Fable dev Lionhead has 8-person team building its "next big IP"

"We'll have some new IP to share with you soon."

Fable Legends developer Lionhead has charged a small team with coming up with the studio's next big new intellectual property.

Studio head John Needham told Eurogamer Germany its eight-person incubation team, headed up by creative director Gary Carr, is as we speak working on prototypes for new games that are not related to fantasy role-playing series Fable, as well as new experiences that may be added to multiplayer online quest adventure game Fable Legends, due out on Xbox One in 2015.

"It's a team of about eight guys we have in the studio who are trying to build the next big IP for us," Needham said.

"They're working on a couple of new prototypes for completely different games - not Fable related. They'll also be working on new games we can put within Fable Legends as well."

Needham hinted we may get to see what Lionhead's incubation team comes up with sooner rather than later.

"The primary purpose of the group is to come up with new game IP, and we'll hopefully this next year have something exciting to talk about," he said.

Lionhead, which has focused on the Fable franchise in recent years, is often asked whether it might revisit one of its older games for a potential sequel or reboot, with strategy game Black & White chief among them.

However, as Black & White was published by EA, it seems unlikely Lionhead, owned by Microsoft, will go back to it.

Instead, it wants to focus on new IP.

"We're going to come up with new IP.," Needham stressed.

"There is great IP in Lionhead's history, it's just spotty who owns what. Fable, clearly we're going to be investing most of the studio's efforts into that, but we'll have some new IP to share with you soon."

"There is great IP in Lionhead's history, it's just spotty who owns what. Fable, clearly we're going to be investing most of the studio's efforts into that, but we'll have some new IP to share with you soon."

Needham joined the Guildford-based Lionhead as boss in April 2013, and set about changing the studio relationship with its community.

"Here's where the difference in modern Lionheard is going to be," he said. "You haven't seen this yet but you will. I want a very transparent, open, active dialogue with our community about our games, about Fable Legends, about whatever game comes out of incubation.

"We will have a process internally where we take that feedback seriously and we build our priorities on the game our community wants and their feedback. And we get into an iteration loop where our community feels like they're actively in development of the product.

"It's something MMOs do pretty well these days and we're going to adopt that even though we're not doing MMOs. We're going to be a very community focused studio going forward.

"That's part of the reason why connecting players is such a big deal to me."

Lionhead's first game was Black & White, published by EA in 2001. The first Fable game was released in 2004, a year before The Movies was published by Activision.

But since the studio was acquired by Microsoft in 2006 it has focused on Fable, releasing Fable 2, Fable 3, Fable Heroes, Fable: The Journey, Fable: Anniversary and next year Fable Legends (to find out what the latter is all about check out our Fable Legends preview).

In January 2014 studio director Stuart Whyte told Eurogamer: "We've worked on a number of Fable games. We did The Movies. We did Black & White. We're not just a Fable studio. Judging by where we are at the moment we've had a lot of Fable games in recent times, but I wouldn't say that we're just Fable. I can't really say any more at this point!"

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