Lionhead Studios had pitched a mature-rated Fable 4 project set in an industrial-age to be developed using Unreal Engine 4. But it was rejected by Microsoft which had switched the IP over to a “games as a service model.” Lionhead wanted to mak…
Wow. Pathetic of Microsoft
What Lionhead had originally planned sounded fantastic. I always said that the Fable series should have a darker more serious tone to it. Looks like I wasn't the only one who thought so. It's too bad they couldn't do this for three to prove it's worth. But the damage was done and I'm sure after reading this MS didn't believe in the franchise anymore.
MS are idiots though. You don't just asphyxiate devs like this and shove your bullshit ill founded vision down devs throats. This article highlights the key problem with Microsoft and it's stupid attitude thinking it knows best when it comes to gave devs and the freedom it affords them.
I think theyre definitely planning a fable 4. or else they would have sold the IP.
@Septic- "MS are idiots though. You don't just asphyxiate devs like this and shove your bullshit ill founded vision down devs throats" .....I see its taken you long enough to figure out what many have been trying to tell you. Welcome to the light
I definitely agree, I have to wonder though was this under Mattrick's leadership and Phil just inherited this insane mess? Even still though, what the f*** was the point or even the thought process in this? Why did MS think that a franchise like Fable would be able to translate to some type of F2P model and be a hit? After reading this on principle MS should have salvaged something, kept at least more than half the team and then had them make the Fable 4 they have visioned and see where that would have went., especially being 75 million in the hole. By the way...saw your tweet to Phil, I always knew you were a huge sony fanboy! http://screencast.com/t/fxS...
Didn't they close under Phil 's watch?
The damage was already done before Phil. There was definitely a point of no return. Phil probably inherited the mess caused by earlier leadership decisions.
Phil was there when Mattrick was there so he was a part of the mess no matter who you want to put blame on. Being head of Xbox now he had the power to make any changes he wanted (an assumption on my part). So its not like he is blameless here. He is Xbox. Ultimately, 8+ studios were abandoned under his watch. There is no phantom exec to assign blame to.
True but I'd rather they would have done a grittier reboot. I wouldn't want Steampunk, Fable 3 didn't feel Fable like as it was moving through it's time eras. I want that classic old fantasy world like the first game. Doesn't this really show anyway how much in control Microsoft still are with their studios. Where is the freedom and the like they have basically went on about, this is control and because of that it's lost all those people their jobs.
@Fox- Agreed. To not give such control to a team, even to a degree is to send out a game to die. I'm sure other publishers have clearly some control over their teams, but I think only in sense of the genre ie MS or Sony might say they need an RPG or Hack and slash etc. What it sounds like is MS doesn't want to put money behind a AAA Fable game and maybe wanted to go Free To Play. You hire because of the talent, but you still must let the talent do what they were hired to do, freely create. I get publishers can't just go around throwing millions at developers to make what ever, but I think they should take into consideration that maybe they should just control theme and genre, but let the team openly create. I by no means think teams like Naughty Dog just go around making anything they feel like it, but I'm sure Sony might say they want a dark, 3rd person action adventure and its up to the team to create. Sounds like MS is smothering theses teams, they'll only be sorry when those teams leave to create greatness else where. I wonder how MS feels about letting Destiny slip away? If MS wasn't the way they were, they could likely have Destiny and Halo and Gears. Maybe they should have given some freedom to their ace teams to make new concepts.
"Doesn't this really show anyway how much in control Microsoft still are with their studios. Where is the freedom and the like they have basically went on about, this is control and because of that it's lost all those people their jobs." Exactly. I keep seeing people regurgitate the same obscure PR lines from devs like Rare that they "Chose to work solely for Kinect" Regardless of what conventional wisdom & the obvious larger picture would tell you. Maybe Spencer is working to change things for the better, but as it stands, MS has a long history of micromanaging creators w/ business facing agendas. When these forced propositions end up failing, they pin it on creators & creators just have to suck it up and roll with it in order to keep from alienating a gaming giant. We eventually see these truths filter down, like we have seen here. This is definitive proof that Lionhead's closure was no real fault of their own, it was solely down to MS' strict edicts & poor management, which also lends credence to the statements made by the Phantom Dust creator about the failure of their game & issues w/ MS. That's at least 2 large games that were paraded around at conventions & hyped up by execs only to end up failing due to these practices. I'm not sure how an Xbox fan can hang their hats on anything that MS says or shows in regards to new games, because we've already seen the death of at least 2 in the public eye very recently...doesn't exactly inspire confidence in MS' competence in the gaming realm.
So do we just assume everything we are reading is true? That it's not about bitter devs who got laid off(someone standing up for those devs) or the fact that they were making a game that wasn't really any fun. The beta improved mightily in the graphical department and when it came to story telling but in the end it was still never really fun. Yeah the idea of Fable 4 sounds great but outside of the jack Ripper parts it doesn't really sound too different than Fable 3. The problem isn't MS the problem was Lionheads inability to capitalize and make a product that stood head and shoulders above Fable 1. Fable 2 and 3 just didn't have what the first game had although 2 was a hell of a lot better than 3. So when you let a studio make the games they want and they consistently arent getting it done then perhaps its time to step in.
"So do we just assume everything we are reading is true?" Well I don't think the majority of the team is THRILLED to work on a free to play game when the used to make one of the best western RPGs around. They likely want to revamp Fable, the might want to bring the IP to new heights, but MS won't fund such things if they don't see the sales. I can see how one would be upset over this.
It's a shame. This is the same reason why Bungie split from Microsoft and why Rare hasn't delivered a good game in a long while.
