Lionhead Studios, The English developer behind Fable, The Movies, and Black & White, closed down today. Peter Molyneux and other former members of Bullfrog Productions founded Lionhead in 1996, and Microsoft bought it in 2006. Molyneux himself left in 2012 to start new studio 22cans. Microsoft still haven’t really explained why they’re closing Lionhead. But they publicly announced in March that they were “in discussions with employees about the proposed closure of Lionhead Studios”, and there aren’t many ways back to safe ground from that point. Alas, today was the final day for Lionhead. Godspeed, you cow-tickling, guff-blasting chicken-chasers.
Microsoft said today in a public statement, as provided to Eurogamer:
“We can confirm that after much consideration over the six week consultation period with Lionhead employees, we have reached the decision to close Lionhead Studios. We have nothing but heart-felt thanks for the team at Lionhead for their significant contributions to Xbox and the games industry.”
Lionhead’s last known game was Fable Legends, a co-op spin-off from the RPG series. It had been in beta testing for over a year, but Lionhead announced its cancellation after Microsoft’s own announcement. Beta servers closed on April 13th, and even the game’s website seems to already be gone. Rumour said some Lionheaders hoped they might manage to continue in some way, but we’ve not heard any more on that.
Best of luck to everyone affected. With any luck, in a year or two we’ll be posting about some cracking games made by new studios formed in the wake of Lionhead’s closure.