Xbox Boss Responds to Lionhead Closure News

"I'm not sure I'm so loved right now (not looking for sympathy)."

207 Comments

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Following the news this week that Fable Legends had been canceled and Microsoft was potentially closing developer Lionhead, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has now spoken up to say he's "not sure I'm so loved right now." Across a few tweets, Spencer responded to the news, though as you might have guessed, he said he didn't share specifics regarding the news.

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"It's impossible to go into all the detail and I apologize for that," Spencer said to a fan, stressing that Microsoft remains committed to its first-party games despite this news (via VideoGamer).

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood developer Press Play, based in Denmark, was shuttered this week, too. Lionhead's closure is not 100 percent confirmed at this point.

Fable Legends isn't completely erased yet, either, as the game's beta will remain playable until mid-April.

He went on to say that it is Microsoft's intention to continue to create new franchise and expand its existing ones. And as referenced earlier, he also frankly acknowledges that he might not be the most loved Xbox figure at this time, though he says he's not looking for sympathy.

You can see Spencer's tweets below.

What do you make of Spencer's statements? Let us know in the comments below!

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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northArrow

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I guess I could see the writing on the wall when they announced Fable Legends as an asymetrical MP game in the same vein as Evolve and free to play.

Regardless of the fact that I had lost interest in the game, it still sucks to see them go. Microsoft's xbox is hurting for first party support and this doesn't help

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StaticPenguin

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I dunno why Phil would feel unloved, the Fable games haven't been the best and never were. It was bound to happen.

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SteadyMercury

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It's rough Lionhead WAS a good studio. The emphasis is on was. They haven't produced anything good, for a variety of reasons, since Fable 2. Sometimes organizations have lots of good talent that just can't get out of a rut or funk after a prolonged bad run. Hopefully many of these employees will land on their feet with other studios, maybe even new Microsoft ventures which I'm sure many of them will have priority for. That's a common theme with companies that do have to close a part of themselves, ear marking future jobs for former employees.

Can't help but feel though that people are now exaggerating Lionhead's current "talent" it's been basically 8 years since Fable 2 shipped, their last critically acclaimed title.

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jlenoconel

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I can't lie and say I'm not worried about Xbox's future, because I am pretty worried. I own an Xbox One so I don't want to see the company fail, plus it will mean Sony basically having a monopoly on gaming.

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enceladus_2030

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Edited By enceladus_2030

I don't have all of the details but I am sure they did the right thing here. I cant remember the last time Lionhead put together wonderful games on a consistent basis. Wonderful studio but lately not quite as wonderful . Hopefully those who lost their jobs will be happier with another position if they found one within Microsoft. If not I hope they find happiness in employment elsewhere.

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adriangrey11

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Edited By adriangrey11

The Xbox One is a good system, but I feel Microsoft is only taking this partly seriously. Sony has much stronger convictions to their platforms and the overall game quality. They just seem more solid.

Microsoft for better or for worse with Windows, is kind of dancing all over the place I find when it comes to gaming. The XBOX brand was so much stronger during the 360 era. I mean the Xbox One brand has already taken a major hit, I think it's unnecessary to start trying to reinvent what you do with gaming. That's the reason why X1 has failed in the first place.

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northArrow

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@magicalclick: Battletoads please.

Why the hell haven't they made another Battletoads?

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Ripper_TV

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@magicalclick: The game has NEVER ever looked this good, especially on the Xbox - that's the thing. In fact, it looked like a straight up 360 game.

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Lajt

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@Ripper_TV: looked like a 360 game? Are you kidding me? It is the best looking multiplayer game out there for Xbox one. All the details and shadowing. And the physics, movable environment.

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Ripper_TV

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Crap. They've could've at least provided SOME explanation. The way they did it is just plain rude and disrespectful.

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Vegeta-sama

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@Ripper_TV: he probably wasn't given a choice

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Lajt

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Edited By Lajt

It really sucks.. Me and my girlfriend really liked Fable legends, enjoyed playing it for a lot of hours, took a break and now it is cancelled?? Wtf the game wasn't even finished and became better and even more fun after each patch. And it felt that it was closing in to be finished, why not let it be released and wait and see? So much work for nothing... Well well I need to calm down and accept it. But will probably take a while before I find a game I enjoy as much as Fable Legends

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straightcur

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He didn't respond to anything, all he did was dodge questions.

