The line "respecting the legacy while adding fresh ideas" is one you hear almost verbatim about any series reboot, so it's no surprise to hear something of a similar shade from Microsoft on the subject of Fable 4.
The next game is being developed by Playground Games of Forza Horizon fame, as former Fable makers Lionhead Studios were shut down in 2016. Microsoft are touting Playground's experience with open world environments as part of what they'll bring to the next Fable game. They also haven't definitively shut down rumors that it's an MMO, so do with that as you wish.
So far, we've mostly just heard that the next Fable game is "a new beginning for the legendary franchise," one of the few bits of information that came along with the reveal trailer.
Microsoft head of studios Matt Booty talked with The Guardian about the Xbox Series X, giving a quick pep talk for the next Fable game along the way. "[Playground Games] also have a real passion for the IP and a unique point of view on what’s core to Fable. Everything I’ve seen as the game progresses tells me this is going to be a very high-quality release," Booty says, also citing Playground's attention to detail with Forza's natural landscapes.
Since its reveal, rumors have circulated that the next Fable game isn't Fable 4, but a Fable MMO. As you do with rumors, don't put too much stock in them just yet. It didn't escape my notice though that the reveal trailer featured the title "Fable" without the numeral four.
"With any kind of franchise like that, where you’ve had existing versions, there’s always that balance between what you’re going to bring forward, what still stands up, and what you want to add that’s new," Booty says in response to those rumors. "It’s like the challenge of making a new Star Wars movie—there’s stuff that everyone wants you to bring along, but then you’ve got a responsibility to that, to new places and I trust Playground has a good vision for that."
As for what Fable's legacy actually is, I sure do hope Playground know better than I do. My memories of the original Fable are all trod over by the AC/DC songs I listened to on repeat while playing it. I have next to no memories of Fable 2 at all, though I'm pretty sure I did play it on my Xbox 360 at the time. Fable 3 I mostly remember, ah, trying to get married to various NPCs I think?
For the liker of fantasy RPGs I sure don't remember a dang thing about the Fable series, though perhaps that's more on me than Lionhead. Hopefully Playground will be able to pay homage to that history other folks remember while giving me something that will stick in my old sieve of a brain.
We don't know a heck of a lot else about the next Fable game, but you can keep an eye on its official Twitter account. You know, the same one that Microsoft claimed was simply "standard practice" and that we shouldn't get our hopes up for an announcement.