Microsoft has made a stunning announcement that it's canceled one of its major upcoming titles, Fable Legends. The publisher is also closing down Denmark-based developer Press Play Studios. Lionhead Studios, which was founded by Peter Molyneux, is also in serious danger of being shuttered as well.
The company made the announcement on, with the following statement saying: "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." Project Knoxville was Press Play's third-person multiplayer survival game for the Xbox One.
Lionhead Studios has been threatened with closure in the past, but Microsoft's statement seemed to eulogize the studio: "The Lionhead Studios team has delighted millions of fans with the Fable series over the past decade" and later added, "We have nothing but heart-felt thanks for the members of Lionhead and Press Play for their contributions to Xbox and gaming."
The cancellation of Fable Legends is even more shocking, as in the past year, Microsoft has heavily publicized the game. At one point, the publisher stated the game wasand it was . However, Fable Legends was also a risky departure from the series; instead of being a traditional third person RPG, it was an asymmetrical GM vs. player multiplayer game in which a party of heroes faced off against monsters spawned by a single player acting as a malevolent GM.
The news put a damper on what was to be a celebratory weekend for the Fable Legends team this coming weekend in Guildford.
Stay tuned, as the fate of Lionhead Studios will probably be revealed sometime this week. Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this news.
UPDATE: Microsoft announced that the Fable Legends closed beta will continue until April 13th. No new players will be admitted, and players who purchased gold will be given a refund.