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Ripper_TV

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@straightcur: EXACTLY!

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sladakrobot

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Twitter is outdated...you cannot explain some stuff coz you ran out of letters

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Ripper_TV

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@sladakrobot: He could just link an explanation.

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EdwardNygma

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MS supposedly shut down 8 studios in total. The "best lineup in history" sure isn't looking very good.

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nunoanjos

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@edwardnygma: yes it is, Fable Legends sucks.

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lrdfancypants

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@edwardnygma:

Yeah, they're gone.

Besides Press Play and Lionhead:

Team Dakota, BigPark, Function Studios, Good Science, LXP and SOTA got scrubbed from list of studios.

"On Monday we announced changes to Microsoft Studios including Lionhead and Press Play. As part of these changes, we did a site refresh and removed several logos for older studios and projects that have been consolidated during the past several years into other Microsoft Studios and teams. As games launch and new projects come online, we routinely make these kinds of moves to ensure we have the right development support on the right games."

Here is what remained after:

https://microsoftstudios.com/studios/

I doubt anything happens to 343i, Coalition, or Turn 10 but besides them you essentially only have Rare left.

I bet they're going to paying outside studios vs owning them moving forward like they did with QB, Recore, Scalebound, SO etc...

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SteadyMercury

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@lrdfancypants: A lot of those studios are what was left of the previous Xbox One strategy, the one gamers wanted (for some justifiable reasons) gone. BigPark only even produced Kinect Joy Ride, the other studios are similar. They either had no projects, or were part of the Kinect/media focused strategy that is now dead. It doesn't effect their lineup at all (besides Lionhead of course). It's unfortunate that people lost their jobs, and hopefully they land on their feet, but these studios were not in any real way relevant to the reinvented strategy gamers asked for going forward.

I'm hoping this clears the way for new studios to be formed or underutilized IPs owned by other publishers to be purchased and put to good use. We won't know until E3 probably, it could be a mess, it could be the start of something great. I'm definitely not going to sit around and pine after the Kinect Joy Ride developer.

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dlCHIEF58

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@lrdfancypants: And you understood absolutely NOTHING from that statement. There were no layoffs in those other 6 studios, they were consolidated directly into Microsoft Games Studios. Also 3 of those studios mention had NEVER produced a game and 5 were working on either Kinect or HoloLens projects before consolidation. The two that did (big Park and Good Science) only put out one game each - Kinect Adventures and Kinect joyride. Team Dakota still exists, they just cleaned up the web site and the server issues with game the past few days are a mere coincidence. They however are technically folded into the MGS family as they probably won't be making a new game and will be supporting Project Spark for a little while longer. Since they will likely not be producing more games, no need to have them on the page as a developer as they are pretty much now transitioned to support.

This was just another case of the internet wildly jumping to conclusions over a web site change with no facts.

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lrdfancypants

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Edited By lrdfancypants

@dlCHIEF58:

I understood nothing?

I posted exactly what MS said in response to what other sites reported.

I even sourced it with the link to new studios listing.

The only thing not fact about what I said were my thoughts, based on their recent history, of why I think they're making these moves which I made clear was an opinion. It wasn't a negative opinion. So it shouldn't have twisted your panties in a knot.

You obviously didn't understand what I posted or got upset for no reason.

Edit: BTW, you have no idea what happened to the employees or how the shutdown of those studios and consolidation went down. You're just spouting things based off a PR statement that was released in response to game news site catching the MS studios website change. Google has the old page cached and it happened the same day of the lionhead and press play news.

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suicidesn0wman

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Edited By suicidesn0wman

@lrdfancypants: I know what happened, but I'm not telling, so HAH! :P

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lrdfancypants

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@suicidesn0wman:

Me too! My lips are sealed.

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blueinheaven

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They should have done another single player Fable maybe with some kind of online or MP component I mean did anyone really ask for or expect Fable Online? It seemed like a really stupid idea to me from the outset.

I don't think people are annoyed at Spencer because of Fable it's more because he is destroying almost all exclusivity on Xbox One in favour of PC. Xbox One is on target to be one of the most pointless console releases of all time and he is the one who made that happen.

