Some sad, but expected news coming out of the woodwork from Microsoft Studios. News that has already been breaking on most gaming news outlets and here on our own J1ML news outlets.
Microsoft Studios Europe today announced that development on Fable Legends, a multiplayer arena take on the popular, yet diminished Fable IP, has finally been given the axe alongside a slew of studio closures. We're going to take a look at the unfortunate series of events that have decided to hit us today.
For starters not only is Fable Legends cancelled, first-party studio Press Play Denmark will close, along with its fan-voted game, Project Knoxville. Fable Legends developer Lionhead Studios UK is also scheduled to get the big axe, but Microsoft is currently discussing their employees futures in the industry. Hanno Lemke, General Manager at Microsoft Studios Europe, said:
"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."
You never like to hear about studio closures since it means job loss. Fortunately, Microsoft is actively seeking to aid impacted employees locate new employment. Lemke added:
"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."
I'm surprised, from a technical standpoint, that Microsoft is cancelling Fable Legends. After all, they have put so much time and they have sunk so much money into its development. I mean come on! It was scheduled to release later this year. On the other hand, I totally understand it in reality from a business standpoint as both Fable and Fable 2 were great games. Though Fable 3 began to get away from the core understanding of the franchise, it still maintained a decent overall product. In Fable Legends things really lost substance to the continuity when they introduced a multiplayer focus. This in a market that is currently rather RPG deprived was a bewildering move, especially considering the first three titles were all single player RPGs. Its free-to-play design and rotational character schedule didn't sit well with fans either, making it feel and look like more of a MOBA game than its predecessors.
Of course, this can all change once the game is experienced. If the gameplay is good enough, players don't really care about anything else. Unfortunately, the Beta was doomed due to game breaking bugs, various issues, and the gameplay setup never really took off. Fable Legends opted for switching from a standard third-person view to a top-down view for the villain, an overpriced in-game shop, as well as a number of other bad choices made it seem like this title couldn't get out of its own way.
Hopefully, everyone at the studio ends up with his or her feet on solid ground with new employment. Don't forget that as more developments are made in the coming days J1ML will keep you updated. Keep it real, Keep on gaming.