- By Joel Hruska on March 7, 2016 at 12:42 pm
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Microsoft announced today that it is cancelling its next-generation Fable title, Fable Legends. The game, which we’d previewed as an up-and-coming DirectX 12 title last fall, was the only title in development at Lionhead Studios, which Microsoft purchased back in 2006.
Fable Legends was a cooperative RPG that allowed a team of four heroes to challenge the Villain of the story in a five-way battle. The game had previously been set for an open beta beginning this spring and would have been Fable’s first foray into free-to-play gaming.
Microsoft has released a statement on the closure of Lionhead Studios, and the imminent closure of another studio, Press Play.
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.
Project Knoxville was a third-person multiplayer survival game that would have included cooperative gaming elements, while Lionhead Studios was known for its work on both Black and White and Fable. Prior to this announcement, the studios last release was Fable: Anniversary. Microsoft hasn’t said that it’s 100% for-certain closing Lionhead, but the company has refused to expand on its previous remarks. Given that Fable Legends is definitively cancelled, and that’s pretty much all Lionhead has done for nearly a decade, it’s unlikely the studio would continue to exist in its current form, no matter what.
Fable Legends was supposed to be one of the major DirectX 12 titles, alongside Ashes of the Singularity and Gears of War. With its cancellation, Ashes is currently the only robust DirectX 12 title we can point to for a reasonable preview of the next-gen API. That’s frustrating for anyone hoping to get a better sense of how AMD and Nvidia compare in DirectX 12, but the new API is coming, no matter what — it’s just going to take a little longer than we thought to get here.