That’s not a good look for Microsoft.
The surprise cancellation of Fable Legends, and the closing down of Lionhead Studios came as a complete surprise to everybody- especially since the game had featured prominently in Microsoft’s plans and marketing for the coming year.
But surely Lionhead themselves knew that they were possibly in trouble? Surely they could tell that they were on thin ice? That’s what you would think- but as the dust is beginning to settle on the issue, it is emerging that Lionhead themselves may have been kept in the dark about the issue all along.
WCCFTech has gathered evidence that points at Lionhead not knowing about their impending fate- for instance, just hours before the game was closed down, Lionhead’s community manager had promised that Fable Legends would be a ‘late but good game,’ rather than ‘an instant but not as good as it could be game.’
Even Lionhead’s senior staff were not in the know- Lionhead’s Creative Director David Eckleberry (who was often the face for Fable Legends in interviews on the game) confirmed on Twitter that the move came as a complete surprise to him- there even seems to be an unsubstantiated rumor floating around that Lionhead were only called together in a meeting to have the news broken to them right around when Xbox Wire first announced it.
In which case- this is honestly a bit of a scummy move. Studio closures and game cancellations happen all the time, yes, even this late in development- in the end, I can’t blame Microsoft for making a strategically sound decision. But misleading your employees like this and taking them completely by surprise is not a good look at all, Microsoft.