Microsoft has announced plans to close Fable developer Lionhead Studios.
It also intends to close Max: The Curse of Brotherhood developer Press Play.
In a blog post, Microsoft Studios Europe GM Hanno Lemke said management was in discussions with employees about the proposed closure – a legal requirement in the UK for companies over a certain size.
“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,” said Lemke.
“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 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.
“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.”
Lionhead Studios was founded in 1996 by Peter Molyneux, and is best known for 2001 god game Black And White (which saw a sequel in 2005) and 2004 RPG Fable.
Fable sequels were released in 2008 and 2010, and a dismal Kinect-powered spin-off Fable: The Journey ventured onto Xbox 360 in 2012.
A Fable beat-‘em up, Fable Heroes released that same year, but Molyneux had left the studio by then to form 22Cans and release social experiment Curiosity and underwhelming god game Godus.
The first Fable got a 10th anniversary remaster in 2014, and Lionhead was working on free-to-play co-op ARPG Fable Legends when struck by news of its imminent shutdown.
Legends was playable at last year’s E3, but didn’t inspire much of a reaction out of us.
The game’s closed beta will end on April 14, and all those who have bought gold will get a full refund.