Eurogamer is reporting that Microsoft has approved the development of a new big-budget Fable game.
Since former Fable developer Lionhead Studios was disbanded in 2016, Microsoft has asked Playground – developers of the Forza Horizon series – to develop this new Fable game. It seems that Playground is planning on assigning almost 200 people to work on the project out of their new offices in Warwickshire. Microsoft so far does not have any comment on this.
Playground‘s Fable project is planned as a story and character-focussed open-world action RPG, much like the main Fable games up until this point have been. This isn’t going to be another Fable Kinect title that uses the Fable name to sell something completely unrelated to the experiences that made the Fable name mean anything in the first place.
Keep in mind that this new Fable game – besides the fact it hasn’t officially been confirmed – is that it might be quite a long time before we ever actually see it. Early reports indicate that the game is in the earliest stages of development. In fact, it’s currently believed that the team at Playground are still trying to assemble the full staff needed to work on this project.
Some of the people who worked on those classic Fable games indicated that they’re not sure how to feel about the news that a new studio is going to work on the franchise.
“I have slightly mixed feelings,” said Fable co-creator Simon Carter. “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.”
Microsoft‘s decision to return to the much-loved fantasy world of Albion comes less than two years after it shut down Fable creator Lionhead and canceled Fable Legends. Fable Legends, unlike previous Fable games, was designed as a free-to-play “game as a service”, with a heavy focus on multiplayer.
According to former Lionhead developers, the staff at the studio had wanted to make a story-driven, single-player Fable 4 while Legends was in the works, and had hoped the studio would move on to making such a game after Legends was done and dusted.
It seems that the success of the PlayStation 4 exclusive title Horizon Zero Dawn may have inspired Microsoft to revive the Fable franchise after all these years. This report indicates that they now believe the market for such a narrative-driven experience may be stronger than they thought.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Playground approaches this franchise given that it has had its ups and downs over the years. What exactly defines a classic Fable experience can vary somewhat depending on which Fable fan you ask. However, we have a feeling this new game will at least attempt to take another stab at Fable‘s promises of a world that changes based on your influence.