Fable Dev Lionhead Suffers Layoffs

Richard Walker

Following the dismal performance of Fable: The Journey at retail (it debuted at number 13 in the UK charts) Guildford-based developer Lionhead has suffered a number of layoffs, cutting its workforce by just under 10%. A spokesperson for Microsoft told Develop that it'll be working closely with the laid off employees to help them find new jobs within Microsoft.

Despite these widespread layoffs at Lionhead, Microsoft is still pushing forward with an employment drive that will see 100 new staff being employed across the platform holder's UK studios, including Rare, Soho Productions, Microsoft's recently announced London studio and confusingly, Lionhead. These positions will be filled over the course of the next year in the run up to June 2013.

“Following the completion of Fable: The Journey, Lionhead Studios has begun work on its next projects,” reads a statement from Microsoft. “As is common in the games industry, a smaller headcount is needed as projects kick-off and ramp up as full-production gets underway. At this time a small number of positions have been identified as at risk of redundancy and the affected employees were notified today."

Fable: The Journey released last week. You can read our review here.

  • While layoffs suck, at least it was a small percentage.
  • They should of just canceled "Fable The Journey" and made something better, played the game at a friends house and it made Fable 3 look like a masterpiece
  • Requiring Kinect seems to be the nail in these games coffins
  • Lets be honest what do the devs think will happen. No one wanted this game and to be honest i doubt many people thought it was good. Microsoft had to of known how bad this going to turn out as did the devs. Every Fable fan spoke out against it and it got what everyone knew would happen. I'm sorry for the layoffs but really, what did they expect.
  • Damn, that sucks. Can't say I'm surprised though, idk how much money they put into The Journey but I can't imagine they're going to make up for it in sales and now they need to thin out the herd a little bit so they can afford to stay in business.
  • Put all the talent from Lionhead into Rare and make good games please! That would be a dream team of developers. Just saying. :)
  • No one wanted a Fable side game, they wanted 4 and it didn't help that they made Journey Kinect-only. That just alienated everyone that did not have a Kinect which means big loss of sales. Hopefully with Heroes and Joyrney having meager success this will encourage them to get on the ball with 4 and make the Old Kingdom game already.
  • Note to developers: Do not waste time, effort and talent making games for the Kinect. It only ends in poor sales and job losses.
  • @1, "Small percentage" could sometime mean around 5,000 to 10,000 people! From gamers' perspective, that seems a lot.
  • @ 8 the only person I would blame is Peter Molyneux he even said he would come back and help them but he didn't
  • @8 if only the dev's had the choice, being an MS owned dev team, MS tells them what they must do, and adding kinect crap is one of the main things they must do, even though it's against MS's own fucking rules (about not making customers need additional equipment to get achievements etc....cunts, i've still not forgotten about forza 4) when you have a hardware manufacturor interfering with the way a game is made, it will always end badly for the dev team....as for fable, well i co9uldn't care less really, and the only person related to lionhead who i want to see redundant is peter fucking whatshisface....who constantly bragged about lots of things that were going to be in his titles, which were then removed (or never existed)
  • @9, it's 20.
  • @12 lol
  • I was afraid of this.. I've bought every Fable there is, day of their release (except Fable 2, didn't have a 360 then), and even though I have a Kinect, I'm just not interested in a Fable Kinect game.
  • I think with some games they are set to fail. Why has there been little to no advertising for Fable The Journey? Same with Singularity about a year or two ago, great game but Activision didn't advertise it at all.
  • i knew this would happen when fable the journey was announced. if they want to get back on top form and get more of their fans back they need to make fable the lost chapters hd if they dont change any of the game play or any of the glitches and they just buff up the graphics then they will be giving fans (like me) who have been begging for a hd fable the lost chapters what they want. it would bring a lot of sales their way and will bring a lot of fans back on side for fable 4. i know this probably wont happen as they have stopped listening to fans lately but this is just my opinion and i think it would work.
  • That's what happens when you make a Kinect only version of Fable, you alienate the people that played the previous Fable games. Make a game that the real Fable fans can enjoy, and stop trying to push Kinect on the hardcore gamers. It is cool tech, but we just don't give a crap about. I have much better control and accuracy with a controller, and I can't stand for 10 hours straight to play a Kinect game.
  • Sad news. I'm studying games development at uni, seems like a shitty area of work to be getting into.
  • If they continue pushing us into this Kinect crap, there will be more layoffs
  • They should of just released Milo and Kate that game probably would of made a lot more money
  • Big mistake making a KINECT fable.
  • Every time I Keep hearing about layoffs I start to think if I chose a good industry to work in.
  • Yikes, tough break for these guys. I'm hoping Molyneux might try to get some of them in at 22Cans, as there are some pretty talented guys working at Lionhead. All the best to those affected, and hopefully Microsoft will finally start to realize that "hardcore" gamers don't want Kinect versions of the franchise's they enjoy they want the real things.
