Fable Developer Lionhead Studios Is Closing Today
It has been nearly two months since Microsoft announced it was considering closure of Fable developer Lionhead. After a consultation period that resulted in no potential buyers or other solutions, the studio is closing today.
Employees have been sharing memories and their farewells to the 20-year-old developer that brought to life Fable, Black & White, and The Movies. The image above, drawn by artist Damian Buzugbe, was also tweeted by studio director Stuart Whyte.
Goodbye old friend. #Lionhead #Fable pic.twitter.com/3AaquFaL3j— Damian Buzugbe (@OmenD4) March 8, 2016
Lionhead was most recently working on Fable Legends, a free-to-play multiplayer game that pit one player as the villain working to confound a team of four heroes. The title never made it into open beta, despite being shown at numerous events and a closed beta since its announcement at Gamescom 2013.
In a statement made to Eurogamer, Microsoft confirmed the closure offering kind words for the team. "We can confirm that after much consideration over the six week consultation period with Lionhead employees, we have reached the decision to close Lionhead Studios,” the publisher told the site. “We have nothing but heart-felt thanks for the team at Lionhead for their significant contributions to Xbox and the games industry."
Since the announcement regarding the potential closure, others have stepped up to help Lionhead employees find new work. Among them was Sony, which conducted a job fair in Guildford for the employees, where a number of Sony’s European studios were present.
Update: In addition to providing us with the same statement Eurogamer shared, Microsoft has provided an update on how it is helping former Lionhead employees. “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," a Microsoft representative told us via email. "All employees have been provided with the option of assistance on internal job search and placement or external job search support. Job search support for employees is available for a further 12 months to assist them in securing another role. We thank the employees for actively engaging in this process."
Our thoughts are with those affected. It’s a tragedy that Lionhead was left to make a downloadable side game (Fable Heroes) and a Kinect title (Fable: The Journey) and not focus on a core game in the series for Xbox One. This seems like a poor use of a talented team that could have done much for the Xbox One library.