A new Fable game is reportedly in the pipes

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A couple of weeks back, rumours started spreading that a new Fable game was in the works. That seemed odd considering Microsoft shut down Lionhead, the studio that made the Fable games, nearly two years ago. According to Eurogamer, those rumours were on the money: new Fable is coming, and it’ll be “a story and character-focussed open-world action RPG” made by UK developer Playground Games.

They’re the chaps that made Forza Horizon, so we can all look forward to zooming around Albion in Venom GTs and Camero ZL1s.

Playground recently expanded massively, opening a new studio. Officially, all we knew is that they’re working on an “open-world RPG”.

Fable co-creator Simon Cartor revealed “slightly mixed feelings” when he spoke to Eurogamer about the fate of the series:

“On the one hand it’s great for the UK games industry, and very pleasing that Fable isn’t dead; indeed, it will be lovely to play one as a punter, without coming out in hives. On the other hand it is a little curious to get rid of the team that is uniquely expert in making Fable, and then try and make Fable. Fable is a weird game, and a tough one to deconstruct for a new team. That said, the team in question is very talented, and I’m sure they’ll do a fantastic job.”

Despite the closer, some ex-Lionhead folk did manage to salvage their spin-off card game Fable Fortune. While the planned free-to-play RPG Fable Legends died along with the studio, Fable Fortune survived in the care of a team within Lionhead that became the studio Flowing Fowl. It’s currently in early access on Steam.

I have to confess, my only experience with the series is playing a few hours of Fable 3 on a friend’s Xbox and packing it in when I got too annoyed at the expressions system. At the time I found it offputtingly goofy, severing any connection I felt to the world or its characters. Should I have persisted, gang?

35 Comments

  1. Freud says:

    Can’t wait to get a “+1 to naughty” in a lootbox.

  2. Blowfeld81 says:

    Fable 1 was great, went downhill from there.

    I would wish for Fable to return to what has made it great, but I am quite sceptical whenever I read the words “new” and “fable” in direcet combination…

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Fable 1 was really good, not the whole moon promised by Molyneux but fun regardless. “3” was utterly soulless beside a great premise.

    • Fade2Gray says:

      I thought Fable 1 was a fun proof of concept, but Fable 2 is where the series peaked for me. 3 was… disappointing.

  3. woodsey says:

    I don’t know what it is about Fable, but I’ve never actually believed anyone who’s said they like it.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      You’ve got to take into account when Fable was made. It’s an early Xbox title with some novel ideas and did the whole “silliness” before it became a genre staple in the PS3/Xbox360 era.

      I personally liked its charm. It was a proper British take on fantasy, it had high fantasy but with the grounding of low fantasy. It didn’t take itself too serious but didn’t treat everything like a joke.

      It’s like if Terry Pratchett wrote about golf. A lovely walk ruined by bandits and monsters with a healthy amount of absurdity.

    • Nelyeth says:

      Eh, the original Fable was doing a lot of things right, at a time when those things weren’t as common. I played it well after its release (in 2013, if I’m not mistaken), and I found it enjoyable, with very little of the usual clunk old games have in spades. It’s definitely something I see myself recommending even today, to someone without a decent computer.

    • baud001 says:

      I played it well after its release, on the PC version. I think it was the first RPG I played (after a handful of FPS and strategy games), so the idea of controlling one character was novel enough to me to say that I liked it. Also I enjoyed the ‘humor’ (no idea if it has aged well) and the world, there was a sense of place that I appreciated, with all its connected areas, especially for someone who has never played a game like it. And the action was good enough, with enough variety in weapons (sword, bow, magic), enemies and environnement that it never got stale.

  4. Yachmenev says:

    No, you should not have continued with Fable 3. It’s an awful mess of stupid ideas, that doesn’t work together. Escort missions require you to hold hands with grown up people, you haggle for prices by dancing, and the reputation system gave you points for anything, so that you could be declared the hero of the village by flipping off the children.

    It might sound silly, dumb and fun. But it really is just dumb.

    Fable 1 was flawed, but had some really good ideas, and both that and the sequel had some of the more interesting quests in the genre, that wasn’t as much as good vs evil, but rather heroic/unselfishness vs egoistic/cowardly.

