In October 2008, Microsoft released Lionhead’s Fable 2 to critical and commercial acclaim. At a launch party an emotional Peter Molyneux held aloft glowing reviews and praised the exhausted team of developers who had spent the previous four years pouring everything they had into the game. Fable 2 would go on to win a BAFTA and become the best-selling role-playing game for the Xbox 360. Lionhead was on top of the world. Seven-and-a-half years later, Lionhead’s 100 or so staff were called to its in-house cafe for a meeting. There, Hanno Lemke, General Manager of Microsoft Studios Europe, announced that Fable Legends was cancelled and Lionhead would close. The famed studio Peter Molyneux co-founded nearly 20 years ago was dead. The inside story of how Lionhead rose and fell is difficult but also important. Those who worked there describe a studio high on the fumes of furious creativity, a place where mind-numbing failure would often accompany agenda-setting success. They describe a fiercely British culture that benefited – and suffered – from an American overlord hell bent on winning the console war. And they describe a studio created in the image of a man who inspires as much as he frustrates…. Read full this story
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