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Fable Legends Cancelled

Over on Facebook, Sean Smith pointed me to this article: Fable Legends Cancelled As Lionhead And More Close. Here’s the announcement on Xbox Wire.

Fable: Blood of HeroesIt’s strange to know I’ve written a tie-in novel for a game that will never exist. But hey, does that mean Fable: Blood of Heroes is now a collector’s item?

I wanted to wish everyone at Lionhead the best. I’m sorry we won’t get to see Fable Legends. I can tell you there were a lot of fun ideas and characters in the game, and everyone I spoke to and emailed while working on Blood of Heroes was a pleasure to work with. Interacting with the fans over on the Fable boards was great too.

I know there were delays in getting the game into production, and it was pushed back several times. I don’t know any of the specifics as to why they decided to cancel it now.

My thanks to the team at Lionhead for giving me the chance to play in their world.


Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 7th, 2016 05:24 pm (UTC)
I JUST read this and instantly thought : wonder what Jim thinks about this annnnnnnd. Here you are.

It looks like the mutterings are that Microsoft is axing any franchise that isn't a big seller. Fable has done well but is one of what I think of as a niche group. Lower numbers but much higher loyalty to the game. Fable is a prime example of that. And for business that's never going to be as attractive as the Halo crowds.

Of course it's all speculation at this point but it does make sense from the other decisions Microsoft has been making around gaming.
Mar. 7th, 2016 05:46 pm (UTC)
Aye, at some point the Halo bubble will burst.

And will people will realise that the last couple of games have been... pretty average. And Microsoft will have no idea where the next big thing will come from.
Mar. 7th, 2016 06:32 pm (UTC)
Pretty much. Halo's not my thing, never really has been. But I get the hype of the earlier games.

The problem of all the news coming out about Microsoft's recent set of plans is that they're missing the point of indies and side projects. Innovation. They might not sell but they MIGHT. They might not seem like much but they might change the industry (Minecraft for instance).

Fable had a solid community. The last version was... meh. But it was definitely strong enough that any pressure to promise The Next Big Thing wasn't really necessary.

But that's the problem with most entertainment industries these days. It's about the next hit. And you can't formula that out to a decimal place. And too many industries seem to be putting pressure on to companies, individuals and developers to do exactly that. Promise a hit or don't bother. Which is unreasonable pressure on a company... and where even a minor hiccup can snowball into disaster because it's not racing right off the block.

If I were to guess, I'd say that is probably what happened. Fable probably had a solid game going in but hit a glitch or two, as one does (look at No Man's Sky for release dates being pushed back). And pressure built until it just collapsed.

At a guess too, Lionshead probably was already under pressure to produce or go bust. Sadly. I like their games.
Mar. 7th, 2016 08:06 pm (UTC)
I know there have been a number of delays over the past couple of years, but I don't have any details on why the release kept getting pushed back. Don't know how much of that was internal vs. how much was external stuff catching the Lionhead team off guard.

You see the "Go big or go home" mentality in publishing too, along with any number of other areas. It's a pretty messed-up mindset, in my humble opinion.
Mar. 8th, 2016 11:41 am (UTC)
Yeah, this mindset amongst the bean-counting divisions where if something is only a moderate success, and 'only' makes a moderate amount of profit, then it's a failure, because they needed the jackpot to keep the investors and venture capitalists happy.

(Or to sweeten the pot for the big takeover deal which makes everybody at the top into an overnight millionaire.)

(Or, whatever other mystery reason it is that results in the mentality.)

Although I think Lionhead must have known they were in trouble for a while, their last game, barring the HD remake of Fable, was Fable The Journey in 2012. Which flopped badly. And 4 years is a long time not to have released anything new in.
Mar. 8th, 2016 01:02 pm (UTC)
The Xbox One exclusives release schedule must be looking pretty barren now? I can't off the top of my head think what the next big game for them will be. A whole bunch of HD remakes of games we were playing 2 or 3 years ago, and...

But yes, I agree with your analysis. And I don't think it takes many glitches for a 2 year development cycle to turn into a 5 year development cycle, and for investors to be clamoring at the gates.
Mar. 8th, 2016 12:17 am (UTC)
Simple, Microsoft will spend an extravagant amount of money buying the studio that makes the next hot thing and then seeing if that studio does it again. It worked the last time, right?!
Mar. 8th, 2016 11:33 am (UTC)
I've heard Microsoft game studios are very difficult to work for too, because MS buy up these game studios, and then try and export MS Programming Ethics onto them, which is to say, brutally hard work environments, tons of competition, loads of unpaid overtime, which brings with a very high burnout rate.

None of which is terribly friendly to creative artistic gamer types.
Mar. 7th, 2016 07:15 pm (UTC)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


Jim C. Hines


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