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Xbox said they would learn from their mistakes, but they've done it again: here's what happened to the creators of Fable

The American giant has just unexpectedly closed several major Bethesda studios, even for its employees.

Fable Legends

The old ghosts are haunting the Xbox offices again. Hours after the closure of Tango Gameworks (HI-FI Rush, The Evil Within), Arkane Austin (Dishonored, Prey), and Alpha Dog Games (Mighty Doom), a video was shared on social media. In it, the current president of the division, Sarah Bond, reflects on not making the same mistakes of the past: “We acquired Lionhead in 2006. Shut it down in 2016. A couple of years later we reflected back on that experience, what did we learn, how do we not repeat our same mistakes.” Next comes Phil Spencer, who oversees the entire video game division: “You acquire a studio for what they’re great at now, and your job is to help them accelerate how they do what they do, not them accelerate what you do.”

The case of Lionhead Studios is paradigmatic because it somehow reflects that history is cyclical and mistakes are repeated over and over again. Microsoft’s recent moves seem to negate that reflection of Sarah Bond and the managers of that time, many of whom are still in top positions today. What exactly happened to the studio responsible for Fable?

Lionhead and the cancellation of Fable Legends, the end of a legendary studio

The social media of Fable Legends was active until the day of the fateful news. Unaware of what was about to happen, Lionhead Studios was working on the development of its free-to-play video game, which was already in the final stages of the creative process. The studio had planned to launch it in the same year 2016, so nothing foreshadowed what was about to happen. Only a week earlier, the developer founded by Peter Molyneux had presented news about the game on its YouTube channel. In addition, the beta was already underway, so the cancellation and closure took everyone by surprise.

The parallels to the current situation are obvious. No one was expecting this, especially at Tango Gameworks, which had released one of the most celebrated Xbox games of recent years. HI-FI Rush seemed to live up to expectations, as Aaron Greenberg himself took to social media to praise its success. Phil Spencer visited the studio at the end of 2023, and today it has already been decommissioned.

As leaked in an internal memo signed by Matt Booty -head of Xbox Game Studios-, the decision is due to focus on established brands and blockbusters, a message symmetrical to the official announcement of the closure of Lionhead Studios: “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.”

Comunicado cierre Lionhead Studios
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The enormous amount of money invested in the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the situation of Game Pass, and the current circumstances of the video game industry, as well as the desire to grow and grow without control, have led to this extreme situation that once again exposes the shame of the system.