I would have loved a dark and gritty fable I think it would have sold, and it woulda been awesome, I think fable was ready to be more mature, but I think microsoft's biggest problem this gen has been playing it too safe, Devs need to be creative and ms needs to let them out of the safety bubble.
Wow, I'm agreeing with Septic and gangsta in the same article... ... I'm really scared...
Very disappointed in this news. Can only hope that it was rejected due to previous leadership. I know fable legends was began under mattrick.
Yea but Spencer was the head of microsoft world wide studios (akin to Shu for Sony). Game curation is their responsibility and not the captin of the ship. You don't hear about Andrew house interfering in studio happenings. Spencer had plenty of time to reverse course with lion head after he took over if he truly thought otherwise
Plenty of time? He got head of xbox in 2014. Legends was well into development by then. All he did when he was head of game studios was take orders and supervise progress. Don was heading the ship towards the games for service imo. I didnt disagree with you btw.
This is really sad because that would've been very awesome!
Fable legends was such a bad directional decision. i hope somebody was fired over that. Darkier and grittier would've been a massive success.
Agreed. When I heard about a new Fable game, I was excited. When I found out it was Fable Legends instead of Fable 4? Huh? What is this nonsense? Clearly Microsoft was thinking ONLY about FTP money, and that's all. As it turns out, they ended up SPENDING money instead of making it. Maybe the fact that they are refusing to sell Fable might be a good sign. Most fans wanted Fable 4. Fable Legends got what it deserved, and so did Microsoft for such an ill conceived attempt at cashing in on the FTP market.
I never understood how anyone could even make such a stupid decision. Must have been some capitalist prick at MS wanting to make an easy dollar on the LOL crowd.
@kraenk12 "Capitalist prick" You basically described Don Mattrrick.
Now that is something to criticize. This actually sucks unlike the #BlackCoversMatter idiocy..
It's more about MS restricting the developers creativity tho.
big mistake i would of got fable 4 day one i have all 3 but never even considered getting fable legends
Reading this, I don't know what to say about Microsoft's priorities. They gave Molyneux all of the breathing room he needed when he asked for it (despite over promising and under delivering on plural occasions), but when the studio collective wants to try something new that would give one of their top studios a chance to reinvent a franchise, arguably for the better, it's an issue? It can only make sense if you consider that an R-rated game would restrict the potential audience, but otherwise, it's not a good move. Well, they'll be matching to their own beat going forward. Side note: $75M? Yikes... I really hope this industry is sustainable.
The answer is in the article. Peter Molyneux was not a pushover.
And yet it still makes no sense. Notice, I mentioned that he reliably disappoints. Someone like that is in no position to bargain. Microsoft could have easily sent him on his way at the early signs of pushback. If I'm bad at my job, why would my boss listen to my demands? It doesn't add up.
Maybe his games didn't live up to what he wanted to do because of technology restrictions. But they still sold millions and they were still good games. Even Fable the journey was one of the better Kinect games. They said in the article that after Peter left they felt vulnerable.
That's hardly an excuse. Has he ever said as much or apologized for under delivering? I actually do not know. He's been working with Microsoft for a while and I have a hard time believing he didn't understand hardware limitations. And here's what I don't get: they say they felt vulnerable after he left. If it's that simple, just stand up for yourselves. I doubt Sony would be walking all over Naughty Dog if Straley and Druckmann left. Lionhead certainly got the raw end of it, and I find it telling that Fable Legends didn't do so well and Microsoft dismantled the studio. They begrudgingly worked on a game they didn't want to do to begin with and it cost them jobs. It's unfortunate.
He does apologize. Also as a game developer you never know what's gonna make it in the game or not beforehand. No matter how much you understand the hardware. I agree with the rest of what you're saying tho.
An awful lot of news from a now dead company. None of this matters now!
The worst part is I never got to play it. Would have given it a chance since Fable has amused me since the Xbox days
This article it's made me hate Don Mattrick.
You didn't hate him before?
Thanks for nothing MS!
Are you kidding me Microsoft? This is the kind of Fable that I and surely many others wanted. Such a shame...
Thanks to Microsoft for ruining Fable and Tomb Raider... 2 really good franchises that bombed at MS's involvement!
What went wrong with Tomb Raider aside from the timed exclusivity (which is a BS practice imo)?
Sales may ultimately end up pretty lackluster, which may make Square leery to keep the franchise going. If the game had a simultaneous multiplat release the sales would've easily been higher than what they will ultimately amount to once we see a PS4 release. I know I'd need a deep discount or some meaty brand new content to even entertain the idea of buying it retail on release, and I've been a day one buyer of all things Tomb Raider. Core fans won't jump on board out of mistreatment, casual fans will most likely just see it as an older game & go for some of the other heavy hitters releasing during those months anyway. I mean w/ the 1 year exclusivity, it doesn't amount to one botched release in a crowed period, it will ultimately amount to 2 if Square releases this the full calendar year from the original release. Had they went multiplat for a Spring/Summer release they'd have most likely higher sales than the previous, which would show the growth needed for Square to invest in another sequel
Wow, thats depressing, a darker and grittier Fable sounds right up my alley, Legends on the other hand...
Wow. MS is proof that it should be okay to bad-mouth your former employers.
MS truly doesn't know what gamers want. I think MS will exit sooner rather than later. The service model for games is a dead end.
This was the result of Don Mattricks leadership tho. Xbox has been doing more than fine ever since he left.
Fable was an xbox staple. There was huge opportunity for it to become a major title this gen. Big name RPGs are doing very well.
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