Reports have begun swirling that there is going to be a new Fable game on the Xbox One. This would mean a return to the forefront of gaming for the series, which has remained in gaming purgatory ever since Microsoft shutdown Lionhead Studios in 2016.
The makers of Fable Fortune recieved some fortune of their own. Flaming Fowl Studios underwent a crowdfunding campaign for their new title Fable Legends, a free-to-play card game in the vein of Hearthstone, set in the Fable universe.
In an update on the game’s Kickstarter page, the studio announced they received private, additional funding for the title. As a result, the studio cancelled their Kickstarter campaign and are focusing their efforts on a Closed Beta, coming soon. Players can sign up for the beta on the studio’s website. All backers of the Kickstarter campaign will be allowed access to the currently available Alpha build, as well as the closed beta.
Flaming Fowl Studios is a new indie studio composed primarily of former Lionhead Studios members. Fable Fortune is the first title in the Fable franchise following Lionhead’s closure earlier this year.
The legend of the Fable series may yet live on as the Kickstarter campaign for Fable Fortune is now underway.
Set in the Fable world of Albion, Fable Fortune is a free-to-play collectible card game that will utilize gameplay systems from the franchise and introduce new game modes. Players will experience iconic locations from the games including Fairfax Castle, Bowerstone, and Lychfield Cemetery.
The game will feature quests that the players can undertake during a match and earn rewards. Completing quests will also see players make a moral decision, as Fable Fortune continues the tradition of allowing players to be Good or Evil. This will in-turn have an affect on the player’s deck.
Players will also have the option of playing a co-op mode, allowing them to team up against villains from the series including Nostro and Logan.
Fable Fortune is being developed by Flaming Fowl Studios, a new company started by ex-Lionhead developers, who have been hard at work on this project for nearly 18 months. It is set to launch on PC (Steam & Windows Store) & Xbox One with the possibility for Android and iOS versions at a later date.
Last month Microsoft announced they would be cancelling the development of Fable Legends, it was said they were in discussion with the staff at the studio about the possible closure.
It has now been a month, and in that time, there were no buyers or other possible solutions to save the studio, so as of today, April 29th, Lionhead will close it’s doors for the last time.
In a statement made to Eurogamer, they confirmed that the studio was indeed closing.
“We can confirm that after much consideration over the six-week consultation period with Lionhead employees, we have reached the decision to close Lionhead Studios. We have nothing but heart-felt thanks for the team at Lionhead for their significant contributions to Xbox and the games industry.”
The staff at Lionhead took to Twitter to express the sadness for the Peter Molyneux founded game studio.
— Iain Angus (@IainAngus) April 29, 2016
Last day of Lionhead:-( pic.twitter.com/zfXobF7wzY
— Stuart Whyte @GDC 🎮 (@stuwhyte) April 29, 2016
— Callum Macarthur (@ThirteenOranges) April 29, 2016
Lionhead Studios, known for the Fable series of games, along with Black and White are facing some tough times today.
If you bought an Xbox One in the hopes of playing the next numbered instalment in the Fable series, you might be disappointed. Lionhead Studios announced that’s not their focus for the time being.
The news came as a response to a fan on a twitter.
— Lionhead Studios (@LionheadStudios) September 23, 2015
So, sorry guys. Fable Legends doesn’t have a definitive release date yet, but maybe we’ll hear some news after its launch.
I’m a pretty good guy in real life. I offer my seat on the bus to old ladies, I always tip my waiter and I even let telemarketers finish a few sentences before hanging up on them. Sure, I’m not perfect, but I like to think if some higher power handed out morality report cards I’d at least get a passing grade.
The story is a little different in games though, particularly RPGs. Given the choice to play the saint or the sinner, I invariably chose the darker path. Whether it’s chowing down on crunchy baby chicks in Fable II or tying innocent women to train tracks in Red Dead Redemption, I relish being a jerk.
As games have evolved over the years, they’ve gotten a lot better at letting the player craft a narrative based on their own decisions. Players have more say in shaping the story of a game than ever before. Despite all of this advancement, the path of the hero and the path of the villain are often almost identical.
Outside of a few side missions scattered throughout the main storyline, choosing the immoral path rarely has any real effect on the world at all. Sure, the final cinematic might be altered, but the road to the end really isn’t very different. A majority games with moral elements only matter at few pivotal points and only a few elements are ever altered at those points.
This lack of distinction is where I take issue: if a game provides the player with the option to choose evil, they should let the player experience the consequences of those actions properly. The reason evil is attractive, the reason why I want to be a bad guy, is that they defy the systems of order the rest of us adhere to, regardless of penalty. Those who lie and cheat and steal break the rules of society – even to self-destructive ends – just for the thrill of it.
In games, this disregard for consequence is trivialized by a constant need to keep rewarding the player regardless of action. You may not get that +2 Sword of Holy Power after killing all the helpless villagers, but somewhere down the line you’ll pick up a +2 Axe of Blood instead. Everything has its checks and balances, and the player gets a pat on the back no matter what they do. This is no good if we want morality to matter; sometimes there needs to be real loss in order for players to feel like they’ve made a choice, good or bad.
