Ewan Rants: Lionhead Studios Closed and Fable Legends

Grim times are ahead. Lionhead Studios is no more. It’s dead. It has ceased to be. It’s, well in the words of John Cleese:

“‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!” – John Cleese

And I think it’s ironic that the quote there fits in very well with what’s happened recently with Lionhead Studios and Microsoft. For those of you who don’t know, Lionhead Studios are the people who made the fantastic game series Fable, Black and White and The Movies and were working on a new Fable game, but now they aren’t because they closed. It’s very sad indeed.

But why did they close? I mean, there must be some reason as to why Microsoft decided to close this company down. I do actually want to mention quickly that Sony’s response to this closing was to start a “recruitment event”, more than likely they’ll pick up a lot of staff formerly working at Lionhead, and who knows, maybe Fable will live on in some way, I hope so.

I honestly have no clue as to why Microsoft closed Lionhead. The studio produced one of the biggest gaming series in the form of Fable, so it’s really baffling that they’d close them down. There must be some reason, and I plan on getting to the bottom of it.

Well, how did the studio find out it was being closed? A blog post. Yep. A guy called Hanno Lemke, he’s the general manager of Microsoft Europe and he made the decision to close the games studio. Bastard.

But what of the new Fable game? It was being worked on for quite some time, they can’t just let all of their hard work go to waste, can they? Yes, yes they can. That’s exactly what they’re doing. Fable Legends had passed the beta stage and was basically ready to be released before Lemke pulled the plug on the whole thing. That’s really bloody awful, years worth of work that we’ll never see. Gone. Just like that, if I had that much damn power with a blog post then I’d reincarnate Rik Mayall and Alan Rickman and become ruler of England, like Blackadder did in Blackadder Back and Forth. Oh yeah and I’d bring that Fable game back yeah sure whatever.

It doesn’t make a lick of sense. If the game is finished then why not release it and judge your decision of whether or not to close Lionhead on how well the game does. If it did well, which I’m presuming it would have done then release the game and don’t close the studio down, if it didn’t do well, then it’s up to you what you do.

Looks like a lot of well-known publishers have been getting the cut quite recently all thanks to bigger people saying they had to stop doing the thing they loved. So many of my favourite companies, Pandemic (Destroy all Humans), Lionhead Studios (Fable Series), THQ (The WWE Games), Irrational Games (Bioshock Infinite) and so many more, it seems like the bigger the publisher, the more chance you have of succeeding, even if you release a shit game.

Still, what’s done is done. We wont see Fable Legends, and if we do it wont be for a long, long time. To be fair that’s when you put Molyneux in charge of a good game, when all he’s made is mobile phone games that for some reason he thinks are worthy to be put onto Steam. I’m looking at you Godus.

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