The Fable series has been dormant since 2010, assuming you don't count Fable: The Journey, because no one does. But the series his coming back, with a new Fable coming from Playground Games, the studio behind the popular Forza Horizon series. Fable is a very different kind of game, but Playground is a talented studio that should bring something new to the franchise.
The new Fable was first announced with a mood teaser in May 2020. Unfortunately, we don't know much else about it yet. Below, we've run down all the details currently out there about Fable, which is often referred to as Fable 4, although we don't know if that number is reflective of where the game will fit in the franchise.
The teaser trailer
Our first look at Fable didn't give any story or gameplay details, but it did certainly set a mood. The trailer showed off a fairy flitting her way through an idyllic fantasy forest, before suddenly getting eaten by a huge toad. That certainly sets the mood for the irreverent tone the Fable series is known for. And notably, the trailer simply refers to it as "Fable," indicating this could be a reboot.
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Fable release date and platforms
We know next to nothing about when Fable will actually be available to play (or much of anything else, for that matter). Microsoft's website for the game lists no date but does run down what machines you can expect to play Fable on when it does eventually arrive: Fable will be available on the Xbox Series X and Series S, as well as on PC. Given that all first-party Microsoft titles also appear on Game Pass at launch, we can expect Fable to be part of that subscription service as well.
It's notable that there's no mention of a Fable release on Xbox One. According to Xbox Games Marketing general manager Aaron Greenberg, that doesn't discount the possibility of an Xbox One version of the game, necessarily, but it does seem possible that Fable will be a game that requires you to either buy an Xbox Series X|S or play on PC, at least if you want to play it natively. Microsoft has rolled out cloud support for Xbox One, so it's possible the game could be playable on last-gen hardware through that.
Who's making it?
The originator of the Fable series, Peter Molyneux's Lionhead Studios, was shuttered in 2016 alongside the cancellation of Fable Legends, a co-op action-RPG entry into the series. There hasn't been a mainline entry in the Fable franchise since Fable III back in 2010.
The new Fable title is helmed by Playground Games. The studio is known for the Forza Horizon games, and while those are racing titles, they're known for their vast open worlds--which is a check in the pro column for a new Fable game. Playground created a second studio, separate from the Horizon team, back in 2017, to handle what was an unnamed game at the time. Now we know that game is Fable.
Anna Megill, the lead writer on Remedy Entertainment's Control and narrative director of Arkane Studios' Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, has revealed that she is heading up the Fable writing team. We have some information about that team as well, and it features some notable people from Batman: Arkham series developer Rocksteady. Batman: Arkham Knight's lead scriptwriter, Martin Lancaster, will serve as the game's narrative director, and is joined by Rocksteady veterans Craig Owens, another former Batman script writer, and cinematic director Martin Tan.
Other members of the Fable team include Will Kennedy (GTA V) as chief designer, Juan Fernández de Simón (Hellblade) as principal game designer, and Adam Olsson (The Division 2) as lead environmental artist. Naturally, many members of the team also previously worked on the Forza Horizon series.
While Playground might not seem to be the most natural or obvious fit to make a new Fable, Xbox boss Matt Booty said Playground is the right team for the project for a variety of reasons.
"They had a particular passion for the IP, and they also demonstrated that they understand what the heart and soul of Fable is about, and how they can bring it forward for today's sensibilities," Booty said. "Some of the things that I've seen are so encouraging. They've got a great technology base and they've just got such a demonstrated commitment to crafting quality. During some of the first reviews, I shared a little bit of skepticism, but they've since put that to rest and I'm excited for everybody to see it when we're ready to show stuff."
What's new in Fable 4
Another notable development about the new Fable is that we've learned it will use the Forza game engine. Forza series creators and developers Turn 10 Studios posted an ad seeking a new software engineer to work with the ForzaTech engine, with the successful applicant being tasked with using the software to "support an open-world action RPG--Fable."
The new employee will also be responsible for adding "new features like ray tracing" to the game for some added visual horsepower, which will "have a major impact on three AAA titles in development" across two other Xbox franchises.
The ForzaTech engine has been used in the past to create some of the best-looking games for Xbox, helping to create worlds and vehicles that look both realistic and vibrant. Microsoft wanting to use some of its best technology to revive the Fable franchise makes sense as development on this project continues.
Tom Gaulton, a lead engineer at Playground Games, celebrated his fourth year at the studio on Twitter in November 2021, expressing his joy at getting to work on Fable throughout that time. So yes, the new Fable has been in some form of development for at least four years, it appears. Gaulton's tweet provided the first real indication as to how long the game has been in the works at the Microsoft-owned studio.
Playground Games released Forza Horizon 5 to great success in 2021, setting player records for Xbox. As mentioned, the studio has at least two internal development teams, so it's possible the new Fable will be developed alongside a potential Forza Horizon 6.
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