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Submitted by Lavalamp 991d ago | news

Microsoft lays off Lionhead employees

Microsoft has today let an undisclosed number of employees of its Lionhead studio go following the completion of latest title Fable: The Journey. (Industry, Lionhead Studios, Microsoft)

dedicatedtogamers  +   991d ago
I hate to see people lose their jobs, but it was inevitable after Molyneux left the studio.
Yi-Long  +   991d ago
Even WITH Molyneux....
... the output has only been so-so.

While Fable was very good at the time, each resulting new Fable turned out easier and worse.
Masane   991d ago | Spam
Blastoise  +   991d ago
Fable 1 was awesome. Was really downhill from there though. Shame really =/
Eyeco  +   991d ago
I liked Fable 2, I didn't like everything else, i mean that Kinect game is like...really.
That and I've always hated the promises that were being made but never kept... remember Milo ,I just saw that as a phony publicity stunt to hype up the capabilities of Kinect....speaking of try watching the E3 2009 trailer for Kinect , and how many of those features are present in Kinect as of 2012.
WrAiTh Sp3cTr3  +   991d ago
It's crazy because each Fable that comes out sells more than the last...
4Sh0w  +   990d ago
Well seems if you actually read it they are just shifting employees around internally with perhaps 10% of redundant positions at risk.

That said the last 2 Fable games sort of lost their magic IMO.
Abash  +   991d ago
First Peter Molyneux leaves, now layoffs? Lionhead is starting to deteriorate, but I doubt that they had little choice when they were tasked to make a Fable game for Kinect by MS
karlowma  +   991d ago
It's completely normal for a development team to shrink after the completion of a project.

This doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the quality or performance of the game, and doesn't really spell doom and gloom for the studio.
Army_of_Darkness  +   991d ago
I don't know about that....
From my experience and understanding, when most companies start laying off groups of employees at a time it usually does mean a slow down and bad situation for the company...
Companies don't just shut down like that, they gradually decline in employees first.
#2.1.1 (Edited 991d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(3) | Report
ronin4life  +   991d ago
@Army
I have heard this is standard procedure for many in the industry. Less than 10% were laid off by this, so it kind of makes sense.

Still wouldn't surprise me if lionhead ends up gutted by MS eventually though..
Christopher  +   991d ago
@karlowma: This is not normal for Lionhead Studios. And, typical layoffs only occur in major games like MMOs, not in console games who work with a major publisher as the employees tend to be shuffled off onto the latest project rather than laid off.
Ben_Grimm  +   990d ago
@Cgood

Trust me, this happens at all major companies, first party or not. They ramp up to complete a project to make the deadline then when the project is released and shipped they lay off all the extra help they needed to complete the project on time.

When lionhead begins work on a new title and the end date is set you'll see a surge of hires again. the never ending cycle of the video game business.
dedicatedtogamers  +   991d ago
The same thing happened to RARE. The talent slowly left, Microsoft shifted them into Kinect development, and then more people left (granted, they weren't laid off iirc).
NYC_Gamer  +   991d ago
MS should just hire new talent and rebuild the whole studio
DiRtY  +   991d ago
Actually they are hiring. Lionhead, Rare, Soho and London are the 4 Uk studios of MS and all are hiring.

MS plans to hire 100 new employees for game development studios in the next 8 months.

"Microsoft added that it hopes to add over 100 positions to its internal studios in between now and June 2013."

And the BioShock Infinite developers were just the beginning.
3-4-5  +   991d ago
MS wouldn't have to lay people off if they would just stop trying to force Kinect upon gamers.

They would save a ton of money by just moving on from that gimmick tech and worry about making good quality games that don't rely on motion.
Baka-akaB  +   991d ago
If anything those gimmick games cost less money so far , and have been very successful .

I can't say i like any of them , but it's making money for MS
SilentNegotiator  +   991d ago
If they're so concerned about supposed small scale redundancy and the game is low on the charts for a new release....who says that Fable: The Journey is making them money? Or that it even would if that supposed less than 10% of redundancy wasn't there?
#4.1.1 (Edited 991d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(1) | Report
Baka-akaB  +   991d ago
I can't say i know about Fable the journey . wasnt it just released anyway ?

But most of the in house Kinect games have brought Rare to profitability again and made MS some money , while not costing too much
greenpowerz   991d ago | Trolling | show | Replies(2)
Dovahkiin  +   991d ago
I really, really hope this isn't the end of Fable.
vork77  +   991d ago
it was the end once fable 3 was released
Christopher  +   991d ago
Sadly, yes. It began going downhill with 2 and 3 only solidified it. Regardless of the fate of the series, I'm extremely happy that I got to play the first game.
vork77  +   990d ago
the only way they can revive the series is by going back to fable 1 and bringing back what made that game good
kma2k  +   990d ago
@ vork seems like a lot of games should do this, but nothing comes to mind of a series that has done it sucsefully?
vork77  +   990d ago
i can only think of one game that was sonic generations
Baka-akaB  +   991d ago
I wouldnt be surprised if they just merge what's left of Lionhead with Rare
bubblebeam  +   990d ago
They should. I loved Fable (the first), I only played it this gen in 2008 when I bought an Xbox 360 (borrowed some original Xbox games lol).

The second I played for like an hour or 2 and thought that some of the UI went backwards from Fable 1. While I wouldn't say Fable 2 is bad (same with 3), I just felt they weren't for me.

The arcade game sucked, and now this Kinect game sucked. It is a shame, and I hope they can build some pride again.

TBH, I would be swearing my tits off if they let this happen to Halo. You can't force people to play Kinect games, just to earn some easy revenue (or in this case, possibly hardly any at all).

