Fans of the long running “Fable” franchise will feel bad today as Microsoft has officially announced the cancellation of the game Fable Legends as well as the closing down of the studio that is making the game, Lionhead Studios.

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Here’s what Hanno Lemke Microsoft Studios Europe General Manager says about the issue.

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.

This marks a really big drop in terms of creativity for Microsoft. I mean these were the guys that really gave something for the Xbox 360 when Fable 2 was released. Closing down Lionhead could mean something negative and positive though. Sure it locks out talented individuals from their livelihood but it also means they can choose to go wherever they want to work now. This new synergy could be the catalyst for a new game that will really blow away our minds. Who knows, there could be a chance that Fable Legends could be reworked into something else by another company.

This closing down also reminds us of the promising Star Wars project 1313 from LucasArts which will never see the light of day thanks to the acquisition of Lucas properties by the Disney company.

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