Following the cancellation of Fable Legends in March this year, Microsoft have taken the decision to close down the series developer Lionhead Studios, according to information given to Polygon by a Microsoft representative.
The closure of Lionsgate has been a foregone conclusion, with Microsoft reportedly preparing Lionsgate staff for the decision at the same time as the free-to-play multiplayer game, Fable Legends, was cancelled.
The representative has confirmed that: “After much consideration over the six week consultation period with Lionhead employees, we have reached the decision to close Lionhead Studios.” The representative went on to add: “We have nothing but heart-felt thanks for the team at Lionhead for their significant contributions to Xbox and the games industry.”
This consultation relates to assisting Lionhead staff with finding new employment, as required by British law. The representative told Polygon, “We remain committed to the development communities in the UK and Europe, and have been working to support Lionhead employees in finding new opportunities at Microsoft or in the wider gaming industry.”
Part of this process is that all employees have been given the option for assistance with internal applications and placement or support with searching for jobs externally. The representative added that this support will go on for twelve months.
Lionhead Studio was founded in 1996 by game developer, Peter Molyneux. Following the release of their first game, Black and White (2001), the studio created the first Fable title in 2004, which was expanded into a series following the studio’s acquisition by Microsoft two years later.
Following the announcement that Lionhead Studios is being closed down, employees and fans of the studio have taken to Twitter, writing under the tags #RIPlionhead and #Lionheadmemories as they shared their memories of Lionhead games and condolences for those affected by the closure.
The closure of Lionhead Studios follows shortly after Microsoft owned development studio, Press Play, was shut down in March 2016.