‘Fable’ Franchise Being Revived By Microsoft, ‘Forza Horizon’ Developer Pegged To Resurrect

Can Playground recapture what made 'Fable' so unique?

The Fable 2 cover art.
Lionhead Studios/Microsoft

Can Playground recapture what made 'Fable' so unique?

Microsoft unceremoniously canceled Fable Legends for the Xbox One and closed Lionhead Studios in its wake nearly two years ago. The success of PlayStation 4 titles like Horizon: Zero Dawn may have inspired a resurrection of Fable franchise, according to a Eurogamer report, and the studio responsible for the open-world Forza Horizon racing series is said to be responsible for development.

Playground Games is reported to have started development on a new Fable title, per sources with Eurogamer. The new game is said to be an open-world action role-playing title with a focus on character and story.

If true, this would be a return to the style of play seen in Fable 1 through Fable 3. The series had a free-roaming nature to it that allowed players to explore and experience the world of Albion without an over-abundance of hand-holding.

This changed with Microsoft’s push of Fable Legends as a “games as a service” multiplayer title with a focus on microtransactions during the era Don Mattrick-led Microsoft’s Xbox business. However, some within Lionhead Studios wanted to create a Fable 4. Legends never caught the attention of gamers during an extended beta period, however, and was ultimately canceled before being officially released.

A Fable Legends character facing a Rock Stalker.
  Lionhead Studios/Microsoft

What will be interesting to see is if Playground Games will be able to capture what made Fable so unique. The franchise was decidedly British with a dry sense of humor, which just as easily fits in a Monty Python skit as it does in the game.

There’s also the question of whether this will be a reboot of the Fable franchise or a continuation. Eurogamer described the new entry as a “clean break” with Playground Games, starting from scratch to revive the franchise.

That also means interested Xbox One players will likely have a long wait ahead of them before a new Fable is released. A two-year development cycle is the bare minimum that would be needed for an open-world action-RPG and would likely take longer to fully flesh out if starting from scratch with a new studio.

Still, this is good news for Xbox owners, as it demonstrates Xbox Head Phil Spencer’s commitment to developing exclusive games in-house. Hopefully, the Xbox division will be able to show more of that this year, as the exclusive line-up of major titles for 2018 currently consists of Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, and State of Decay 2.