Friday, 23 August 2013

Lionhead Confirms It Has No Plans For Fable IV, Only Fable Legends

Unfortunately it seems that fans of Lionhead Studios' action RPG franchise will be waiting a long time to see anything truly new. In a recent Q&A session, the developer confirmed that they had no real plans to make a sequel to Fable III or continue the main franchise as it was. While they did not comment directly upon reasons why, given that title’s reception and criticism from gaming journalism, it’s hard not to see why. 

In place of Fable IV, Lionhead is focusing its efforts on the upcoming title of Fable Legends which is to take the franchise in a very different direction. As an MMO, the recently announced Legends marks the series taking a very different direction from before and almost certainly some considerable gameplay shifts to account for far more players on each map. While both Fable II and III did feature co-operative play, even there it wasn’t the best implemented system and often had considerable limitations for players joining the game. A lack of solid interaction both between the players and the joining player and shops, NPCs and other individuals being high on this list. 

These problems and many others are likely why Lionhead has opted to take such a dramatic shift with the games. As both a costly effort and usually a very risky one, creating an MMO for the series seems more like an effort to distance the name from Fable III’s failings than anything else. As well as answering a number of long term criticisms of the franchise such as more meaningful differences between how good and evil aligned figures operate in terms of combat and questing. Villains now supposedly acting more like Sauron, with armies of minions to command.

Oddly in spite of this, Lionhead stated directly after announcing “we have no plans to make a sequel to Fable III” that Fable Legends would contain “many of the great features of Fable I, II, and III have been carried forward in our game’s design.” With any luck this means the game won’t be straying too far from its roots, or abandoning what worked in an effort to distance itself from the most criticised aspects. As it was only unveiled yesterday little else has actually been detailed to any significant degree about the game. For now all we can confirm is that Lionhead is opting to take a decidedly risky route with its games.

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