There hasn’t been much news out of Lionhead about the latest addition to the Fable franchise, but there is today. Microsoft and Lionhead Studios have announced that Fable: Legends is going to be a free-to-play game.
They’ve released a video announcing the move, and in it, they make a few promises. The first is that the base game is going to be free, so no one will have to buy anything in order to see the ending. The second promise they make is that anything relating to player advancement can be earned. The final promise they make is that they’re going to strive to create a happy community.
This is a bit of a surprise for the brand, since past games have been traditional retail releases. The video is also noticeably absent in revealing how the micro-transaction model will work, which is going to be a big concern for most people, since the bane of most micro-transaction based games is the infamous “pay-to-win” model where people that shell out cash get an immediate, often unbalanced and unfair advantage over those that choose to keep their wallets shut. Lionhead has already said in the video that all character advancement can be earned, but they don’t mention whether someone with a credit card can leapfrog the paying players and dominate the field.
This is particularly important, since Fable: Legends is one of the new “asynchronous competitive multi-player” games emerging right now. Three players join together as a team to fight a fourth player that is the “villain,” basically a dungeon master that constructs the level, traps and monsters, and then uses all those resources against the players. Think an online version of Peter Molyneux’s original Dungeon Keeper with Bullfrog Productions, and you have some idea of how the game is supposed to work. Check out the video below to see the announcement for yourself.