In case you weren’t following the recent happenings in the video game development industry, Fable Legends, a cooperative action role-playing video game developed by Lionhead Studios and published by Microsoft Studios recently was axed by Microsoft themselves along with the proposed closing of the studios responsible for it. This was enough to contribute to this very happening to take the center of the storm that is the gaming industry.
However, recent developments have taken tasks at hand a bit further as Daniel Grey, former developer Producer on Milo&Kate and Fable 3 at the potentially axed Lionhead Studios went on to tweet this:
Really sad to hear the news about Lionhead. Microsoft really are the destroyer of first party studios. Seven years ago was a different story
— Dan Gray (@Dan_Gray) March 7, 2016
— Dan Gray (@Dan_Gray) March 7, 2016
We decided to investigate a bit into the past of Microsoft’s endeavors with first part studios to only discover that the said tweet didn’t have much to back it up other than the closures 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 with also acquiring Mojang, while also signing a multi-year, multi-title publishing deal with Undead Labs (the folks behind State of Decay).
It can be surely said that it wasn’t the end consumers who lost with the loss of a new game, but more importantly it were the developers who lost their job tat had to bear the brunt. However, all doesn’t seem bleak for the developers at Lionhead Studios as publishers of various companies tweeted then about openings at their respective studios. Several offers came up with the likes of Chinese Room Co-Founder Jessica Curry and Phil Elliott (Creator of Square Enix Collective) tweeting job offers intended for the developers.
— Phil Elliott (@Sly_Rebirth) March 7, 2016
There however, still is a very interesting development to the controversy surrounding the said developments. Phil Spencer, Xbox Boss had some very surprising things to say when asked about the Fable series and its future at the Xbox Spring Showcase last week. What you need to know is that his manner of talking about it showed absolutely no signs of a canned game, something about which he surely had knowledge about.
“I think we could do many things with Fable. I think the world of Albion and the hero-based nature of that game could show up in many different spaces,” was his reply. “It’s been in beta for a while, and we’re watching the engagement numbers. The thing around Legends that I’m committed to is I want to make sure its release matches the expectations in terms of quality that our customers deserve. So it’s not about releasing something because it’s on a poster, because there was a date posted somewhere.” Yes, the answer does seem pretty defensive in nature as it doesn’t contradict much facts that have come to the table, but it is his statement when asked about Lionhead Studios that turns eyeballs.
“The team’s really committed to what they’re doing with Fable right now,” was his reply. He also referenced a “healthy turnover at the studio” as a reason why they couldn’t do “a big single player RPG-driven thing like the Fable of old,” because “that studio isn’t that same studio,” adding, “they’ve really crafted themselves around Fable Legends.” Whether all this be simply speculative sentences been thrown around for fans to not get an early disappointment for what was in store for them is anyone’s guess.
We, at ASidcast would like to wish the best for the future that lies ahead for the developers at Lionhead Studios.