A few days ago Microsoft went ahead and revealed a ton of information about upcoming games as well as announcing a few new ones. They showed off Halo Infinite, a new Forza game, Jack Black singing through a trailer of Psychonauts 2, and plenty more for their upcoming new console, which were all fine announcements. But the one that I’m most excited for is the new Fable game that was confirmed to be in development.
For those who don’t know, the Fable franchise is one of ups and downs, with people ardently praising and condemning various entries in the series. To me, it follows the same trajectory as the Mass Effect series where the first one was good, the second was the best, and the third had some neat ideas but didn’t really make good on the promise of its predecessors. I can hear the sound of a friend of mine texting me in violent disagreement, but that’s okay because they’re wrong.
Fable was always this cheeky action-RPG that always seemed like it was a sequel away from really nailing whatever it was going for. What it was going for no one can be quite sure of, but Fable always felt like a series with ambitions of much grander elements than were feasible at the time. Everyone likes to angrily point to the creator of Fable, Peter Molyneux, and chide him for his constant over promising and under delivering when it came to the franchise, but in hindsight it often sounded like the technology just wasn’t there to make good on his vision.
But it doesn’t matter what Molyneux says anymore because he’s no longer involved with the franchise and hasn’t been for several years. Instead, this new Fable is being developed by the people behind the Forza Horizon series, Playground Games. I don’t think anyone has any idea how this new Fable will turn out with the developers of a racing franchise calling the shots, but the Forza Horizon games have all been received really well in the past which makes me hopeful that they’ll do right by revitalizing the Fable series.
I don’t really have much in the way of expectations for the next Fable game, but I would hope it does a few things differently than its predecessors. There’s only a handful of specific elements I’d like to see this new game to incorporate, but overall I’d like to see a vast departure from the formula of the old Fable games. That isn’t because I don’t like those games, I just think those games only worked at that time in history and trying to recapture that again would feel uninspired and outdated.
Aside from general modernization, I think it should be a true open-world game with one big contiguous map. In the past, Fable had big areas to explore that were separated by loading screens, so having a cohesive world would be a nice change that would make the world feel more whole than it ever did before. I also think we’re at a point where Fable needs a good character creator in it. I don’t want to be a generic boy who chases chickens and either gets a halo or a pair of horns on his head. I want to be in control of my character and their appearance and not just turn into some weird demigod.
It would also be nice to see the game make good on some of the more esoteric promises that Molyneux made back in the day. A lot of what I recall him pitching was the idea that all of your choices and actions had reactions and consequences. Maybe they weren’t immediate, maybe they were, but nothing you did was done in a vacuum and that’s where I think that’s something a new Fable can do to differentiate itself from other RPGs. The series was always supposed to be this very customized and reactive experience, but it never manifested that way. But with the Xbox Series X, the power of modern PCs, and the strides in open-world game design, having a world react to you in the way Molyneux once envisioned seems more possible today than ever before.
Speculating about Fable right now feels pretty pointless at this time though. All we saw was a tone setting CG trailer that was very cheeky and that’s it. Who can say what the game actually turns out to be or when it’ll even come out? My bet is that it’s a 2022 game at the earliest, but I’d love to be wrong about that and get my hands on it earlier. Now that Microsoft is bringing Fable back and EA is bringing Skate back, I’d like to know what the fuck is going on at Ubisoft and why Splinter Cell hasn’t come back yet.