Microsoft announces the cancellation of Fable Legends, along with the closure of Lionhead Studios. The company also announces the closure of Press Play Studios.
The Fable 4-player co-op asymmetric multiplayer spin-off game Fable Legends has now been cancelled. First revealed in 2013, development has ceased, with Microsoft stating that the company will focus on developing games that fans find most exciting and want to play instead.
Beyond that vague reasoning, no other information was given as to why the decision was made to cancel Fable Legends. Perhaps Microsoft saw the general lack of interest in other asymmetric multiplayer games, such as Evolve, which experienced a drastic decrease in its active online community not long after it launched. Regardless, the cancellation of Fable Legends brings with it something even more tragic, as Microsoft has also proposed the closure of Lionhead Studios.
Lionhead Studios was once led by Peter Molyneux, and developed some of Microsoft’s most beloved exclusive games. These include God simulator Black & White and the Fable titles, with the closure of the studio leaving the fate of those franchises in question. However, considering the past popularity of Fable, it seems reasonable to assume that Microsoft won’t let the series die along with Lionhead, and may instead have a different studio handle its development.
Fans didn’t seem to respond well to Fable Legends ever since it was first announced. Fable enthusiasts were ready for a more traditional Fable experience on the Xbox One, not the asymmetric always-online multiplayer game that was Fable Legends. However, Microsoft originally seemed to have faith in the project, as Fable Legends was meant to have a five to 10 year lifespan before its sudden cancellation.
In the meantime, Microsoft also announced the closure of another one of its European developers, Press Play Studios. Press Play Studios was stationed in Denmark, and it was working on a mysterious project known only as Project Knoxville. Sadly, it appears as though we will never get concrete details as to what Project Knoxville was, as that game has also been cancelled.
Hanno Lemke, General Manager of Microsoft Studios in Europe, released this statement about the closures:
“After much consideration we have decided to cease development on Fable Legends, and are in discussions with employees about the proposed closure of Lionhead Studios in the UK. Additionally, we will close Press Play Studios in Denmark, and sunset development on Project Knoxville.”
It’s always sad when a game studio is shutdown, though especially so in the case of studios that have had a long term impact on the industry, like Lionhead Studios. Here’s hoping that the developers at both Lionhead and Press Play Studios are able to find new work before too long, and that Microsoft doesn’t give up on the Fable franchise entirely with Lionhead’s closure.
Fable Legends was in development for PC and Xbox One, but the game is now cancelled.