    Fable 1 and 2 are games to learn from in a good way. Fable 3 is just an example of where everything went wrong. And as an added bonus, the PC version of Fable 3 was sold on Steam with both Games for Windows Live and Securom included.

    • lglethal says:

      “Escort missions require you to hold hands with grown up people”

      Maybe they were thinking of a different type of Escort… :P

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      Nauallis says:

      Fable 2 is the tripped-up excuse for a good game that bridges the gap between a fun game and going full-retard.

  5. Ghostwise says:

    Are these two blokes chasing the bloke with the hat because they think his pterodactyl cosplay is terrible ?

  6. playzintraffic says:

    Yeah, you left too early. Each game had its merits, but it was kind of like Mass Effect in the sense that each time a game tried to fix the flaws of its predecessor, it failed even worse.

    Fable 1 was a great story. But the gameplay got monotonous after a while, and the zones suffered from that problem linear games have when they try to act like they have an open world – it looked dressed up and fake.

    Fable 2 felt like it threw away a lot of 1’s world-building and started over from scratch. The gameplay was better, and more varied. The zones were a lot more open, but the idea that a handful of regions could be packed into big circle-shaped zones was a bit hackneyed. But they sure packed a shit ton of stuff into those regions! The biggest problem was the plot. If it was a movie, it was one of those zombie scripts that gets rewritten 60 times by 5+ different writers. Huge time jumps, equally huge plot holes. In some respects, it was artistically very bold, but it ultimately fell flat as that does sometimes.

    Fable 3 had a really interesting concept that could have been done way better. The zones reached a good balance between linearity and openness, without being crammed into neat circles. The gameplay and progression was the absolute best of the three. The systems balanced easy to learn with difficult to master. The plot had fewer major holes, and the biggest one was half-believable, even if it could have been solved with a few lines of dialogue. But BOY did the last-act shift of the whole game format really get screwed up. It felt truncated and punishing; it felt like the game failed to communicate some very simple mechanics that could have made the whole thing easier just because they wanted it to feel difficult and create artificial drama – which was insulting, because you should be able to create drama through real difficulty, not just neglecting to mention some important shit.

    At any rate, for all their flaws, I’d say these three games are super important for any gamer to play. It’s an emotional journey that doesn’t try to preach at you like so many games these days do.

  7. MikoSquiz says:

    I don’t believe we’ll ever have a second good Fable game. The first Fable was the last one worth noticing.

  8. Solidstate89 says:

    Sure, just set it back in the original Fable era that actually had the Hero’s Guild. Maybe even set it during the era of the founding of the Hero’s Guild.

    Everything past the first game was crap in not just the gameplay but the era/setting as well.

  9. HiroTheProtagonist says:

    Wait, Fable isn’t already dead?

    Pretty much every piece of news I’ve heard post-3 was “Lionhead is out of ideas”, “Wow this new Fable-based game sucks” and “Lionhead Studios has shut down”. The fact that they’re planning to make another strikes me as sisyphean.

    • Turkey says:

      This probably won’t be anything like the other Fable games. Microsoft just wants an open world game like every other major publisher, and Fable has some name recognition.

  10. asnakeofjuly says:

    Why not make it a new game with some FABLE influence? I enjoyed the first fable and had some fun with the sequels but MS has already squeezed its franchises dry.
    Gears 4 was fun but you have an entirely new team with new talents, just make a shooter with some gears feel to it but have it be a totally new experience. Same with Halo5.
    New things MS, give us new shinny pretty things to play with.

  11. LewdPenguin says:

    I wonder if it was ever meant to be a Fable game until someone at MS got nervous about launching a new IP, and eventually decided the best course of action would be to staple the Fable name onto the previous unrelated project, since they had it lying around unused.

    Not entirely a bad idea of course, I mean RPS and pretty much the entire rest of the games press wouldn’t really give 2 hoots about the project, let alone dedicate words to it at this stage if it didn’t now have Fable clumsily strung around it’s neck.

    • mattevansc3 says:

      From the reports the game isn’t even in production. They are in the process of hiring enough staff to create a new developer in its own right.

      So for good or bad, this is a new Fable game, not an old IP attached to an existing game ala StarFox Adventures.

