Ex Lionhead Producer: Microsoft the “Destroyer” of 1st Party Studios; Imagines Dedicated Executioner Waiting for Reckoning

Alessio Palumbo
Posted 8 months ago

The recent news of Fable Legends being cancelled and Lionhead Studios shutting down are taking the gaming industry by storm.

While Fable Legends had a troubled development phase and a similar outcome was not quite inconceivable, Microsoft’s decision to shut down Lionhead entirely is definitely unexpected. The first reactions have already appeared on Twitter and one former developer in particular, Daniel Gray (who worked as Producer on Milo&Kate and Fable 3), went pretty hard on Microsoft calling them the destroyer of first party studios and even picturing a dedicated executioner in Redmond for these purposes.

While the sadness and anger at the news is understandable, when reviewing the recent history of Microsoft Game Studios there really haven’t been such high profile closures in the last few years.

The biggest ones were likely the closure of FASA Studio and Ensemble/Aces Studios, but these happened in 2007 and 2009, respectively. However, since then they’ve built 343 Industries, The Coalition, Decisive Games and acquired Mojang, while also signing a multi-year, multi-title publishing deal with Undead Labs (the folks behind State of Decay).

In these cases, the worst situation is not consumers losing a game but rather game developers losing their jobs. However, it looks like there will be several offers on the table for Lionhead folks. Gray himself called the studio a breeding ground for awesomeness and already said he’d be interested in hiring people for ustwo.

The Chinese Room Co-Founder Jessica Curry also mentioned that there are open positions for those interested.

Similarly, Phil Elliott (Creator of Square Enix Collective) pointed the Danish folks at Press Play, also axed today by Microsoft, to the openings at IO Interactive.

WCCFtech obviously wishes the best to all Lionhead developers affected. It will also be interesting to see what Microsoft intends to do with the Fable IP now. Whatever comes out of it, we’ll be sure to report back to you.

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