Once Fable fell apart as a video game series after the third title, people wondered if there would ever be any hope for the franchise. Gamers believed one of the more unique role-playing games in the industry was buried forever after Lionhead Studios, the studio behind the main titles, was closed for good.
Fortunately, the 2020 Xbox Games Showcase gave us hope for the series that many believed was left for dead, with a teaser trailer.
What Happened In The Teaser?
Teaser trailers usually don’t show any gameplay, and the teaser for Fable IV continued that tradition with a CGI cutscene. No look into an enchanted forest setting is complete without a British narrator, precisely what we got in the Fable teaser. We follow a Tinkerbell-like fairy as she whizzes her way through the forest only to be hilariously devoured by a giant toad.
The shock value was quickly forgotten as the camera pans up to give us a view of the landscape – what many believe is Bowerstone. A much larger Bowerstone is either an indication that Fable 4 is a continuation of the main series started by Lionhead Studios, or is a complete reboot of the series.
Is Fable 4 A Reboot?
With Lionhead Studios gone for good, it only makes sense for the series to get a complete reboot instead of salvaging what was left of the Fable franchise. It gives the developers, Playground Games, a chance to breathe new life into the series and give it the fresh start it deserves. It seems “Fable 4,” and “Fable” will be used interchangeably until we’re told otherwise. However, a quick look at the crest on the sword’s hilt in Fable’s teaser trailer hints we could be seeing the Heroes Guild again. We’re hoping they’re going back to a simpler time of swords and magic compared to whichever futuristic direction Lionhead Studios was trying to go with the Fable series.
All indications point towards Fable 4 being a soft-reboot. A soft reboot, unlike a hard reboot, doesn’t clean the slate of the entire universe. However, it’s taking place in the same universe while still having the freedom to tell a new story or choose a different approach. It looks like Playground Games is going to take the easy route of having Albion be wholly wiped out by an asteroid. This allows them to explain why there was a regression from the futuristic approach Lionhead Studios was trying to take with the series.
Lionhead Studios always meant for this fantasy roleplaying adventure series to move forward in time. Everyone loved the original Fable game setting, but it all started going downhill with Fable 2. Even Peter Molyneux, the creator of Fable and the chief game designer, was disappointed in the direction Fable 3 took. It’s not every day a game designer is openly critical of their work, so we’re hoping Playground Games learned what worked and didn’t with the original Fable.
Previously there was an attempt at rebooting Fable with “Fable Legends.” That being said, that ended up being a multimillion-dollar loss that nobody asked for. There was an attempt to have a free-to-play online game, or an MMO, with the Fable series in hopes it would save the studio. Microsoft pulled the plug on the project due to the massive cost of a project that no one seemed interested in. Lionhead Studios tried to wash its hands clean of Fable Legends to work on Fable 4. Still, it seems Microsoft had lost faith in the developers and hired another studio would take the Fable series in a different direction.
Peter Molyneux already had an idea for Fable 4. He wanted to continue the series into the modern-day. Fable started in the age of swords and magic before moving forward in time with every new title. He talked about the series running as far as Fable 10. In the first three installments of the Fable franchise, the time-line went from a medieval fantasy world to the Industrial Revolution.
Molyneux wanted to continue into a steampunk vision for Fable 4, making the franchise almost unrecognizable. While it was nice to see how Bowerstone, the Fable’s central capital, progressed through time, it didn’t seem as if there was any interest in the series anymore after the game became almost unrecognizable from its medieval-themed roots. With Fable 4 coming under the influence of a new video game studio, it will be interesting to see which direction they will take.
Is There Any News On Fable 4’s Gameplay?
With Fable 4 coming from a completely different developer, the gameplay is entirely up in the air. Some fans are sweating bullets knowing Playground Games only has the Forza Horizon series under its belt. Creating a racing game is one thing, but to take on the development of an iconic franchise is another beast in itself.
Fortunately, it didn’t take fans very long to dig as much as possible into the gameplay of Fable 4 to stir speculation.Personally, we’re sure that the game will be completely open-world and move back to a medieval theme compared to whatever modern steampunk direction Lionhead Studios was trying to go to. There are also some rumors that Fable 4 will not have any guns, which is exciting news for fans of the original game.
One of the more exciting rumors is players won’t even have to take part in the game’s main story at all. This is similar to the Elder Scroll’s approach of dumping the player into an open world and letting the individual decide how they want to approach the gameplay. For example, in Skyrim, players can explore a vast open-world without touching any of the story. Of course, for anything in the world to change, the player would have to take part in the game’s main story at some point, but we’re wondering if that’s actually the direction Fable 4 will take.
There are also rumors of Fable 4 having multiplayer. We’re hoping Playground Games implements this better than whatever Lionhead Studios was trying to do with Fable Legends. They’re also going to retain the things that did work with the original Fable behind the demon door, indicating there’s going to be some degree of time travel involved.
What Systems Will Fable 4 Release On?
With Fable showing up at the Xbox Games Showcase, it only makes sense that Fable will only release exclusively on Microsoft platforms such as the upcoming Xbox Series X and Microsoft Windows. The main Fable series has only ever been released on the Xbox and Microsoft Windows due to its publisher being Microsoft Game Studios. Microsoft has also announced that Fable 4 will be available on Xbox Game Pass.
That means those who own the Xbox Series X and are subscribed to their Game Pass service will be able to play the game for free. Unfortunately, hoping Fable 4 will release alongside the Xbox Series X may lead to disappointment, as the game is rumored to release in 2021 or later.
Fable 4 looks like it’s going to be the soft reboot people have been asking since the last installment in the original Fable series. While there have been a handful of spinoffs and mobile games, nothing has entirely captured the original Fable’s magic yet. That’s why everyone is excited about this teaser trailer. We’re hoping Microsoft has learned its lesson and guides Playground Games towards the direction people want. This will drive sales to the Xbox platform to compete with everything Sony is announcing.