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Lionhead to embrace games-as-service, starting with  Fable Legends
Lionhead to embrace games-as-service, starting with Fable Legends
February 11, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

February 11, 2014 | By Alex Wawro
More: Console/PC, Design

"I am the person pivoting Lionhead into a games-as-service studio. Legends is quite different from previous Fable games."
- Lionhead Studios head honcho John Needham, speaking to EDGE.

When UK-based Lionhead Studios hired John Needham to replace departing studio head Peter Molyneux last year, parent company Microsoft claimed Needham's experience with free-to-play titles and subscription-based MMORPGs would prove valuable to the studio's future plans.

Now Needham, who previously served as CEO of online gaming companies like Cryptic Studios and Gazillion Entertainment, tells EDGE that he is guiding Lionhead Studios towards becoming a developer of games that operate more like content delivery platforms than discrete pieces of entertainment. Needham claims the studio's next game, Fable Legends, is expected to run for 5-10 years with regular content updates, obviating the need for other Fable games for the foreseeable future.

"We can do other styles of Fable games, and keep them within Fable Legends," Needham told EDGE during a recent interview, snippets of which were published today on the EDGE website. "My plan is that Legends is essentially a platform for almost everything Fable going forward. Itís a long-range plan, of five to ten years, where weíre going to build and keep building onto Fable Legends. Thatís the nature of games as a service Ė you keep adding systems and features and content."

Fable Legends has previously been advertised as Lionhead's five-player multiplayer-focused action RPG for the Xbox One, in which up to four players guide a party of pre-defined heroes through brief, simple quests -- dungeon crawls and the like -- while a fifth player attempts to stop them by laying traps, spawning enemies and the like.

You can read more excerpts from the interview on the EDGE website, where you can also purchase a subscription to the magazine to read the full interview.

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John Maurer
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And with that, I bid a fond fair-well to Fable, beyond Jack of Blades it didn't deliver what I expect from a final boss fight anyway

Michael Pianta
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My thoughts exactly. I wasn't a huge fan of them - that is, I kept feeling like they had unfulfilled promise - and now I'm done for sure.

John Owens
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Yea I think I bid fond fair-well to Xbox too.

It seems that's the direction Microsoft is going and although I thought I would get a Xbox One I think Sony being Japanese might be a better bet for non-F2P games.

I've no problems with DLC or even what they did for Killer Instinct but any sort of subscription model or "ability' to buy in-game currency / time etc doesn't appeal to me.

Katy Smith
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I don't know if saying Japanese is the way to go because of less F2P is accurate. F2P has been around longer and is better received in Japan than in the US or EU. China, Korea, and Japan are very hot on F2P games right now.

(Edited to remove unintentionally grumpy tone. Sorry! Need more coffee!)

John Owens
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I get the feeling though that while F2P is very hot in China and Korea with smartphone and PC and with companies like DENA in Japan it's less accepted by the Japanese and American Playstation audience and Sony doesn't look to be pressing it.

That's just my impression however if I'm wrong then please correct me.

Kujel s
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Fable Anaversery will likely be the last Fable I ever buy. Since Molyneux left it has been going down hill.

Ujn Hunter
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Guess I'm done with Lionhead then. No interest in games as a service. I want a product. One that can't be shut off. Sorry.

Henrik Strandberg
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Hating on GaaS is like hating on restaurants, banks or retail stores that provide good service - because they believe the customer is always right.

Separate GaaS and F2P. Two different things.

Ujn Hunter
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Two separate things, yes. Both craptastic, yes.