Microsoft and Lionhead Studios have announced that the upcoming dungeon crawler, Fable Legends, will be free-to-play on Windows 8 and Xbox One. Anyone can access all story content and a rotating selection of free heroes that can be purchased separately, for use anytime, with real money or earned in-game gold. It is currently scheduled for a 2015 release.
According to a FAQ on the game’s website, four heroes will be available for free at any given moment. After a limited time, those heroes will be replaced by a new set. Any upgrades earned for the heroes remain available once they cycle back in or are purchased for permanent use. Anything that can be purchased with real money can also be unlocked in-game, helping to mitigate any pay-to-win advantage.
The model of free, rotating heroes is very similar to how Riot Games’ League of Legends works. Full, free access to the game allows for a large community, while the changing availability of heroes encourages players to experiment with multiple types of characters. Diehard fans can double down on their favorite characters, keeping the whole system afloat with their investment.
The major twist that Fable Legends introduces to action role-playing games is the intentionally unbalanced competition between heroes and a villain who controls the traps and monsters of each scenario. All of the content associated with each quest will likewise be available to every villain for free. Traps and monsters that aren’t native to a given quest have to be purchased or unlocked in order to be imported.
Content bought or earned on one platform carry over to the other, following the recent announcement of cross-platform play for the game between Windows 10 and Xbox One. Because of its multiplayer focus, console gamers will still need to have a paid subscription to Xbox Live Gold. Windows play will not require a subscription.