    • baud001 says:

      A bit like with what happened to Prey? Bethesda was sitting on the license so asked Arkane to use it?

  12. int says:

    Your health is low. Do you have any potions or food?

    You are now renowned enough to use the sneer expression.

  13. satsui says:

    I’m not surprised they’re bringing it back. It is shitty that they fired the team that built the franchise and to have someone else do it, but hell, it worked for Call of Duty. I mean, as much as I hate the games it still sells under an entirely different team.

    The good news is that we won’t have Molyneux making some bullshit up about how empowering this game is, how it will change my life, and how every decision can alter the game. I’ll just accept it as an ARPG and if it’s fun, well then it’s a win-win for everyone.

    I hope they return more to like the first game (didn’t play second) than the third game. In the first game I liked being able to control who I did or didn’t kill, as opposed to the third game where I wanted to shoot Reaper a billion times and couldn’t. I also found it pretty much useless to buy homes or shops in the third game unlike the first game. Whether I was good or bad had practically zero effect in the third game too.

    • baud001 says:

      “In the first game I liked being able to control who I did or didn’t kill”

      Also a good point is that for some named characters, if I remember right, it was done in gameplay, not during a cutscene. I think I failed to kill some named characters (Whisper in the arena, for example) because I couldn’t do it, I did not understood that you have to target them to kill it.

  14. racccoon says:

    I’m pretty sure they’d be smart enough to know that fable1 was the beast! All the others just had some tiny elements of coolness & some that should never of been which ended up spoiling the franchise slowly due to mismanagement of really silly ideas & restrictions.
    I mean look where is the man now? he’s just following a path forever & ever. lol. What happened to the genius that he was supposed to been?
    Its a bit like that other fellow Richard “Lord British” Garriott & his silly Shroud of avatar its just not good enough for such a so called genius game dev to do or end up being seen to be doing. it all seems out of character.

  15. craigdolphin says:

    I think this is being driven by Microsoft belatedly realizing they need more 1st party exclusives to compete in the console market. I suspect this is aimed at having more ammunition when their next console rolls out in a few years.

    On its own merits, the idea of another Fable isn’t bad. It’s really the only existing western rpg IP that MS own, and they have zero western rpg exclusives on their platform so it’s an obvious hole to fill and makes sense for them to resurrect. And I’m sure there’s a decent market for a sequel if done well.

    Personally though, Fable doesn’t interest me much. I’m looking for more experience like TW3, Dragon Age Origins, Divinity Original Sin (1 and 2), and Skyrim. Fable just seemed to rely too much on silly humor to ever really click for me.

  16. ColonelFlanders says:

    What a weird franchise to revive. Every time I think of Fable, I think of Peter “pathological” Molyneux, and it makes me want to vomit

  17. Massenstein says:

    The first Fable had interesting ideas even though it failed most of the promises. Fable 3 was the next one I played after hearing tons of hype, people made it sound almost dwarf fortressian world simulator and wow was I disappointed with it.

    Though it could never have fulfilled all the crazy promises, there were enough individual parts that worked fine so it really could have been a decent game… I still keep hoping to see that Fable some day, the game it could always have been. I guess want a Skyrim where I can actually feel I exist in the world, or something.

  18. Michael Fogg says:

    I remember healing myself a lot with steaks or cheeseburgers or some such, in Fable II I think it was. My character got fat and the game bestowed them a nickname of ‘salad dodger’. Fun times.

  19. frightlever says:

    I suspect this is the BOTW effect.

    I loved all the Fables. The second one was my favourite, but I enjoyed them all. The third one just required you to go full slum landlord ASAP.

  20. ZippyLemon says:

    Fable 1 played a large role in raising me as a child. Fable 2 is one of my favourite games of all time. Fable 3 pissed me off, but on the plus side made me stop giving a fuck about AAA marketing.

    These games raised me. I am very interested in another one. I’ve been burnt by the Star Wars reboot though, and so my expectations are completely blank.

    Seriously though Fable 2 was fantastic fun. Excuse me while I go check 360 prices for the 100th time because of those memories.

  21. Vasily R says:

    I haven’t played a Fable game since the first one released. I enjoyed that one at the time, though can’t say how well it has aged. Never got around to playing the other entries in the series, so can’t comment on their quality.

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