Microsoft turned down “several potential buyers” for Lionhead Studios before the studio was shut down, according to rumors.
Multiple sources told Kotaku UK that “some of the biggest names in video game publishing” offered to buy Lionhead Studios during the 30-45 day period that UK law requires a company to explore options before closing its doors. A source close to Xbox says that Microsoft reportedly turned down the offers because, though the company was willing to let go of Lionhead Studios, they did not want to sell the Fable intellectual property, despite offers in the range of “hundreds of millions” of dollars.
When Microsoft took the Fable franchise off the table, 90 percent of the interested parties allegedly “just walked away.” As noted by Kotaku UK, if another publisher wanted to make a game with the Fable name after purchasing Lionhead Studios without the rights to the franchise, then they would need to give Microsoft a portion of the game’s revenue, and that’s if Microsoft would even allow such a licensing arrangement.
Before its closure, Lionhead was working on Fable Legends, a free-to-play, asymmetrical multiplayer game for Xbox One and Windows 10.