Lionhead, developer of Fable and Black & White, closes down today | PCGamesN

Lionhead, developer of Fable and Black & White, closes down today

Lionhead closure

Beloved British developer Lionhead will shut its doors for the final time today as the studio’s days come to a close. 

Fable may never have made it onto our best RPGs list, but it will forever have a special place in our hearts. 

Last month Lionhead’s parent company Microsoft announced the cancellation of Fable Legends, the studio’s current project, and went into discussions with studio staff about the prospect of closing the company down. 

Just a few weeks on, no prospective buyers for the developer have been found, so April 29 marks the final working day for all staff at Lionhead. 

It’s a profoundly sad day, not least of all for the staff. Social media has seen many bitter-sweet posts from the Lionhead team who now must disband after years of working together on a variety of Fable games and other projects. 

The studio was famously set up in Guildford, England by Peter Molyneux in 1996, where the team started developing god game Black & White, which was released in 2001.

Since Black & White Lionhead went on to release thirteen games and expansions, including the wonderfully quirky RPG series Fable. 

For many of you Lionhead will have been a frequent icon of your gaming past, be that through the beautiful and funny world of Albion, or the brilliance of their Hollywood management sim The Movies. Or perhaps it was just forcing your creature to throw poo at villagers in Black & White. 

All of us at PCGN offer our thoughts and best wishes to the entire Lionhead team.  

Why not share your fondest memories of Lionhead in the comments below? 

Thanks, Eurogamer

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AnAuldWolf avatar
AnAuldWolf Avatar
2 Years ago

I am sad about this.

I don't know what it is about Lionhead, but they always appealed to me. I know that many didn't take well to Pete and his evangelising, but largely that was due to a lack of comprehension in being able to tell the dreams of a passionate man from corporate reality. I was always able to separate the two. And frankly, what they did regularly went above and beyond the call of duty anyway.

Black & White, for example, though it had problems it -- to this day -- continues to have some of the most impressive AI, especially for the beast creature. Black & White 2 was more of the same, especially when some of the more experimental features were turned on. One of my favourites of those hidden toggles was one where your giant, monstrous creature would go and have a dance by the seashore if it was feeling a bit down.

It was also the only game where I had to teach a baby why throwing its poop would result in the end of human civilisation as we know it. Which was harder than you'd think as I'm a softie and I hate seeing gargantuan, bestial babies look sad.

And then there was Fables. The only time I ever encountered 'balls' being yelled at an echoing cave because someone was afraid of caves. Also, the interactive room UI which most people seemed to hate but I (being the heretic that I am) loved it. Also, all the charm it had just coming out of every pore. Also, being steampunk fantasy Iron Man. Once I'd coloured up that suit in Iron Man colours, the friend I played it with grumped at me because I wouldn't stop wearing it and using magic for combat ALL THE TIME.

I have fond memories of Lionhead games, just like Bullfrog games, because they give me things I couldn't really get anywhere else. There are games like that (recently, Xenoblade Chronicles X) which have an experience so unique that it'll stick with you for decades. Unlike most people, I suppose, I felt like Fable III was the highest form of what they were trying to do with Fable.

I'll miss them. I loved their quirkiness, their eccentricity, their strange and novel (and not at all unwelcome) design decisions, and their unending charm.

I think they failed mostly because people just couldn't appreciate them. They weren't boring enough.