In 2016, Microsoft decided to shutter role-playing developer Lionhead, best known for creating the Fable franchise, and canceled its free-to-play multiplayer title Fable Legends. The decision seemed to signify Microsoft’s move away from single-player, story-focused games, but a new report suggests the company has decided to change direction once again with a full-fledged fourth Fable game.
According to a report from Eurogamer, the new Fable title is in development at Playground Games, the studio best known for its work on the Forza Horizon series — among the most-acclaimed games on Xbox One.
Last February, we reported on Playground Games opening a second branch of its studio to work on an open-world game unrelated to the Forza Horizon series. It appears this game is the next Fable, but it doesn’t sound like Playground actually began work on the project when it opened the studio and may have even shifted course entirely. Microsoft’s decision to revive Fable was reportedly influenced by the success Sony has seen with Horizon Zero Dawn, which managed to become a smash-hit without brand recognition or multiplayer of any kind.
Former Lionhead developers who spoke to Eurogamer have mixed feelings on the project, with co-creator Simon Carter saying Fable is “a weird game, and a tough one to deconstruct for a new team.” He did, however, concede that Playground is a talented studio capable of handling such a project.
Before Fable Legends was canceled, the game has already gone through a closed beta period, allowing players to try out its asymmetric multiplayer. Anyone who had purchased in-game currency during that period was offered a refund. Early last year, Microsoft also canceled PlatinumGames’ promising action-role-playing game Scalebound, directed by Bayonetta creator Hideki Kamiya. Though the title had looked rough in early demonstrations, it showed signs of improvement, and we’re crossing our fingers that it’s eventually revived, as well.
On January 16, another long-running game series was brought back from the dead. Scribblenauts Showdown is a party game designed to be played by up to four players, and it features a traditional puzzle-based Sandbox mode. The game launches for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on March 9.
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