Disclaimer: I have kept this article spoiler free. If anyone posts spoilers, be sure to do the right thing and mark them as such. Okay, here we go:
The Fable series debuted in 2004 on the original Xbox. Formerly known as Project Ego, the series initially had Peter Molyneux at the helm.
Molyneux hyped Fable like no other game, often stating that "Its gonna be the best game ever". This led to a lot of hype for Lionhead Studio's title. Peter Molyneux promised many ambitious features for this title. Unfortunately, not all the features made it into the game. However, despite what turned many people away from this game, I never followed the hype surrounding it. My brother and I saw the game at our local gamestore one day and thought that it looked interesting. We enjoyed the game so much, that when the definitive version released in 2005 (Fable: The Lost Chapters), we picked that up too. And so I would delve into the world of Albion many times, completing all the quests, find all the silver keys (and discovering the duplication glitch) and finally multiple playthroughs. Good, neutral, evil. It shortly became one of my favourite games. I enjoyed the humour (British comedy and voice acting for the win) and the gameplay.
It wasn't until 2006 Fable II would be announced. Now that I was a teenager, and had more access to the internet, I would look at trailer and interviews with Peter Molyneux. However, I kept my hype levels in check and I only ever read a couple interviews for this particular title.
Come release in 2008, my brother bought Fable II alongside the Xbox 360. This would be the game that would make us take the leap into the next generation of gaming. Unfortunately for my brother, he had commitments with his at the time girlfriend that day. Fortunately for my best friend and myself, we had no such commitments. We took the console out of the box and plugged it up to the 32" standard definition TV. I know in people reading this now probably think that this sounds terrible, but at the time, it was perfect. The game was everything that the first Fable could not achieve. I still have fond memories of the two of us discovering you could send enemies soaring off the cliff, or into a chasm. There was something about the way they dangled like rag dolls that added humour to their otherwise grim fate. You could pick your gender, the environments were open and the combat was more flashier.
The following year Fable II: Game of the Year was released. This year I got my first job. In doing so, I bought myself an Xbox 360 and Fable II: Game of the Year (Lego Batman and Assassin's Creed were bundled in the box). Having recently replayed Fable II, it still holds up fairly well today. The final boss 'fight' was lacklustre at the time, and it most certainly still is now. That being said, in my recent playthrough the final boss gave me a laugh. I found it hilarious that they thought it was a good idea to implement this shallow 'fight' into the game. Surely someone knew that this would annoy some fans. As a whole Fable II didn't really capture boss battles like the first game. The lack of a magic meter also meant you could just spam magic as much as you want to now.
2010 saw the release of Fable III, and I was hyped. This was the game that I practically followed all of the news on. The house customising, being able to watch every individual NPC on the map, and the weapons adapting to the way play were all promised features. I preordered it, I played through the game, I enjoyed it... however I was let down by both the hype and being misled by Molyneux. Fable III was still an enjoyable game for me, and I plan to do another playthrough of it sometime in the near future. That being said, there are some things that this game has absolutely failed. The end game was certainly a problem. I do not want to spoil anything, but the way they handled the ending was implemented terribly. I did enjoy the quest to over throw your brother who is a tyrant and discovering that another threat loomed upon the horizon as you became either King or Queen.
Fable Anniversary was released in 2014 on the Xbox 360. It is a remake of the first Fable, and at times it looks gorgeous. The cutscenes on the otherhand not so much. My playthrough of Fable Anniversary brought back a lot of nostalgia. It was a lot of fun, however, it definitely does not play as well as Fable II or Fable III. The combat feels stiff and there are noticeable drops in frame rate. Otherwise it is still a solid experience, it just felt strange that the remake still felt like a dated experience.
Suffice to say I was looking still forward to the next Fable. Not Fable: The Journey, I was looking forward to Fable IV, the next true Fable.
With interviews like the one Peter Molyneux had with GameTrailers, I was under the impression that Fable IV and Fable V were underway.
This interview was made just before the release of Fable II. In this interview, Peter had stated that they had a big story arc for Fable and that they were already writing the story for more sequels; Fable III-V in fact. We got Fable: The Kinect Journey, and soon to be released Fable Legends as the first Fable title for the Xbox One. Would the Xbox One be getting Fable IV shortly after the release of Fable Legends? Highly doubtful. Why? Lionhead Studios has said so. Peter Molyneux is no longer a part of Lionhead Studios, could Lionhead Studios be trying to move on from this franchise? Not necessarily. Lionhead have stated that they are focusing on the release of Fable Legends. Phil Spencer added to this by saying that they will continue to support it with years of content.
This idicates that if Fable IV is in development, it is in its early stages. There is a possibility that Fable IV won't see release until towards the end of the Xbox One's life cycle. Perhaps it will be a cross generation game. Could the planned story arc mentioned by Peter Molyneux gone through some serious rewriting, or even scrapped? Or did he simply just blurt that out to build more hype for the series?
It just seems strange that Fable III, IV and V were mentioned before the release of Fable II. Especially considering Lionhead does not appear to be focusing on Fable IV let alone Fable V.
What are your thoughts?