It is sort of an open secret that Playground Games, developer of the best in class Forza Horizon series, is going to be making a Fable game.
There’s been no official announcement yet, but rumors have been percolating for a while now, and it would be a complete shock if they weren’t making a Fable at this point.
Fable is a really weird series in the Microsoft portfolio of IPs. Fable is very clearly tied with Lionhead studios, which was headed by Peter Molyneux. Molyneux, is infamous for over promising and never quite matching product with promise.
Still, while the Fable series never quite matched the heights of what was promised, the original 3 games are beloved.
Fable 2 in particular is a legitimately great game. It felt alive and reactive. It was charming and felt like a game where you could really shape your character and the world around you.
Lionhead studios closed down in April of 2016 while they were in the midst of developing Fable Legends. Legends was an online co-op, live services game. It was a game that never seemed to click with audiences, and really seemed to miss what players liked about Fable. It felt like a game solely made to make money off of a popular IP rather than a game with a true vision.
The last “true” Fable game in my opinion was Fable 3 which released in October of 2010.
Fable feels a bit lost to time. It’s a great idea that produced really good games, but it feels like it never reached the heights it could have. It could have been one of the biggest series in gaming and a truly long lasting title, but it’s been dormant for years.
If the rumors are to be believed, having Playground games revitalize they series with their open world expertise is incredible exciting.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Fable lately and what I would want in a new game. I want to talk about a few things from the original series that I want to carry over into Playground’s game, and a few things I want expanded on.
Fable needs to have incredible Music
Fable’s music is magical, haunting, heroic, desperate, conflicting. It never ceases to amaze me how incredible the music was in these games and how consistently excellent they were.
I have Temple of Light permanently ingrained in my skull, and it simultaneously gives me hope and makes me feel dread. It’s incredibly simple, yet powerful, perfectly mirroring the game it’s attached to.
The new Fable will need to somehow match what Lionhead accomplished. and that’s an incredibly tall task. I hope Playground is up to the challenges
Keep the Good or Evil theme, but expand on it
The Fable trilogy was pretty simple in terms of morality. Do good things and you are a good guy, do bad things and you are bad. This was easily identifiable in game. In Fable 2 specifically, if you were a good character, you would have a Halo over your head. If you were evil, you would grow horns.
The morality system was pretty black and white, and I think Playground can and should expand on that. Fable needs to continue to have the morality system, but systems can be more sophisticated.
I think it would be interesting if the systems were expanded upon, more than just a simple morality scale like in previous Fable’s.
Perhaps a reputation system across several different factions that took into account how you were seen by a variety of people.
Maybe entire quest lines and choices you made on those, including dialogue options, also factored in to the morality system. There are a lot of possibilities, and I’m excited to see what Playground comes up with.
Playground are masters in the open world genre and they should bring that mastery to Fable
The original Fable trilogy was Open world-ish. There were definitely open areas, but the open areas were connected by linear paths.
Playground games have become near masters in the open world genre with Forza Horizon, and I would assume that they would like to apply their mastery to the Fable series.
I don’t think every game needs to be a huge, sprawling open world, but Playground has become so good at making those games that it would be hard for me to imagine them not making Fable a true open world game.
Albion, the primary setting of Fable, is a truly incredible and enchanting place. Who knows where the next Fable takes place, maybe it’s a completely new setting. It all depends on what Playground wants to do, but I would love to see what their take on it is.
Fable should become a true RPG
Fable has historically been a bit of an RPG-lite. You can definitely make your own character, make decisions in game, and there are stats and abilities.
But there was never a complex skill tree, or perk system, or skill checks, or even a dialogue system. While I definitely want the new Fable to keep the charm of the original games, I definitely want to see the Fable formula fleshed out into an expansive RPG.
Fable has always been a game about choosing who you want to be, but the options were always a bit surface level. While I appreciate the charm and simple ness of Fable, I want to see it truly expanded.
If Playground can mix that with hardcore RPG systems, their Fable game could be truly special.