Multiple companies were reportedly interested in purchasing the recently closed Lionhead Studios, according to Kotaku UK. People familiar with the company told the site that these included some of gaming's biggest names.
Citing confidentiality agreements, Kotaku UK's sources were unable to detail who these potential buyers included. The talks took place during the mandatory consultation period that preceded Lionhead's closure late last month. That six-week period is required by British law; parent company Microsoft used the time to help transition employees into new jobs before ultimately shutting down the veteran game studio, founded by Peter Molyneux 20 years ago.
Among Lionhead's best known and most beloved franchises was the Fable series. One person familiar with the studio claimed that the Fable franchise was the reason these buyers ultimately backed off, according to Kotaku UK. Microsoft wanted to retain its ownership over the Fable intellectual property, the site reported — perhaps the most lucrative part of a potential deal with Lionhead Studios, which was most recently working on the free-to-play multiplayer game Fable Legends. The game was set to launch in open beta this spring.
We've reached out to former Lionhead employees for further details and will update accordingly.