The beta for Fable Legends, the last project in development at Lionhead Studios, closed for good yesterday.
According to a post on the game's official website, the Xbox and Windows Store teams are in the process of providing all players who purchased in-game currency with refunds. Lionhead Studios, which was closed by Microsoft in March, signed off with the following message:
"All of us here at Lionhead Studios would like to thank you for participating in the closed beta and being a part of the game's development. All stories have to end eventually, but the memories of Heroic triumphs and Villainous plots will last forever. Thank you for your support - you are all Legends!"
For a great many people working within the games industry - and within the British developer community, in particular - the end to Lionhead's story appeared abrupt and unsatisfying.
Founded in 1996 by a team that included Peter Molyneux, Lionhead launched three new IPs in its first decade: Black & White, The Movies and Fable. Microsoft acquired the company in 2006, and in the time since it released only further iterations of the Fable franchise, the highlights of which were Fable 2 and Fable 3.
Indeed, following the launch of Fable 3 in 2010, it arguably never released a game on that scale again: there was Fable Heroes, an Xbox Live Arcade release; Fable: The Journey, an exclusive for the ill-fated Kinect; and Fable: Anniversary, a remaster of the original Fable for Xbox 360.
Fable Legends, while markedly more ambitious than Heroes or Anniversary, seemed at odds with the studio's perceived strengths, focusing on co-op action under a free-to-play business model, rather than the storytelling and world-building for which the main Fable games were widely and justifiably praised.