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ConsoleHaven

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@blueinheaven: I was looking forward to this game. I rather enjoy the 'asynchronous' style of games and am sad to see this one cancelled.

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kentray1985

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Edited By kentray1985

@blueinheaven: Thats just the biased fan boy in you talking. Im loving my Xbox one and its games. Gears of war ultimate and killer instinct has me playing everyday. How is it pointless owning a Xboxone because its games are on PC. You have the wrong priorities if you buy a console just because it has games you cant get on PC, that is really idiotic. I can see if their games start showing up on Playstation but PC, are you serious. Have the fan boys gone completely out of their minds. Most who complaining doesnt even own a gaming PC. Yet you guys get happy when PC games shows up on console. Get your priorities straight and stop crying. Microsoft is still releasing good quality games. Your attitude is pointless!

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EdwardNygma

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@kentray1985: "Thats just the biased fan boy in you talking."

Oh the irony.

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Zombrex

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@kentray1985: I bought an xbox one simply for the Halo titles, Rare Replay and the BC. Other than that it has been rather pointless for me. I hated Gears of War when it came out the first time and having played the Ultimate Edition that came with my X1, the feeling remains unchanged.

And no, nobody gets happy when PC games show up on console. I'm rather tired of the amount of indie garbage on PS4.

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blueinheaven

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@kentray1985: 'if you buy a console just because it has games you cant get on PC, that is really idiotic'. Is it really? So if you have a good PC and you buy an Xbox One for Halo as an i.e. that makes you an idiot? How old are you, 8?

I'm not a fanboy I'm a gamer, I go where the games are so I own a PC, PS4 and Xbox One and never would have bought the Xbox One if I'd known Spencer was going to dump all its 'exclusives' on to PC therefore the Xbox One is completely pointless from my perspective.

Your ridiculous immature obsession with 'fanboys' does not apply to me.

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SteadyMercury

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@blueinheaven: That's definitely unfortunate, I'm in your boat gaming wise as well, though I definitely don't regret my Xbox One purchase I can sympathize with someone who buys one only to have the strategy change and find out the value proposition they bought it for no longer exists or is modified in a way that negatively effects them.

That being said our position, in that we have both a capable PC and an Xbox is very much so a minority position. The values proposition for the average gamer, regardless of a Microsoft exclusive coming to Windows remains clear... The minimum recommended GPU for Quantum Break is more then the entire Xbox One console.

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brownyyy

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@blueinheaven: Has anyone ever thought that some people bought and Xbox simply because they wanted one. PC gaming has its advantages yes but some people don't want to buy a PC so they buy a console. Just because a game is available on another platform doesn't make another useless at all. People who own all the consoles and a Gaming PC are the 1% not the norm. from a business point of view making Xbox games available on the windows store is a great idea. The Xbox one has already outsold the 360 so it is a success in Microsoft's eyes. So helping its exclusives out by expanding its player base is a no brainer.

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blueinheaven

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Edited By blueinheaven

@brownyyy: I'm not saying anyone should buy a PC. If I only played on Xbox One I would be fine with exclusives going to PC as it wouldn't affect me but my buying decision was based on playing games that would never make it to PC.

The average Xbox One owner won't be affected by this, but I will. I should just sell the thing and move on, I'll get around to it at some point. Just saying PC gamers who bought a One now consider it a waste of time and of course Spencer is now telling any PC gamers who may have been thinking of buying one that they don't need to bother which doesn't seem a very smart move to me.

I suppose there's a possibility with the PS4 greatly outselling the X1 publishers like Remedy are demanding that their games on the MS console can also go to PC to make up for the financial deficit. Look how Crytek got badly burned with Ryse which was originally exclusive and then made its way to PC to recoup some of the loss.

Even with all this going on MS have decided to cripple games that make their way to PC by putting them on the Windows Store. Seriously, have these guys ever got anything right, ever?

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brownyyy

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@blueinheaven: I think Crytek suffered from the same thing that has pretty much destroyed the company. Their games whilst pretty are usually very boring so I don't think Ryse is anyone's fault but theirs.

I don't think this has anything to do with Playstation at all. Microsoft has other interests than just consoles and in moving Xbox games to windows makes Windows 10 seem more appealing.

