Microsoft announced today that it would be shutting down production on “Fable Legends” and is in the process of closing Lionhead Studios.
It will also close down Press Play Studios who were in the process of creating the Xbox One exclusive “Project Knoxville.”
In a note on Xbox Wire, General Manager of Microsoft Studios Europe Hanno Lemke explained the reasoning behind the closures:
“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.”
Lionhead Studios was a creative force in the early 2000s, developing cult hits such as the “Black & White” series and the Xbox killer app “Fable.” However, after Peter Molyneux’s departure in 2012, the studio failed to gain any creative ground, churning out Fable spin offs to showcase Microsoft’s new technology. The long is development “Fable Legends” was bringing new light to the series on the updates hardware of the Xbox One. Players who had access to the closed beta will be refunded for any in-game purchases when the servers are turned off on April 13, according to Lionhead Studios.
“We have nothing but heart-felt thanks for the members of Lionhead and Press Play for their contributions to Xbox and gaming,” writes Lemke. “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.”
Though the number of employees affected has not been disclosed, the letter does suggest that some of them talent will be deployed among other Microsoft Studios companies.