all good things must come to an end.

Official Press Release

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.

Comments (7)

Posts: 133
Simon Sirmenis
Posted 09 Mar 2016, 08:06
Well its a bit sad but I agree, there wasn't much to expect recently nor from Fable nor from Lionhead. I kind of hoped they would be working on a new Black & White but even if they did they probably would have messed that up somehow.

Posts: 7
Posted 09 Mar 2016, 02:22
I have no love for Microsoft. But I have less love for Lionhead. I won't spill any tears over this. If they considered Fable 3 to be an acceptable game to release, then I don't even dare to think how horrid Fable Legends must've been.

Posts: 11
Kyle Johnson
Posted 07 Mar 2016, 23:21
Very unusual, especially since Fable Legends seemed to be slowly ramping its way up to a full release eventually. Granted, I'm sure Fable 3 didn't do anything for the studio's bottom line, but maybe Legends would have turned out alright, dunno.

Posts: 349
L Coulsen
Posted 07 Mar 2016, 23:18
I honestly can't say I'm surprised. Or give a shit. Sucks for the staff, but really, just yesh

Posts: 133
Simon Sirmenis
Posted 07 Mar 2016, 22:00
Microsoft is on a roll this year.

Posts: 11
Tomer S.
Posted 07 Mar 2016, 20:27
Yeah this did seem extremely spontaneous, very weird.

Posts: 37
Posted 07 Mar 2016, 18:45
And they just tweeted about an event where they wanted to show of their game..