The studio behind Fable and Black & White officially shut its doors today
A little more than a month ago, Microsoft announced that it had plans to shutter Lionhead Studios. Fable Legends, the game Lionhead had been working on up to the time of the announcement, was officially canceled at that time.
As of today, Lionhead has formally closed down.
"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," said a Microsoft representative, as reported by 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."
Previously, rumors circulated that a number of Lionhead employees might be staying on to finish development of Fable Legends. A trusted source told me that this rumor was unfounded: while it's standard protocol for Microsoft to survey its employees in these matters when a project shuts down, this was pretty much only a formality. There was never any real question over the fate of the project.
In all, it sounds like Fable Legends had a tremendously difficult production, the full details of which will probably never reach public ears: while I reached out to a number of developers currently or formerly attached to the Fable series, very few agreed to go on record. This is an unfortunately common problem with industry reportage, where workers are often concerned that any comments they make will deleteriously affect their future employability. And -- considering there's a whole studio of talented people looking for new jobs right now -- I can't say I really blame them for their caution.
Be sure to check out our history of Lionhead Studios, an overview of the company's influence over the past 20 years -- and that of its central figure and since-departed co-founder, Peter Molyneux.
Kris Ligman is the News Editor for ZAM, and sometimes just doesn't have anything to put here. Twitter: @KrisLigman.