Microsoft admits its handling of Lionhead Studios was a “mistake”

The Fable creators deserved better, it seems

A new documentary about the history of Xbox has revealed that Microsoft believes its handling of Lionhead Studios was a “mistake”.

Power On: The Story of Xbox is a six-part documentary series about the “scrappy beginnings of Microsoft’s video game console” and launches today (December 13). Early insight by IGN has uncovered that a short segment in the sixth episode is dedicated to Lionhead Studios. The studio was shut down in 2016 and is best known for the Fable series and Black & White.

In the documentary, then general manager of global games Publishing, Shannon Loftis, explained that “one of the biggest missteps that we learned from in the past was Lionhead.” She continued, “we had already published Fable 1, and it was a hit… People wanted more, and so we bought Lionhead. Those were good years.”


However, “after Fable 2, Kinect came along and the Fable-Kinect marriage just never really took.” She pointed towards Fable: The Journey and described it as a “passion project for a lot of people, but I think it deviated pretty significantly from the pillars of what made Fable 1 and 2 so popular.”

Sarah Bond, head of game creator experiences and ecosystem at Xbox, expressed similar feelings. “We acquired Lionhead in 2006, and shut it down in 2016,” she noted. “A couple of years later we reflected back on that experience. What did we learn, and how do we not repeat our same mistakes?”

Loftis concluded that she wished “Lionhead were still a viable studio”.

Currently, a Fable reboot is in the works. It’s being developed by Playground Games, best known for the Forza Horizon series. Recently, senior combat designer Pawel Kapala left CD Projekt Red to work on the reboot.


In other gaming news, Ubisoft has updated the Splinter Cell trademark. It is reportedly working on a new mainline Splinter Cell game.

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