Fable Legends is cancelled, Lionhead Studios to close

Fable Legends

Microsoft has just announced that the long-in-development Fable Legends is canceled, and furthermore that it is “in discussions with employees” about closing down Lionhead. That's not the end to the bad news, either. Press Play Studios, which had been working on the Xbox One-exclusive Project Knoxville, will also be shut down.

“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,” Microsoft Studios Europe General Manager Hanno Lemke wrote on the Xbox Wire. “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.”

Reasons for the cancellation of Fable Legends, which was touted for cross-platform play between the PC and the Xbox One, haven't been given, but the game was conspicuous by its absence at Microsoft's "Spring Preview" event a fortnight ago. Despite the "in discussions" wording of the statement, the closure of Lionhead seems certain because you don't announce this sort of thing unless it's going to happen.

Nonetheless, Lemke reiterated Microsoft's continuing support for studios in the UK and Europe, as well as for “new IP and originality in the games we offer on our platforms.” The number of affected employees also wasn't revealed, but Lemke said the company would make efforts to help them find new jobs, with Microsoft or elsewhere. The decisions seems to have been unexpected as far as the Fable team were concerned, who were still actively promoting the games beta.

We'll update with more background as we hear it. Best of luck to all those affected at Lionhead and Press Play.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.