Microsoft Says That How It Handled Lionhead Was One Of Its "Biggest Missteps"

Microsoft has admitted that how it handled Lionhead Studios is one of its "biggest missteps".

Lionhead Studios was the team founded by Peter Molyneux that was behind all of the Fable games, before being unceremoniously shut down by Microsoft in 2016 right before the launch of Fable Legends, a game that was announced in 2013. It was never made clear why Microsoft shut down Lionhead so suddenly, but it's presumed that the backlash towards Legends' free-to-play multiplayer focus might have had an impact.

Now, six years later, Microsoft has spoken about Lionhead's closure, admitting that it is was one of its "biggest missteps". As reported by IGN, Shannon Loftis, who acted as general manager of games publishing when Lionhead closed down, spoke about the subject on the sixth episode of "Power On: The Story of Xbox", which is set to premiere on December 13.

Loftis said, "One of the biggest missteps that we learned from in the past was Lionhead. We had already published Fable 1, and it was a hit… People wanted more, and so we bought Lionhead. Those were good years. But after Fable 2, Kinect came along and the Fable-Kinect marriage just never really took. And then Fable: The Journey was a passion project for a lot of people, but I think it deviated pretty significantly from the pillars of what made Fable 1 and 2 so popular.”

Sarah Bond, head of game creator experiences and ecosystem at Xbox, said, "We acquired Lionhead in 2006, and shut it down in 2016. A couple of years later we reflected back on that experience. What did we learn, and how do we not repeat our same mistakes?”

Finally, head of Xbox Phil Spencer, reflected on what the situation had taught the team, "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."

Since Lionhead Studios closed down, Microsoft has moved development of a new Fable game over to Playground Games, the developers behind Forza Horizon. Meanwhile, two key members of Lionhead Studios, Mark Webley and Gary Carr, founded Two Point Studios.

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