Microsoft is reportedly reviving the dormant Fable franchise. According to Eurogamer, the company is pulling the action-RPG franchise off the shelf and handing it off to Forza Horizon developers Playground Games, who will be housed at their second office in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. The new game will bear a resemblance to the first three games in the series, focusing on story and character development in an open-world environment.
Microsoft said that it doesn’t comment on rumor or speculation in a statement to Eurogamer.
The success of Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn was the apparent inspiration for the return to Albion.
The new Fable title will be Microsoft’s first experience with the franchise since they cancelled the multiplayer-focused Fable Legends and shuttered the game’s birthplace, Lionhead, almost two years ago.
The news is bittersweet for former Lionhead employees. While they are ecstatic that the series appears to be getting a second chance, many of them expressed sadness at the fact that they never got to work on the Fable 4 they imagined. Before the studio was closed, many staff couldn’t wait to finish the games-as-a-service modeled Fable Legends so they could return to the true nature of the series with a proper sequel.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Fable co-creator Simon Carter expressed similar mixed feelings:
On the one hand it’s great for the U.K. games industry, and very pleasing that Fable isn’t dead; indeed, it will be lovely to play one as a punter, without coming out in hives.
On the other hand it is a little curious to get rid of the team that is uniquely expert in making Fable, and then try and make Fable. Fable is a weird game, and a tough one to deconstruct for a new team. That said, the team in question is very talented, and I’m sure they’ll do a fantastic job.
Fans shouldn’t expect to see anything any time soon, but Playground is reportedly staffing up in preparation for an intense development cycle.