Dragon Age: Origins is probably the game that most aptly executes this principle. Instead of a slider bar dictating karma points, every choice has an effect on relationships with other characters and can ultimately lead to them abandoning the party forever with no gain to the player whatsoever. When these characters leave, you feel their scorn and, if you’re doing it on purpose, you feel like the asshole or martyr you set out to be.
If games are meant to make us think critically about our decisions, then they need to make us reflect through consequences, even if this means making the player suffer for their choices. Game developers need to stop rewarding players for every possible outcome and start using the power of loss to accentuate the rebellion of evil and the sacrifice of good.
Being good or evil isn’t just about the individual choices we make; it’s about facing what those choices mean in a grander context, even if that means no benefit other than understanding more about who we choose to be.
This article first appear in the October 2010 issue of CGM.
Yikes, Lionhead Studios got themselves into some trouble on twitter today. Earlier in the day, the maker of Fable sent out a lovely tweet in celebration of National Cleavage Day, and was met with a ton of backlash.
It’s essentially a picture of a bar waitress with really visible cleavage, holding two frothing beers with the caption “The Foaming Jugs” a reference to the game franchise. In the game, this is a pretty acceptable joke. But online, it might not be the smartest tweet a game company could send out especially with all the discussion about gender equality in gaming lately.
While it was good for a bit of a laugh, it did offend many people, so it’s hard to justify. However, when the company apologized for it, there was even more backlash for them bending over to please everyone. It’s just a messy situation, and it probably would have been best if Lionhead just didn’t tweet at all. Props should go out for their apology, but it was too little too late.
What do you guys think? Was this insensitive, or funny?
Cross-play is a strange thing. The idea of playing a game on my console against people playing on another device just seems really cool and inclusive. But while in theory it might be exciting, in practice it doesn’t make much sense. That’s essentially Microsoft’s cross play model with Fable Legends—interesting, but confusing.
Maybe I’m being a little old fashioned here, but this idea just doesn’t seem like it could work. Microsoft is in a situation where their new home console doesn’t have as much hype compared to its competition. Although recently the Xbox One has put together a string of months (November and December) where it outsold the PlayStation 4 in North America. Worldwide, the PlayStation 4 sold 18.5 million units, whereas the Xbox One shipped 10 million. It’s not a huge difference, but it’s difference enough. Despite that, Microsoft says that they sold 50 per cent more Xbox Ones than 360s at the same point in their life cycles. That’s something to be proud of, but the industry wasn’t doubling the revenue of movies back then.
One of the big reasons for Microsoft’s success lately is part price drop, part exclusive content. Taking the price drop out of the equation we’re left with Microsoft’s exclusive library. Because, let’s be honest here you don’t hear much about games running better on the Xbox One, but there have been issues in the past where games run worse (looking at you Watch_Dogs). The big exclusive draws for the system are Sunset Overdrive (which came out on October 28) and Halo: The Master Chief Collection (which came out on November 11). The release dates show why November was so strong with a game released at the end of October, followed by a release just shy of mid-November—strategically these games helped carry them through the holiday season. There was a time when Fable was one of Microsoft’s bigger IPs, not quite on the level of Halo but still a big deal. Its first and third games were actually released on PC as well. The second wasn’t though. Despite that, it managed to be the best selling game across all platforms in the month of October 2008.
High quality games keep eyes on any console. But if they’re available for on other platforms, it takes focus off the system Microsoft needs to sell–unless that’s not the company’s focus anymore. But that isn’t very good business. Yes, the money goes to Microsoft anyway, but consoles are sold at a loss for years until they break even. A monolithic company like the house that Windows built can withstand it, but eventually there has to be some profit. And exclusive content is one of the most important things for a console to sell.
I just don’t see a situation where taking one of the more recognizable exclusive IPs in the Xbox’s library and making it accessible on other platforms will bring new gamers to their media hub. Cross-play is a very intriguing concept, but there are more PCs in the world than Xbox Ones. Microsoft could shoot itself by releasing this game on both. There is a market of gamers who have already made a decision for their console and it wasn’t Xbox One, but have the expendable cash to potentially have a second system. By releasing a large IP on PC as well, it just doesn’t make sense to buy an Xbox One.
Maybe I’m overestimating the appeal of Fable, or maybe I’m underestimating the appeal of cross play, but when exclusives aren’t really exclusives a console can lose its lustre. Hopefully this isn’t a trend Microsoft peruses because every game they release on PC, the easier it is to find reasons to not buy that chunky vented console. And if they’re already losing the battle, then they won’t do themselves any favours with this.
So E3 is only three weeks away, and rumours have been flying around about what exactly will be shown. Then a mysterious list began circulating the web. It has no confirmed origin and can’t really be traced back to someone. Odds are, it’s not real. There are a lot of warning signs that point to that, but it’s fun to speculate.
