Microsoft refused to sell off Lionhead Studios to keep Fable IP

Buyers allegedly backed out after Microsoft refused to sell the rights to Fable.

According to a report on Kotaku, several potential buyers made offers to purchase the studio during a mandatory consultation period a span of time during which a company must search for ways to stay open before shutting down, per United Kingdom law.

While the report doesn't specifically state who the interested parties were, it does say that letters of intent had been filed, signaling just how serious they were about purchasing the studio.

Now that the studio is closed, Microsoft has yet to announce what it plans to do with the Fable franchise. The frustrating thing about this particular case for anyone with affection for Lionhead is the possibility that it could perhaps have been saved if only Microsoft had been willing to let go of Fable.

Without that included in the deal, whoever bought Lionhead would have been forced to work out a separate licensing deal with Microsoft in order to publish new Fable games, or even to get Fable Legends finished and out the door. Unfortunately, we'll never know. So we've chosen to extend our closed beta to continue to listen to feedback from our players and add features and polish that will make a real difference.

In a statement to PC Gamer, a Microsoft rep stated only, "we have ceased development on Fable Legends, and are in discussions with employees at Lionhead about our proposed closure of the studio as well".

  • Patricia Jimenez