Lionhead’s dead, but it didn’t have to be. There were rumours after the closure was announced but before it was finalised that it’s possible Microsoft would sell the studio rather than simply shuttering it. Sources have told Kotaku that these discussions effectively ended when Microsoft refused to let go of the Fable IP, despite cancelling the last game being made with it and nothing having come out in the franchise since 2012.
Could we see another Fable in the future, worth of a place on our list of the best RPGs?
Kotaku say that “some of the biggest names in video game publishing” were interested according to their sources, but that they could not confirm specifics. They quote one person they talked to in saying that “90%” of those making offers “walked away” when Microsoft revealed they weren’t willing to sell the Fable IP along with the studio, despite some offering hundreds of millions for both.
The Lionhead name would still have value without the IP, of course, but not nearly as much, especially if some of the developers there moved on thanks to Microsoft offering jobs elsewhere. Hopefully Microsoft will actually use the IP, maybe on a more traditional RPG, rather than holding on to it without solid plans. Announcements at the frighteningly close E3, perhaps?
A little more over in Kotaku’s post about it.