Yes, the rumours are true. Not even two years after Lionhead Studios closed, Microsoft have tasked the Playground group, the creators of the Forza Horizon games, with their next big task: to make a new Fable title.
Don’t start kicking any chickens just yet, because Playground are still in the very early stages of production. So early that they cannot really comment on release dates or game details. Microsoft won’t comment at all, saying that they don’t do such a thing when it comes to rumour and speculation.
Microsoft is reportedly investing a lot in this title, however. Over 200 staff will apparently be working on the game in Playground’s newly-established office in the UK.
This is a big step forward for the series. Two years ago the last game set for release, Fable Legends, was canned and developer Lionhead shuttered. Fable Legends, unlike previous games, was supposed to roll out as a free-to-play open-world game, with a focus on online multiplayer. After Lionhead Studios shut down the Fable franchise was thought to be gone for good.
Obviously some have their doubts as to whether Playground will be able to continue the traditions of the legendary franchise. Fable co-creator Simon Carter said to Eurogamer, “On the one hand it’s great for the UK 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.”
We can only hope that Albionians will be happy with what Playground can deliver, but the UK developer have had extreme success with their racing games. Forza Horizon 3 was one of the the Xbox One’s top games in 2016. Expertise in racing games is something altogether different from open-world, karmic-alignment-based fantasy (with more than a few weird twists), however. They’ll have a chance to start fresh at least — according to the reports Playground has decided to start from scratch with this project rather than picking up the remnants left by Lionhead’s departure.