With the recent closure of Ensemble Studios eyes were on other teams Microsoft has under their wing. In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Game Studios, said the publisher has no plans to close Lionhead Studios -- developers of the upcoming RPG, Fable 2.

Spencer noted that the studio is an important element to Microsoft's European development presence. Spencer also hinted that fellow European developer, Rare, is secure from closure. "[Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts] will be their fifth game in the first three years of the Xbox 360 - that's crazy. Two launch games? What studio on the planet signs up for two launch games? That's just crazy."

But what of the losses Microsoft have suffered in the wake of closing FASA Studio -- developers of Shadowrun -- and the breaking off of Bungie?

"Our customers care about exclusive content," Spencer said. "I'm not sure they care what business card the people who are building those games have. Is anybody going to look at Gears of War and say it's not a pillar franchise for us on 360? No, because it is. But we don't own Epic, and Mark Rein and those guys are their own people. That's good."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.