The historical tour de force that is Fable is quite rightly a cult classic. With Fable 4 coming soon, it’s about time we took a closer look.
Few games take in the sweep of ancient (and relatively recent) history like Fable. As Fable 4 — the new instalment in this iconic series — edges closer to release, the hype couldn’t get much more hyper.
Developed by the team that brought you the Forza Horizon series, Fable 4 is bound to be visually stunning at the very least. But fans of the series know that there’s a lot more to the lore of this epic action RPG. Let’s discover all there is to know about the upcoming release, including the all-important release date and potential changes.
When’s it gonna land?
The real-life history of Fable — though dwarfed by the multi-century span within the game — is still long. Like, multigenerational long. It first landed on the Xbox way back in 2004. It suffered a bit in the beginning and financially crippled its developer, Lionhead Studios.
With Fable II and III, however, the series hit its stride, with both instalments regarded as critical and commercial successes. Since 2012 though, the fable of Fable has been marked with turmoil, owing in part to the departure of original designer Peter Molyneux.
But upon the release of the trailer for Fable 4 — which promised a new beginning for the beleaguered franchise — the excitement from the fans was palpable. So when is it gonna hit Xbox and PC?
Nobody knows. Yet.
And though the pitch-perfect trailer (complete with its own twist!) is enough to get the blood pumping — with its gorgeous, intoxicatingly rendered fantasy world and awe-inspiring VO — a gameplay video is yet to appear. But there’s little doubt this ‘Optimised for Xbox Series X’ title is going to look and sound seriously good.
According to a Reddit thread on a Fable leak back in 2019, things might be set for a shakeup. Albion and Aurora gone though? And not just gone, but destroyed by an asteroid, at the behest of a ‘Mad King’? Maybe ‘shakeup’ was a bit of an understatement. It’s hard to see this turn of events avoiding the Glomar response in the near future, but one persistent rumour has seemingly been put to bed.
Talk of transforming Fable into an MMO took root, apparently born from the need to change direction. But in an interview with The Guardian, head of Xbox Studios Matt Booty hinted at a sequel that would keep the traditions of the series in tact:
“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. 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 take that to new places and I trust Playground has a good vision for that.”
Beyond excited to announce we’re making Fable, a new beginning for the legendary franchise! https://t.co/Pdj2SpybjT
— Playground Games (@WeArePlayground) July 23, 2020
Duel of developers
Think about it: one team has created Fable from day one, was shut down, only for the legacy of this classic to be trusted to another company. It’s pretty heavy circumstances in which to pick up the baton, move the game into the next generation, and keep all the fans happy. No pressure, guys.
Little wonder there have been misgivings from the original crew. Fable’s co-creator, Simon Carter told Eurogamer: “I have slightly mixed feelings.” He went onto explain:
“… 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.”
So, it remains to be seen whether Playground can keep everyone happy with the release of Fable 4. That said, the reinforcements were called in to bulk up the studio, with a workforce of 200 with their noses to the grindstone on this one. Also, according to this job posting, the same engine that powers the Forza Horizon series, ForzaTech, is being used on Fable 4. No doubt Microsoft is hoping for the praise that has been heaped Forza to be applied to the new Fable.
Me seeing Fable trending: pic.twitter.com/maGIrOPa1f
— The Solar Worf (BLWAM) (@TheSolarWolf1) July 19, 2021
A rare addition
It has been well-documented that Playground are hiring plenty of new staff to help with the development of Fable 4. One of the most exciting recruits is none other than Toby Hynes, who has just finished his stint at iconic game studio Rare (Sea of Thieves, Golden Eye).
Hynes will be taking on the role of Character Lead, meaning he will be responsible for populating the game world of Fable 4 with memorable creatures. The Fable series has taken a lot of inspiration from folklore and fairy tales, yet there are still many myths to plunder for exciting monsters. And Toby Hynes might just be the perfect man for the job.
— Toby Hynes (@TheRedbranch) January 23, 2022
Fable 4 seems like it’s still somewhere over the horizon, but with the chatter ramping up, the world is clearly ready for a return to Albion (that is if it survived: see the aforementioned asteroid strike). It’s been a rocky road, but Fable has been plagued with drama from the get-go — it seems that fans wouldn’t want it any other way. Stay tuned to this page for all the updates!