Over seven years ago, Lionhead Studios’ Fable III was released. Some loved it, some hated it, but most agreed it wasn’t as good as the previous two games. Still, it was assumed at the time that work would then begin on Fable IV, which would hopefully get back to focusing on what fans of the series loved so much about earlier games.
Then came some unexpected curve balls. First, it was revealed that the next game would actually be a free-to-play co-op game titled Fable Legends, and that Fable IV wasn’t being worked on at all. Then, just before it was supposed to be released, Legendswas abruptly canceled and Lionhead shut down by Microsoft. And though Xbox head Phil Spencer didn’t rule out the possibility of a new game in the future, fans moved on with little hope.
Now, nearly two years after Legends was killed off (believe it or not), whispers of a possible Fable IV existing have started to make the rounds. Nothing below is confirmation that a new game is happening, but if you dream of the day a new entry in the series will arrive, it certainly is intriguing.
It all began with some sort of Xbox Live API leak, which apparently included a game code-named Wisdom set in Albion being developed by a studio based in the UK. So naturally it was thought that this could actually be Fable IV or whatever the next game in the series might be.
That’s a stretch, without question. But this is where things even more intriguing. Don Williamson, a former lead engine programmer at Lionhead, tweeted out “Mmm ok, having no inside information, I totally know who’s building Fable 4 now. Interesting choice”¦” He has since deleted that tweet for whatever reason.
And who could that developer building Fable IV be? At the moment the popular guess is that it’s Playground Games, who makes the Forza Horizon racing games for Xbox. They announced last year that they were working on their first non-Forza game, a AAA open-world RPG, and have been hiring for this project.
Job listings have described the mystery game as “an entirely new AAA open world action RPG,” initially leading some to believe it must be something original. But a newer job listing for a senior game designer has replaced that pesky “entirely new” part with “exciting, large-scale.”
The thought of a studio known only for racing games making any open-world RPG, let alone Fable IV, might seem strange. But all studios start somewhere, and many evolve and create different things. The best example of this I can think of is none other than the maker of some of the best open-world RPGs ever created: Bethesda Softworks. Before they began the Elder Scrolls series in 1994, they made games like Wayne Gretzky Hockey and NCAA Basketball: Road to the Final Four. Even after they made The Elder Scrolls: Arena, they made PBA Bowling games, racing games like IHRA Drag Racing, and more.
Again, none of this confirms that Fable IV exists. But it would be pretty silly to let such a popular IP sit on a shelf, rotting away. Even with the Fable Legends disaster. It would be damn strange to see one being made by anyone but Lionhead, but perhaps the new eyes of a young studio like Playground is just what the series needs.