Fable Legends and Project Knoxville cancelled by Microsoft. Closure of Studios almost certain

BY AMIT BARAN ROY   |   Today, in one of the most unexpected announcements by Microsoft, it is revealed that the development of ‘Fable Legends’ and ‘Project Knoxville’ is being cancelled permanently. While proposals have been made for the closure of Fable Legends’ development team, Lionhead Studios, we believe that it is almost certain that they are going for it as such an announcement can’t be loose. They have also decided to shut down Press Play Studios, Developers of Project Knoxville, once and for all.

This announcement was made by Hanno Lemke, General Manager at Microsoft Studios Europe, and was posted on Xbox Wire. He said, “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. 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”. We believe that today’s decisions were certainly unexpected for the Fable teams who were actively promoting their Open Beta.

Lionhead Studios was founded by the British game developer, Peter Molyneux, in 1996 and was acquired by Microsoft in April 2006. The Studio was famous for its acclaimed franchises of Black&Wine and Fable. Similarly, Press Play Studios was founded in 2006 at Copenhagen, Denmark and was acquired by Microsoft in 2012. Recently, Microsoft had announced their list of AAA titles for Xbox One and Windows 10 this Spring. Hence, it is possible that this drastic decision was the indication for them concentrating on developing games that fans may want to play more. We deduce this by the Hanno’s statement, “I speak for all of Xbox when I say that despite this news, we remain committed to the development communities in the UK and Europe, and Xbox will continue to support new IP and originality in the games we offer on our platforms, whether they’re AAA blockbusters like Quantum Break from Remedy, adventurous new IPs like Sea of Thieves from Rare, or unique new creations from independent developers like Moon Studios with Ori.” It is also believed that Microsoft, from now on will be focusing on more of cross platform games between Xbox and Windows that will engage more players.

However, Lemke has shown concern for all the affected employees of the respective studios. He finished by saying, “We have nothing but heart-felt thanks for the members of Lionhead and Press Play for their contributions to Xbox and gaming. We are committed to working closely with those affected by today’s news to find them new opportunities at Xbox, or partnering with the broader development community to help place them in jobs elsewhere in the games industry should they desire.”

It is indeed shocking to see a great development studio like Lionhead getting shut down. While it is a disheartening news for all Fable fans today, we anxiously hope that Microsoft will surely come up with more exciting news that will bring the smiles back in the faces of their heart broken fans.

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