So, Microsoft’s press conference looks like this.
It’s a little hard to read but it says they will show off Beyond Good and Evil 2 gameplay, DirectX 12 trailer, Fable Legends gameplay, Forza Horizon 2 gameplay, Gears of War 4 gameplay, Halo V: Guardians tech, Kinect TV Shows, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare gameplay, Quantum Break gameplay, Star Wars Battlefront III gameplay, and Titanfall DLC.
On the floor they will have Dragon Age: Inquisition, EA Sports UFC, Fable Legends, FIFA 15, Forza Horizon 2, Killer Instinct, Madden NFL 15, Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, NHL 15, Project Spark, Sunset Overdrive, and Quantum Break.
What could be legitimate:
Fable Legends has been in the works for a while now, so it wouldn’t be that big of a surprise to see it there. It’s already confirmed that Halo V: Guardians will be there, but it should be noted on the page it’s called Halo 5 (the list came out before the announcement, but still the fact that there isn’t even a roman numeral is off-putting). Gears of War 4 could get a teaser considering Microsoft acquired the rights to the series, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Kinect TV took up a lot of the show.
What doesn’t look legitimate:
Star Wars Battlefront was announced last year, but didn’t have the “III” in the title so that is a big red flag.
What got our attention:
Fable Legends is really intriguing. Not a lot has been shown, so some gameplay footage would be enough to get some interest. The only problem is the last few titles with Fable in the title have been lacklustre. It’s time for Lionhead Studios to step their game up.
Here’s Sony’s list.
They have a Destiny gameplay trailer, DriveClub trailer, God of War 4, “Indie Games” trailer, inFamous Second Son DLC gameplay, The Order 1886 gameplay, Uncharted 4: Sunken Blade tech demo, and a Watch_Dogs demo.
On the floor they’ll have Alien: Isolation, Batman Arkham Knight, Destiny, Disgaea 4, DriveClub, EverQuest Next, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F-2nd, Lords of the Fallen, Natural Doctrine, PlanetSide 2, The Order: 1886, Ultra Street Fighter IV, and Watch_Dogs.
What looks legitimate:
Honestly, it wouldn’t be surprising if that’s their line up.
What doesn’t look legitimate:
I guess God of War IV seems unlikely so early in the console’s life.
What got our attention:
Uncharted 4. It could be the most anticipated game on the PS4.
And then there’s Nintendo.
Since they don’t have an actual conference, they’re only listing what’s on the floor. They’ll Bayonetta 2, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night 2 on the 3DS, Hyrule Warriors, Mario Kart 8, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Pokken Fighters, Sonic Boom, Super Smash Bros U, Super Smash Bros 3DS, Theatrhythem Final Fantasy: Curtain Call, Legend of Zelda: Shard of Nightmare, and Xenogaers: Origins.
What looks legitimate:
Bayonetta 2 has been in development since the Wii U launched, so it wouldn’t come as a shock to see some more gameplay. Monster Hunter 4 will probably be there along with Sonic Boom as well. Those are all titles Nintendo needs to show off to get people excited.
What doesn’t look legitimate:
This is where this document gets silly. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night 2 on the 3DS would be hella cool, but the odds of that actually happening after the poor sales of Lords of Shadow Mirror of Fate are slim. But Symphony of the Night is one of the most popular games of all time and the 3DS has a few series revivals in it’s library. The other giant elephant in the room is Legend of Zelda. It’s entirely possible that Shard of Nightmare will be the actual title for the game, but considering how the art style for the series has shifted to less hardcore, that edgier name seems unlikely. Also, Mario Kart 8 will have already been out for a few weeks by the time E3 rolls around, so it wouldn’t make sense for Nintendo to show off something that people are already aware of.
What caught our attention:
Legend of Zelda is Nintendo’s biggest series. If Nintendo even teases this, that’s a big deal.
Obviously this whole thing is speculative. The document itself isn’t trustworthy enough to accept as authentic, but speculation is what makes E3 fun (or disappointing). The only way to know what will be shown is to wait for June 10 and watch. In the mean time, what games are you hoping to see?
On this week’s CGM podcast, Michael Bay gets attacked and Carrie is not the triumphant return that everyone was hoping for, but Telltale’s new Fable game is.
Lionhead Studios has announced today its decision to delay the release of Fable Anniversary to February 2014.
“We’ve been working hard for the past year to bring you the very best Fable experience on Xbox 360,” Lead Designer Ted Timmins wrote in a blog post. “We feel though, that we need a little more time in order to meet our ambitions and give you, the fans, the best game possible.”
Timmins also said Fable Anniversary, upon its release, will be available at retail stores, as well as online via the Xbox Games Store.
Lionhead Studios revealed Fable Anniversary in June as part of the HD remake of Fable and its Lost Chapters expansion. At the time in June as well, Microsoft’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hyrb announced Fable Anniversary to be released this holiday season.