The move comes as the company focuses on “the games and franchises the fans find most exciting and want to play,” says the general manager of Microsoft Studios Europe.
Microsoft intends to close a pair of European video-game studios, including the maker of “Fable,” the longtime action role-playing series.
The Redmond company plans to shutter U.K.-based Lionhead Studios and Denmark-based Press Play, Hanno Lemke, general manager of Microsoft Studios Europe, said in a blog post Monday.
Lemke said Microsoft was focusing on “the games and franchises that fans find most exciting and want to play.” He added, “We remain committed to the development communities in the U.K. and Europe.”
The closing of Press Play will begin immediately, a Microsoft spokesman said. The timing of the Lionhead closure is unclear. In the U.K., companies are required to consult with employees weeks before implementing large layoffs.
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In addition to building the Xbox video-game console, Microsoft makes games with development studios it founded or bought.
The announced closures come a week after Xbox chief Phil Spencer outlined the company’s ambitions in gaming, committing to linking console and personal-computer gaming closer together. He also said the company’s studios would increasingly develop games for the PC.
Microsoft bought Lionhead, the well-respected studio behind games like “Black and White” and “The Movies,” in 2006, and acquired Press Play in 2012. The closures will end work on Lionhead’s in-development “Fable Legends,” and Press Play’s cooperative survival game “Project Knoxville.”
Lionhead employs more than 100 people, according to its website. Press Play employs about 30 developers, the studio says.
Lemke said Microsoft would work to find those developers other roles at Xbox or elsewhere in the industry. “These have been tough decisions, and we have not made them lightly, nor are they a reflection on these development teams,” he said.