Oh Microsoft, you little minx, teasing us like this. Their big Xbox Games Showcase is scheduled to take play on June 11th and they’ll be looking to deliver something strong after the slightly lacklustre Playstation Showcase just a short while ago. To that end, a recent Tweet from Microsoft seems to be hinting at Fable appearing at the show.
The brief video shows an Xbox controller covered in glitter, with a trail leading off to a computer monitor displaying the Xbox Games Showcase. The key here is the glitter which looks an awful lot like the glitter trails used in the Fable series to show players where to go next.
But that’s not all. In the background there’s some twinkly music that matches what you hear in Bowerstone in the original Fable.
Also, I have to point out that this whole teaser was done in someone’s house. Someone at Microsoft willingly poured a lot of glitter over their carpet and up their stairs for this, and I think we should all thank them for the sacrifice they have made. Cleaning that up is going to be an absolute bastard. That stuff multiplies like horny bunny rabbits.
The Fable series was once a very big deal for Microsoft, developed by the talented folk over at Lionhead who were led by the divisive Peter Molyneux, a man known for enthusiastically overpromising things. These games have a special place in my heart as absurdly charming RPGs filled with cool ideas, even if the third one didn’t quite get it right.
The franchise has been dormant for a while now, though. Fable Fortune was the last game bearing the name, a free-to-play collectible card game which launched in 2017 and which officially shut down in 2020. In 2018 rumours began surface that developer Playground Games, best known for the excellent Forza Horizon games, had been handed the Fable license and were working on a new game. In 2020 the rumours were confirmed to be true as Playground and Microsoft announced a new game, simply titled Fable, was in development. And in November 2022 we got reports that Eidos Montreal were helping develop the game.
Since then, though, things have been quiet on the Fable front. At Pax West 2022, Head of Microsoft Studios Matt Booty did mention the game, even going so far as to say the he really wanted to show it off but couldn’t.
“Part of my job is giving air cover to the team,” he said. “They don’t want to show stuff early before it’s ready to go, but if there’s one game where that’s kind of flipped around, where every time I see something I say, ‘We should show this’, it’s Fable. Because there’s a lot of cool stuff.”
“the team has made it very clear that I am not going to be able to show anything until it’s ready,” Booty said.
I’m psyched to see Fable return, although I do worry that without Lionhead it won’t be able to capture the same British cockney charm. It’s also going to be fascinating to see Playground Games step away from the Forza series for the first time. They’ve never worked on anything else, putting out five excellent Forza Horizon games since 2012. Putting Fable in their hands is a ballsy move, but one that will hopefully pay off.