Now so called gamers will moan that it is not coming to Steam and all that jazz but again they are the 1% who cares about tweaking settings and such. The move is supposed to entice people who have a low to medium spec PC to upgrade to windows 10.

As PC gamers constantly point out the Xbox is about as powerful as a low to medium PC so to those people who have that they see a free game that they can play.

That is where this idea is a great idea I think MS knows that PC gamers are an elite bunch and quite honest will reject anything that isn't Steam out of principle so that battle to get high end gamers is fruitless at the moment for them but everyone else is fair game.

MS get a lot right in reality that is why they are one of the biggest companies in the world.

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blueinheaven

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Edited By blueinheaven

@brownyyy: Ryse sold a reasonable amount for a launch exclusive their problem was they backed the wrong console. I said at the time they were stupid not to go multiplat and so it proved. When there are very few games for a new console people buy everything available so the quality of the game was not the problem, just very bad decision making on where to position it.

Xbox games to Windows makes Windows 10 more appealing? lmao. Anyone who wanted Windows 10 already has it for free they don't give a crap about Xbox and this 'free game' you're wittering on about means nothing, if you play on PC you're buying the PC version you won't run out to buy an Xbox One just to play a game you have that runs much better on PC.

MS getting a lot right... how many versions of Windows launched in a disastrous state and needed a complete new version of the OS to make it right? Vista is probably the best example but there are many others.

They managed to completely cock up Xbox One launch through sheer greed, trying to destroy the used games market, forcing people to stay online, trying to wreck the physical disc market so they could control games AND gamers and force them to play by their rules. As a company they are truly repugnant but there will always be people like you who bend over for them without question ensuring they will stay right where they are.

MS is one of the biggest companies in the world because they have a monopoly on PC operating systems, no other reason. They are in a position where they can (and do) constantly get things wrong and it doesn't affect them.

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brownyyy

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@blueinheaven: Ryse was Xbox's the Order It was a very nice looking but boring game that was its problem. It sold well as it was a launch title but it was received with meh reviews. If you don't think more stuff makes windows 10 more appealing your crazy and thinking from your own point of view.

Having cross platform games and cross platform guys is a good idea it give people the option to have the best of both worlds. If someone has an Xbox in one room and it is being used someone can play the game on the PC or vice versa yes steam have something similar but the windows brand means a lot to people maybe not you but it does.

As for the windows versions I tend to agree with you there they very much follow a hit miss hit reception with versions of windows but each version improves something some more than other granted.

The used games market needs to die in my opinion at least. Companies like GAME are a cancer and need to be stopped consoles should embrace the digital age much like PCs did. The always online Xbox was simply before its time but i do not scorn the for trying to steer it that way.

MS was one of the biggest companies because of its monopoly true but it continues to be a huge company because of its other business ventures.

Also don't make yourself out to be some freedom fighter who sees the light and that I'm the fool for not having a problem with how they do business. Every company makes you play by there rules that what T&Cs and EULA's are.

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grasu

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Edited By grasu

I don't understand where all the QQing is coming from. Fable was a mediocre game, at best, and a crapfest at worst. No one was actually waiting for Fable Legends and Peter Molyneux hasn't been relevant since Black and White. And B&W wasn't good; in fact B&W stands, to this day, as a prime example of reviewers falling for the hype and not playing a game through so even calling B&W "relevant" might be a stretch.

So, Phil, no need to worry. Outside of a few Twitter/internet warriors who are just confused little boys with no lives no one gives a **** that MS cancelled one of the worst, most overrated, most overhyped, most boring franchises in gaming history.

PS: I also hope you fired Molyneux, we can use a lot less of his BS.

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dlCHIEF58

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@grasu: Talk about being out of touch - Molyneaux left Liopnhead and Microsoft SEVERAL years ago and formed a new studio, 22 Cans, which has been in the news for other controversies.

And I was actually excited for Fable Legends when they announced it (being an old tabletop D&D player) as it sounded like an interesting concept, but playing the beta just didn't have a hook to keep me playing it. The gameplay itself on the hero side was good as were the graphics, but it was just missing something that made you want to play it consistently, much less spend any money in the game. I'll still have to try playing the villain before the servers go down to get the full experience.

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grasu

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Edited By grasu

@dlCHIEF58: Yeah, you're right. I do remember him making Godus, another underrated "gem" of a game that DEFINITELY did not promise the world and delivered garbage. /sarcasm

EDIT: For the record, I have nothing against the man; he's smart, smart enough to fool millions of people not once, or twice or even thrice but countless times! What really bothers me is how gamers are here, crying and tripping over themselves, because another garbage, derivative license bites the dust.

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kentray1985

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@grasu: You're wrong, I played fable legend and it look and played good. So much hate was around before anyone got to play it now we will probaly never see Fable again. See what yall incredibly annoying crying did. Did you dudes even play the beta and see what it was like before judged it. Im betting absolutely not but thats our gaming world rightnow. Bash anything thats not on Playstation lmao

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Zombrex

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@kentray1985: The Fable games have been one of the most overhyped and lackluster franchises in gaming history. I still remember Molyneux saying, "If you can see it, you can walk there." for Fable III and other comments like that for previous games. Needless to say, you couldn't do any of the things he said. Fable at best was a mildly enjoyable franchise.

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Razrabbit

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@grasu: I was with you until "B&W wasn't good". Go step on a lego.

That game was amazing once upon a time, and is probably one of the few reasons anyone actually cares about the Lionhead closure.

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Zombrex

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Edited By Zombrex

@razrabbit: I care about Lionhead because of The Movies. Great game. Other than that, I guess they can go step on a LEGO.

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grasu

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@razrabbit: B&W is CONSTANTLY on "Most Overrated" lists all over the internet. When PCGamer wrote an article, about 8-10 years ago about which games they considered in need of a re-review most of their staff pointed towards B&W calling it overrated and saying it was the hype that garnered the praise it got.

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lostn

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I'm not a Fable person and had no intention of playing it, but even I'm disappointed with the game being canceled and studio being closed, especially when the game looks so advanced in development. They should have let them finish the game at least, and sold the studio to EA or ACtivision.

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dlCHIEF58

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@lostn: No, due to the nature of the game it would have continued to hemorrhage money. Since it was Free to Play, there would be no initial retail sales. And to be quite honest, the monetization in the game was pretty bad and few would spent money on it. Also being an online only thing, there would have been continued server maintenance that would cost money over time, not to mention the support needed to keep the game up.

Selling the studio is also not an option as the only reason someone would buy them would be for the franchises associated with them, and Microsoft isn't going to let those go. They will just get another studio to continue the franchise and they actually may improve those franchises, because to be quite frank, Lionhead had lost their way a long time ago.

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lostn

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Edited By lostn

@dlCHIEF58: "Selling the studio is also not an option as the only reason someone would buy them would be for the franchises associated with them"

So, you don't think anyone would buy Naughty Dog without their franchises? If they can make something good the first time, they can make something else good.

How about Aonuma's Zelda team?

Infinity Ward?

Blizzard?

Nintendo bought Monolith studios who had no IPs to their name whatsoever.

Back to Free to Play. Successful F2P's make way more money than $60 games. Just look at mobile. Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, etc. League of Legends? DOTA2? I'm not saying Fable would have done those numbers, but F2P makes a lot more money than you give it credit for, especially on mobile where it's almost impossible to find games that aren't free to download with in app purchases. Devs realized long ago that they make way more money by making it free to download and then charging microtransactions, than they do setting a price up front.

F2P is ironically very expensive.

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xADx

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@lostn: Why waste money and resources for a game that Microsoft paid for no longer wants that game completed? Why would EA, Activision or any publisher want to buy Lionhead for? Microsoft isn't going to sell IP. Buying the rights to the Studio name and logo? That is a waste of money.

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lostn

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@xADx: Why did Microsoft buy RARE and couldn't get Goldeneye or Donkey Kong?

For the talent. Or what they perceive to be talent at least.

The game looked almost done. They had already spent a lot of money on it to get it to that point. Why not spend a bit more, and get it out? MS just wasted a few years of a bunch of people's lives, making a project no one will ever see, and they can't sell. That and a lot of their own money.

At least if they finished the game, they could get some money back from it, and other people would get to play it. I thought it looked nice at the very least.