Massive changes at Microsoft Studios UK & Denmark

Hanno Lemke, General Manager of Microsoft Studios Europe announced on the Xbox newswire earlier of large changes being made in the UK and Denmark involving ceasing development of Fable Legends, and the possible closure of Lionhead Studios & Press Play Studios.

Lionhead Studios, developers of Fable and the Black & White series confirmed the announcement on their forums the sad news and were having 'tough discussions with staff' over the possible closure.

Based in Guildford, Surrey in the UK, Lionhead has been publishing video games since 1996 and was founded by legendary game producer Peter Molyneux and has been owned by Microsoft since 2006. With roughly 100 staff (source: Wikipedia), this is not only a big blow to the british gaming industry but also the hundreds of thousands of fans (myself included) of the Fable franchise.

Press Play Studios is also set to close as part of the changes in Europe. Founded in 2006 and owned by Microsoft since 2012, Press Play has been behind titles including, Mad Max: The Curse of Brotherhood.

Press release in full:

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.

Published March 8, 2016
Filed under general
3 minutes to read (estimated)
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