Fable Legends cancelled, Press Play Studios shut down
Crazy turn of events at Microsoft
Microsoft Studios Europe today announced that development on Fable Legends, a multiplayer arena take on the Fable IP, has been cancelled alongside a raft of studio closures.
Not only is Fable Legends cancelled, first-party studio Press Play Denmark will close, along with its fan-voted game, Project Knoxville. Fable Legends developer Lionhead Studios UK is also scheduled to close, something Microsoft is currently discussing with employees. Hanno Lemke, General Manager at Microsoft Studios Europe, said:
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.
You never like to hear about studio closures since it means job loss. Fortunately, Microsoft is actively seeking to aid impacted employees locate new employment. Lemke added:
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.
I'm surprised, from a technical standpoint, that Microsoft is cancelling Fable Legends. After all, they have put so much time and effort into its development, and it was scheduled to release later this year. On the other hand, I totally understand it conceptually. Both Fable and Fable 2 were great games, and though Fable 3 began to get away from the core understanding of the game, it still maintained a decent overall product. Fable Legends' multiplayer focus in a market that is actually RPG starved was bewildering, especially considering the first three titles were all RPGs. Its free-to-play design and rotational character schedule didn't sit well with fans either.
Of course, this can all change once the game is experienced. After all, if the gameplay, is good players don't really care about anything else. Unfortunately, the Fable Legends Beta was plagued by bugs and various issues, and the gameplay setup never really took off. Switching from a standard third-person view to a top-down view for the villain, an overpriced in-game shop, as well as a number of other issues made it seem like Fable Legends couldn't get out of its own way. Hopefully, everyone at the studio ends up on their feet with new employment.
We've contacted Microsoft for comment and will update the story as it develops. What are your thoughts on this?