Lionhead hit with layoffs after latest Fable release

No sooner does Fable: The Journey hit shelves and developer Lionhead Studios is facing staff reductions. Despite the layoffs, Microsoft insists that another 100 people will be hired by June of next year.

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No sooner does Fable: The Journey hit shelves to lackluster reviews than UK developer Lionhead Studios faces staff reductions. Despite the layoffs, Microsoft insists that another 100 people will be hired by June of next year.

"Following the completion of Fable: The Journey, Lionhead Studios has begun work on its next projects," read a statement from Microsoft to Develop. "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."

Without giving an exact count, Microsoft spun the numbers to say "the reduction in staff would account for less than ten percent of the overall headcount at Lionhead by the end of 2012," Develop said. Microsoft is working with those affected to find them other positions at MS studios in the UK, if possible.

Contributing Editor

From The Chatty

  • reply
    October 16, 2012 1:05 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Lionhead hit with layoffs after latest Fable release.

    No sooner does Fable: The Journey hit shelves and developer Lionhead Studios is facing staff reductions. Despite the layoffs, Microsoft insists that another 100 people will be hired by June of next year.

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      October 16, 2012 1:10 PM

      Not sure how these are news, does the movie industry get all excited when people stop working on a big release?

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        October 16, 2012 1:19 PM

        I wouldn't say that layoffs would promote excitement to the people that read the site but it is interesting regardless. Who knows? Some people may be interested to learn that the developers behind Fable have had to downsize or that Microsoft intends to have 100 new people join Lionhead. It may prove positive to some people and negative to others but this website gives people the chance to talk about it.

        So though it may not interest you or even be regarded as news to you, some people may beg to differ.

        But to answer your question, yes, I would get excited if they stopped working on the Resident Evil films.

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          October 16, 2012 1:23 PM

          But would you consider it movie news if the art director or sound guy lost their job after the movie was completed?

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            October 16, 2012 1:28 PM

            Good point. I would consider it news, but I'd imagine only a select number of people would be interested in it. I guess it depends on how many people were laid off.

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            October 16, 2012 1:34 PM

            I'm curious about this as well. I know we've got plenty of game people and some movie people that post here. Is there a reason there should be a big difference between the two in terms of how projects come together and what happens when they're finished?

            How did we end up with the idea that on say, a game, you've got a steady company that develops game after game with largely the same employees (unless they move on somewhere else or get fired), but with a film you have the studio as broad controlling interest, but most people involved in the actual production are put together just for the one film, paid for their work, and that's the end of it.

            It seems like both are generally large teams of people working on and then ultimately finishing a unique product, so why the huge difference in how people are employed to create the product?

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              October 17, 2012 12:40 AM

              With movies, you have a contract I believe. So you know when the movie ends your contract is finished. Basically you plan for it and the pay in theory reflects that you don't keep your job when your job on the movie is finished.

              In games they tell you that they are hiring you full time and make you move probably, then probably have tons of unpaid overtime during crunch, and then lay you off when the project is finished.

              Also movie industry has unions.

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              October 17, 2012 12:45 AM

              oh also, making games is not like making a movie. Movies are not unique projects. For example the lighting tools and cameras don't change all that much. But in the game industry tools and tech differ wildly between studios and every time a new gen of hardware comes out studios have to figure out a lot of things again. When new tech comes out you don't even know how big a level can be and run at 30 or 60 fps etc so you have to kind of build and design blindly.

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              October 17, 2012 6:57 AM

              Many reasons. The biggest reason is that games started out with the steady company model because they used to be made very quickly and very cheaply 30 years ago, and only fairly recently did their budgets and schedules really start to rival hollywood budgets, so the production company model did not used to make much sense. The production contractor model is a change that prolly should have started to happen around 2000 but changing the industry is hard and takes time.

              Other reasons are thingies like there is no centralized city like "hollywood" where everybody works because the industry is not glamorous enough to force or compel people to move to a single location, and also many of the talents required are not singular to the industry. So you have artists and programmers who had to come from other industries that used to live all over the world that dont want to relocate. Because game teams only recently came from very small team sizes, there is still a desire and necessity for small team cohesion and team input, whereas a key grip on a movie set does not suggest script changes to the screenwriter. So most teams want to remain a single cohesive unit. The branding of creator authorship has always been company oriented rather than the director oriented nature of Hollywood, so there is a need to cultivate teams rather than cultivating directors.Also game production is messier than film, both due to the complex nature of producing interactive with changing technologies, and due to incompetence and immaturity of production scheduling, so coordinating with outsourced production companies is a difficult balancing act that many companies shunned. Middleware used to be a similar way to decentralize development but as companies consolidated into massive first party efforts, middleware becomes less efficient than horizontal integration of internal company-wide middleware across many first party studios. And as the software focus becomes increasingly about backends and servers to support service based games like League of Legends and Call of Duty, the need for upkeep and maintenance keeps a lot of software focus internal.

              BUT almost all of these things are changing and in fact, the industry has already sort of become more decentralized through the heavy use of outsourcing and contractors. It will never become as decentralized as Hollywood because the production cycles do not favor creative outsourcing such as directors or screenwriters signing picture deal contracts.

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                October 17, 2012 6:58 AM

                YALL better read this!!! i spent time writing this instead of driving my wife to work so now i dont have the car today and im stuck at the house now!!!

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                  October 17, 2012 7:05 AM

                  It is a good post and it makes me wish you trolled less and posted stuff like this more. :-/

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            October 17, 2012 6:37 AM

            They have a contract. The end of the movie is the end of the contract. A lot of these people aren't contractors. It's still a different situation despite the fact that it's not a rare occurrence for this industry.

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      October 16, 2012 9:45 PM

      This shit happens way to often. Damn all AAA titles all devs should just start making games independently imo (provided they have they funds and if not we have that kickstarter crap).

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        October 16, 2012 10:05 PM

        i don't kickstarter monies come close to make-a-triple-a-game monies.

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      October 16, 2012 9:53 PM

      maybe they'll all join 22cans and help Molyneux with his glorious vision.

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      October 17, 2012 6:32 AM

      plz plz plz no more gaybles