The Fable series has come to a sad end

The Fable Legends open beta was recently delayed until spring though Lionhead announced that they would be accepting 100,000 PC and Xbox One players in to the closed beta over the coming months. By all accounts, it seemed that Fable Legends was chugging along nicely.

The truth, however, is quite different given that neither of those two things will be coming to pass as Microsoft has just come out and stated that Fable Legends has been canceled and that Lionhead & Press Play Studios are being dissolved. Here's the short announcement message:

"Today, I have some difficult changes to announce that affect some of our Microsoft Studios teams and projects in the UK and Denmark.

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.

I speak for all of Xbox when I say that despite this news, we remain committed to the development communities in the UK and Europe, and Xbox will continue to support new IP and originality in the games we offer on our platforms, whether they’re AAA blockbusters like Quantum Break from Remedy, adventurous new IPs like Sea of Thieves from Rare, or unique new creations from independent developers like Moon Studios with Ori.

We have nothing but heart-felt thanks for the members of Lionhead and Press Play for their contributions to Xbox and gaming. 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."

While I'm sure this decision wasn't made lightly it certainly feels like it came out of nowhere, especially when you consider that Fable Legends was looking to be almost finished. Whatever the reason, it is a sad end to a franchise that could've been so much more if not for the constant overhyping and feature creep that resulted in each successive Fable game being less and less focused on what made them truly fun in favor of pursuing gimmicks.

Still, the Fable series was a fun one so I look forward to Microsoft resurrecting and making a quality game out of it in the future, one that's based around reality and not daydreaming.

On a more somber note, with two entire studios shut down there are now hundreds of developers, artists and other industry figures without a job. Microsoft has stated they are working to either transfer them to the Xbox division or to find them work elsewhere in the industry and I do hope this ends up working out well for them because simply finding yourself jobless one day is not a pleasant situation.

Finally, here's one of the latest trailers for Fable Legends, a game that is never to be: