This week’s biggest news story in gaming was the Lionhead shutdown, which came alongside the shutdown of four other studios under the purview of Microsoft.
What might be even bigger, and indeed might flip the original story from “Oh that’s a shame.” to “They did what?!” would be the fact that even Lionhead themselves head no idea that they were being shut down.
The Lionhead shutdown seemed very oddly timed to begin with: Fable: Legends had just opened its beta stage three months before, allowing people that were invited to be able to go in and try out the game for themselves.
New heroes were already being released, and Lionhead had recently made a statement that they were not working on Fable 4 due to Legends being the priority.
During the beta, Lionhead even had a statement put out in response to people asking for the release date.
“We’re taking the time and effort to really review feedback and data and update and improve the game based upon that. Sure, that means a few delays along the way but ultimately it’s better to have a late but good game than an instant but not as good as it could be game.”
Microsoft’s reasons for the Lionhead shutdown and the shutdown of the various other studios have been explained by multiple Microsoft executives (including Phil Spencer) as part of an effort to renew Microsoft’s focus on Triple A games.
Many of the other studios closed aside from Lionhead were mainly Kinect-focused studios, indicating that Microsoft may finally be moving away from the Kinect and returning to its roots of controller-based games.
Lionhead’s creative director Michael Eckleberry has been a fairly good sport about the whole thing though, considering his own statement about it.
“Life is full of absurdity. Yesterday Microsoft delivered flowers to my home to celebrate my daughter’s birth. At least I think that was why.”