Microsoft Announces Fable III, Takes Fable II Episodic

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Microsoft is going to let Xbox 360 users take a shot at gaining (and ruling) a kingdom in Fable III, the next installment of the company’s well-regarded fantasy RPG series. Announced at gamescom in Germany, Fable III will be set 50 years after the events in Fable II, as characters take on the role of the child of their hero in Fable II as they sit on the throne of the kingdom of Albion. Instead of following the traditional RPG path of starting as a powerless nothing and working one’s way up to top-dog status, Fable III will put players in charge…and then let them make the morally ambiguous, incompletely-informed, and crucial decisions that fall on the shoulders of all rulers. Will players stay true to their principles and live up to the values that brought them to the throne? Or will they become corrupt tyrants?

"We’ve spent a lot of time at Lionhead thinking about how we can innovate the gameplay and progress the world of the Fable games for its third chapter, and we’re confident that players won’t second-guess what we have planned for Fable III," said Lionhead’s creative director Peter Molyneux in a statement. "Though I can’t give too much away right now, players should expect to have to make much tougher choices with far wider consequences than ever before in Albion—and with many more interactive adventure elements."

Microsoft plans to ship Fable III for the Xbox 360 in time for the 2010 holiday season—that would be a year after the upcoming holiday season, so there’s no reason for people to start holding their breaths now. However, folks looking to get a Fable fix may be excited to know Microsoft is launching Fable II: Game Episodes on September 29 via Xbox Live, which breaks up the entire Fable II experience into five installments; at the end of the episode, players will be able to choose to purchase the next episode or the entire game. The episodic version will also be compatible with retail disc-based versions of Fable II as well as Fable II add-ons; all versions also support multiplayer modes on the same console or via Xbox Live.

Microsoft did not release any pricing information for either Fable III or Fable II: Game Episodes.

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