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

Lionhead Studios/Microsoft

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.

Featured image credit: 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.