Fable: The Journey released last week to reviews going from scathing to mediocre at best. After two years in development, low scores and poor sales figures, developer Lionhead’s misfortune continues as parent company Microsoft is issuing redundancies to “less than ten per cent of staff”.
Microsoft stated the following to industry publication Develop:
“Following the completion of Fable: The Journey, Lionhead Studios has begun work on its next projects. 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.”
After previous instalments Fable 2 and Fable 3‘s critical and commercial success rocketed both games to number one in the UK chart, Fable: The Journey was a flop, placing in at number 37.
It’s hardly too surprising – aside from the poor reviews, the game is stuck in a limbo where core gamers aren’t interested in Kinect and the Fable name isn’t quite big enough to appeal to casual Kinect players.
Despite it being a poor game, its always sad when a talented developer spends years of developing only to face poor reception and loss of staff. Unfortunately one slip-up in this industry can cause strong consequences.