Microsoft announces the end of Lionhead Studios and Press Play

lionheadMicrosoft have released an announcement stating that the Fable developers, Lionhead are to close their doors in April. Lionhead weren’t the only casualties however, as Press Play, the developers of the charming Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Kalimba are also ceasing operations.

What this means is that the upcoming Fable Legends has been shelved and  will end at 3pm on Wednesday, 13th April. Those in the Beta will be able to play up until this point. Pressplay’s planned survival game, Project: Knoxville has also been cancelled.

Lionhead is best known for the Fable franchise and its first game Black and White, which released in 1996. Peter Molyneux lead Lioinhead for many years before moving on to 22cans and the controversial Godus. I personally really enjoyed the first three Fable games. Although they were degrading in quality they still put a smile on my face and I can’t help but be slightly sad at seeing that the studio is no more.

The full statement by Microsoft reads:

Today, I have some difficult changes to announce that affect some of our Microsoft Studios teams and projects in the UK and Denmark.

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.

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.

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 likeQuantum Break from Remedy, adventurous new IPs like Sea of Thieves from Rare, or unique new creations from independent developers like Moon Studios with Ori.

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.

We at 4-One Gaming will everyone involved in both companies all the best, and hope everyone moves on to some great projects. Stand alone chicken kicking competition anyone? No?

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