Lionhead shuttering was a "misstep" admit Xbox leadership in new documentary

Fable Anniversary
(Image credit: Lionhead)

Microsoft leadership has reflected on the "missteps" that caused Fable developer Lionhead to be shuttered, in a new documentary.

Over the past weekend, Power On: The Story of Xbox debuted on streaming services like YouTube (opens in new tab), Roku, and more, telling the complete story of Xbox from the days of the original console, all the way to the Xbox Series X and S. In the sixth and final episode of the small series, several Xbox leaders look back on their handling of Fable developer Lionhead.

"One of the biggest missteps that we learned from in the past was Lionhead," said former Xbox general manager of global games publishing Shannon Loftis. The former leader goes on to reflect on how Xbox acquired Lionhead after the original Fable was a smash-hit success, but after Fable 2 launched, the Kinect-Fable relationship just never really took off.

"Fable: The Journey was 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," Loftis concludes. "You acquire a studio for what they’re great at now," adds current Xbox boss Phil Spencer, adding that the publisher should help a developer excel at what they do, not the other way around.

Lionhead was acquired by Microsoft and Xbox in 2006, and would unfortunately be shuttered a decade later in 2016, after the live-service Fable: Legends was cancelled. Now though, many years removed from Lionhead's closure and Xbox's ill-advised venture into TV streaming with the Xbox One, Fable 4 is in development at Forza studio Playground Games. Although it might be a few years before we see anything of the game just yet, Playground's resume has us excited for whatever's in store.

Check out our full new games 2022 guide for a full look at everything releasing over the coming year for all platforms.

Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.