Microsoft Cancels Fable Legends, Considers Shuttering Lionhead Studios

Microsoft was the bearer of bad news on Monday when it announced some "difficult changes," one of those being the cancellation of Fable Legends. The cooperative action role-playing game was to become the latest title in the long-running Fable series developed by Lionhead Studios and published by Microsoft Studios.

In addition to pulling the plug on further development of Fable Legends, Microsoft said it's closing Press Play Studios in Denmark, which most recently was working on Project Knoxville, a third-person multiplayer survival game that was to be an exclusive release on Xbox One. But with Press Play Studios shuttering, development on Project Knoxville has also ceased.

Fable Legends

As if that weren't enough, Microsoft said it proposed closing down Lionhead Studios, which has been around since 1996. It was founded by Peter Molyneux, champion of the god-game genre with classics like Populous (Bullfrog) and Black and White (Lionhead Studios), both of which this editor spent many hours playing.

"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 said in a blog post. "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."

The translation there is that gamers aren't as interested in the types of games that Lionhead and Press Play put out, a tough pill to swallow for fans of either or both development studios. On a positive note, the closure of Lionhead isn't a sure thing—Microsoft is currently discussing it with employees, though details of those discussions aren't known.

Many of the employees affected by either closure are likely to find themselves in new positions within Microsoft Studios' properties, if that's what they want.