Grim news out of Europe this morning, as Microsoft announced that the company has canceled two in-development projects, and begun the process of shuttering the studios attached to those projects.
One of those developers is Lionhead Studios, the company co-founded by Peter Molyneux in 2001, best known for the Black & White and Fable franchises. The team’s (formerly) current project, Fable Legends, was a 4-v-1 free-to-play game that had been in development since 2012. According to the announcement blog post by Microsoft Studios Europe General Manager Hanno Lemke, the company has begun discussions with the team at Lionhead about closing the studio entirely.
In addition to Lionhead, Danish studio Press Play, creators of Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Kalimba, has officially been closed. Its in-development project, a multiplayer survival game code-named Project Knoxville, was actually chosen among three game pitches via a fan vote last year.
Lemke’s announcement goes on to mention that Microsoft is “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.”
No part of this news is anything but terrible, but the possibility of seeing an old UK development stalwart like Lionhead disappear entirely is especially miserable. Here’s hoping everyone affected by today’s news finds new, gainful employment quickly.