  • @ 2 Are you serious? Honestly man, I have been playing quite a bit and it is way better than Fable 3, it is a really enjoyable game. However one thing I have been saying through out is that, while it's good, they should have just made a feature length film instead, there is a lot of cinematics in the game, which I personally am loving and is my favourite part of the game so far. The kinect controls are actually quite responsive though, for me at least, not sure how others have found it
  • Fable: The Journey actually ended up being an amazing game. The graphics were some of the best I've seen and the soundtrack and voice acting is the best of the series (and this series always has an amazing score)... The cutscenes were top notch and as usual the characters were extremely good. Once you got into the gameplay it was one of the best Fables and might be my favourite Kinect game. It sucks when people write it off and bash it for being a Kinect game, after I finished it and sat through the credits I realised Lionhead doesn't simply "phone it in", they put their hearts into it. I hate that it under performed.
  • Lionhead should just give Fable The Lost Chapters a lick of paint, remaster it in HD with remastered graphics (a la Halo CE Anniversary), then they may actually make a profit.
  • I'm not in the least bit surprised its flopped. How many hardcore gamers bought it? As in percentage wise? Not that many I guess. I'm not a massive fan of the series after Fable, played 2 and 3, but they were not that great compared, and felt as if I didn't get much value for money with the game world being so small. Maybe they will sort it out and make a Fable 4?
  • I'm gettin' tired of seeing so many people hate on the game, thinking that "real Fable fans" didn't want a Kinect-based Fable and that it isn't important whatsoever. News flash for those uninformed, The Journey is more important to the Fable universe than 3 possibly could have been. Which I honestly didn't believe would happen, but having played the story, I can't believe how much story they crammed in there. As for the controls, sure, the combat gets wonky sometimes, but Lionhead did a great job making it work, so long as the Kinect itself doesn't lose track of you.
  • @28 I don't think anyone is bashing the story or content itself, more or less the fact it's on Kinect and makes it virtually unplayable and impossible to market to fans and newcomers to the series alike. I love Fable, but I'd rather go read a summary of what The Journey is about rather than have to sit through grueling hours of glitchy Kinect bs.
  • Interesting why they feel need to share this with the world. When I got laid off, nobody gave a fuck and I probably had it worse than these guys to begin with... Oh, irony...
  • Did Lionhead make a Kinect only Fable game out of choice or was this Microsofts doing ?
  • @28 We're not saying the game wasn't any good, just that it was a bad idea from the start. The day I saw that the new Fable was Kinect-only I said it was going to tank bad because Fable fans like me won't buy it, and it did tank. Making an expensive franchise Kinect-only is a bad business move, because you're immediately alienating everyone who refuses to play games on Kinect, people like me. I like controller gaming, always have and always will. And when I get into a game big time it's not unheard of for me to play for 10-14 hours straight. I can't do that with a Kinect game because I'm not going to stand for that long. I'm all for them ADDING KInect commands and stuff to games, but anyone who develops high budget games as Kinect-Only is just an idiot and looking to fail. Blame this on Microsoft for trying to force people to buy a Kinect by making a high profile franchise like Fable into a Kinect-only title, then realizing that many of us still refuse to be forced into buying Kinect and would rather just skip this game and see if they do the next Fable for regular controller gaming. Epic Fail Micro$oft, you made a bad call and it cost people jobs. If you woulda made Fable: The Journey a normal game, people like me woulda bought it and these people would still have their jobs.
  • Yeah cause Fable: The Journey sucks
  • I hope the other 90% lose their jobs too.
  • Fable The Chapters HD for Xbox 360 and Fable 4 with options for controllers to choice: regular controller and Kinect for next Xbox. That will be biggest sale points up again for you Lionhead. To be honest I didn't preorder or get Journey because it is only Kinect. I got Kinect but I refused to get and play it because Fable series is not need Kinect anyway. Sorry to knew that layoffs and it is sad news. Come on, Fable The Chapters HD is ocming soon!!! By MS!!!! Please just force Lionhead to bring it on. I want play first series again!! Sorry scream but I want see it back anyway...
  • Now working on Fable 4: Return of the Molyneux. Nothing but Peter Molyneux being dragged back to Lionhead and being put up against a wall so players can take turns shooting him everytime he over-exaggerates.
  • i still dont get microsoft if we wanted to wave our hands around like man people we would have brought a wii. I do have kinect as for dance/party games its actually quiet good but for mainstream games such as fable sure put kinect in but give us the option to use controllers and then it would have been much higher in the charts. I get microsoft wanted to try something new with kinect and fair play to them to try but dont shut out those of us who wants to sit down and relax after a hard day at work. O and give brute force sequal :(
  • I feel like those people really caught the shit-end of the stick, from what people say it seems lionhead really put their best foot foreward on this game, so it's not their fault. If only microsoft would just give up on trying to force that god-forsaken piece of technology down everyone's throat, those people wouldn't have been screwed out of their jobs.
  • I hope microsoft finally realise how much gamers dont like being forced to use kinect, i love fable,and this would have been day 1 for me , but didnt even consider buying this due to it being kinect exclusive..
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