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Fable Legends open beta delayed to 2016

The "most ambitious" game Lionhead has ever made needs more time.

As many suspected it would, developer Lionhead's next Fable game, Fable Legends, has been delayed. The Xbox One and PC game's open beta was previously expected to launch this holiday, but that's not going to happen. The UK-based studio announced on Monday that, in part as a result of feedback from the ongoing closed beta, the developer has made the "disappointing" choice to push the open beta to a release in spring 2016.

"Fable Legends is coming together well and it's a lot of fun," Lionhead said in a blog post. "But we think that we can make it even better. So we've decided to extend our closed beta to continue to listen to feedback from our players and add features and polish that will make a real difference. This means Fable Legends won't release into open beta this holiday as previously announced. We realise this may be disappointing for those of you not currently playing, so we wanted to tell you why."

Lionhead admitted that it "didn't anticipate just how big Fable Legends" would become. As a result, development time has stretched further than the company previously planned.

"The team is working exceptionally hard and we're proud of how far the game has come," Lionhead said. "We're operating our closed beta 24/7 and have added lots more features, quests, creatures, and heroes to play."

Hundreds of thousands of people have already participated in the Fable Legends closed beta, and an additional 100,000 will be added to the mix in the coming weeks, Lionhead said.

Fable Legends is slated to launch for Xbox One and PC, featuring cross-platform play between the two. However, Lionhead has not yet said if both versions of the game will launch on the same day.

Unlike past entries in the series, Fable Legends is a free-to-play game. And no matter when it's released, Lionhead has high hopes for it. The developer thinks the game will enjoy up to a 10-year lifespan, staying interesting and relevant with lots and lots of downloadable content.

The delay into 2016 is not altogether surprising, given just days ago, Microsoft was still not guaranteeing that Fable Legends would launch this year.