While Fable 4 hasn’t been officially confirmed as yet, we’ve heard from more than one source that it is indeed happening, making it one of Microsoft’s worst-kept secrets right now. With Forza Horizon developer Playground Games at the helm, this epic RPG could end up being one of the Xbox Series X’s most potent weapons in the war against the PlayStation 5 – but what does the team behind the original Fable want to see from this sequel?
"I’d like it to be more than just The Witcher with condoms," say Dene Carter, who, along with his brother Simon, came up with the idea for Fable at Big Blue Box, a Lionhead satellite studio, at the turn of the millennium. "I think Fable is unique, silly, and parodies a lot of things people in RPG-land have taken for granted for decades," Dene continues. "I also think Fable feels mythic and magical in a way that a lot of RPGs don’t. When every NPC has a potted history of everything that has happened in your world there is no room for inquiry, speculation or doubt. Without those there is no mystery. Without mystery, you have nothing."
Charlie Edwards, who worked as a tester and level designer on the Fable series and is currently working on spiritual successor Kynseed, is excited about the tech that Playground can bring to the table. "If the people we think are making it are making it, then that tech could be amazing. Seasonal changes, stunning vistas… However, I hope they don’t try too hard to be Fable, but also veer too far away. I don’t want sterile high fantasy and wooden characters and huge empty open worlds with no intrigue or nooks and crannies to explore. And I don’t want them thinking a fart expression and kicking a chicken is enough to be ‘Fable’. The game needs a spirit, a passion and be a melting pot of quirky individual geniuses, matched to super-talented tech folk and artists who don’t like straight lines."
Dene’s sibling Simon hopes that Playground can maintain the series’ trademark humour. "At Fable’s core was the understanding that fantasy RPGs are very, very silly, but take themselves very, very seriously. We tried hard with Fable to embrace the silliness, gently, without breaking the illusion. Getting that balance right will be crucial. Most importantly, I want to feel that the developers love the world they’re making, and enjoyed making it. This is one of the things you get from indie games these days, and less so from AAA – the sense of emotional investment from the developers."
According to the leaks so far, Fable 4 is set in a time where Albion has been destroyed by an asteroid and is set across more than one planet. There are even hints that it involves time travel. Theresa and the Guild have fled to another planet, and the aim would appear to be to turn back time and prevent Albion's destruction. We've also heard that there are no guns in Fable 4, and it will be possible to construct your own towns in the game's open world. It is also believed that the game is being built using Unreal Engine.
You can read more of the original team’s comment in our exclusive ‘making of Fable’ feature.