All you are doing is throwing away your hardcore fans and gambling on some new, less dedicated ones.

While I can't say I was really a fan of the series, It wasn't a bad one, and I feel sorry for the fans. Here's hoping to a new start.
Cajun Chicken  +   991d ago
It begins.
Captain Qwark 9  +   991d ago
well fable 3 sucked, then they went with a kinect only game, this was inevitable.
MariaHelFutura  +   991d ago
I would say "forced" to make a Kinect game. But, no one knows for sure. Either way, I agree w/ you.
#8.1 (Edited 991d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(2) | Report | Reply
kwyjibo  +   991d ago
I know a guy at Lionhead who was laid off months ago. They've been letting people go for months, because they have nothing in the production pipeline after Fable: The Journey.

You've not heard about it in the news, because they kept on hiring people on short term rolling contracts (even though they were essentially permanent employees in terms of pay) in order to not have to pay any severance.

Microsoft would never do that if you were working for their enterprise divisions. But because it's games, it means they can pay you a pittance and still get tons of willing slaves.
TemplarDante  +   991d ago
Its Molyneux's fault!
All his wishful dreaming! There was no direction, no defined vision.
Then he just cashs in his chips and leaves.
EDIT:
In all honesty though, it was only a matter of time.
I havnt been excited for a Lionhead game since the Black n' White series and Molyneuxs sales pitch for Fable 1
#10 (Edited 991d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(5) | Report | Reply
Shadonic  +   991d ago
they need a new franchise
Blasphemy  +   991d ago
Pretty obvious this was going to happen after Peter left.
BitbyDeath  +   990d ago
Maybe this is why Peter left?
Might have seen it coming and got out while the going was good.
aiBreeze  +   991d ago
So that's potentially fable gone now too.. the list of core gamer respect exclusives gets thinner and thinner. I really hope Microsoft keeps all the talented folk at lionhead and creates a new rpg ip for next gen.
Shadonic  +   991d ago
most likely they will I was kind of getting tired of fable. If fable the journey does sell well (i hope it does) I hope MS dosent try to push lionhead to make another they need to let those creative juices flow towards a different franchise.
CrimsonMask  +   991d ago
Microsoft should rebuild fable like its doing with halo. also its not, firing those people they ate being let go from lionhead and offered jobs within Microsofts other teams.
edonus   991d ago | Spam
baldulf  +   990d ago
Without Molyneux doing the marketing it's only natural that Lionhead games won't sell.

That's the only redeeming feature of Molyneux, he was able to sell ANYTHING.
ChunkyLover53  +   990d ago
Hope those people find work again, doesn't sound like a lot of people were laid off, which is a good thing, still you hate to see people lose their job in this economy.

Lionhead is a big studio, so you wonder what they are working on, especially since they were hiring like crazy last year and earlier this year. They have a big enough team to work on multiple projects.
humbleopinion  +   989d ago
Well, we already know they're working on a next gen project:
The already demonstrated the Mega meshes engine (running on Xbox! Imagine how it will look on a next gen console)
http://www.youtube.com/watc...
They are still recruiting new employees:
http://www.microsoft-career...
And we've been getting stories about a next gen MMO like RPG for about a year (with a development team of over 150 people):
http://www.eurogamer.net/ar...
http://www.eurogamer.net/ar...

So it's pretty obvious there is at least one serious project planned, and it all points to a next gen RPG. The proper Fable games were good, but perhaps it's even a good idea that Peter left and new blood takes over. It will be interesting to see what they have planned.
AngelicIceDiamond  +   990d ago
MS needs to revision Fable, a reboot to the hit franchise for next gen.

IMO these Kinect games aren't working, I blame MS for this actually, if they weren't Kinect crazy all the time and left Fable alone Lion Head wouldn't be in this mess.

MS can make Kinect games but leave your massive sellers "un-Kinected."
#18 (Edited 990d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
Eldyraen  +   990d ago
I've always enjoyed the Fable games but have to admit 3 was by far my least favorite. So I agree with the idea of a reboot myself for next gen. Art direction I actually enjoy though so they can pretty much leave that alone.

I just think 3's skill progression was terrible and would prefer the original approach again as that was by far my biggest issue with 3. I wouldn't mind a more open level design either (a truly open world Fable would be awesome or atleast much larger regions to explore). Some of 3s larger areas were nice but not really the same sense of scale as more open world games (doesn't have to be elder scrolls level large--Arcania and dragon knight saga for all their faults had some cool and large open areas to explore while still having multiple regions).
Nodoze  +   990d ago
The sooner MS leaves gaming, the better.
Tzuno  +   990d ago
Kinect is for random players not fore core gamers.
zugdar  +   990d ago
No surprise. Nothing new to show over the past five years and a bunch of worthless spinoffs.
Theangrybogan  +   990d ago
Meh, happens all the time when projects end, its no biggy unless ur one of the staff getting sacked, less than 10% isnt much for culling staff either.
Master of Unlocking  +   990d ago
Wow, if MS lay off the employees of the very few studios they have, it will be Christmas in hell before they manage to catch up with SCE's incredible portfolio of 1st party devs. But then again, it doesn't appear MS is interested in providing games for their console. They're here to make money, not spend it by catering to their fans with exclusives, lol.
StreetsofRage  +   990d ago
The next Fable needs to keep it's humor and style but add a lil Skyrim and Demon's Soul. These other adventure games are the reason why Fable has been losing some fire.
DivineAssault  +   990d ago
im not saying anything except damn that sucks.. I liked this series yrs ago.. Yall aint eating up my last bubble this time.. *covers mouth*
#25 (Edited 990d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply

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