It’s been more than eleven years since Fable 3 released back on the Xbox 360. A huge Fable fan, I was so upset that Lionhead Studios was shutdown, leaving the future of Fable uncertain. Fast forward to July 2020, we got a teaser from Microsoft of a new Fable being developed but more importantly, it is being developed by Playground Games!
I was super happy about this, as Phil Spencer put it “Fable fans should just take confidence in Playground Games because of the pedigree of the team”.
That is exactly how I feel, and why I have come up with a few suggestions on what they can bring from the Forza Horizon series to their Fable game.
If you have played any of the Forza Horizon games, you know they like to start off with a bang. Giving the gamer a little teaser of what they can expect in this new open world they will be racing in. From parachuting off aeroplanes, to jumping off mountains, to racing motorbikes in swamps. It’s almost like an action movie, and you’re taken from one set piece to another through different vehicles.
In that first 10 to 15 minutes or so, this gives you an idea of what to expect and essentially tells you to fasten your seatbelts as you’re in for a ride (no pun intended).
With this new Fable game, not only will it be looking to bring in old fans like myself but an entirely new generation of fans too. So, I think it would be cool from either a story perspective or a world building perspective Playground Games use the same approach as Forza Horizon and give us that teaser in the first 10 minutes of starting the game, in terms of what we can expect and what to look forward to.
After all first impressions are very important right?
Side Quests with Chapters
In Forza Horizon games you don’t have a traditional story with primary objectives.
What you do have though are a series of events/missions that have their own stories with their own numbered chapters. For example, you have the Stuntman missions. Where you’re helping a film director shoot dangerous driving scenes with insane stunts with different vehicles in several locations across the map. Each time you do a mission you’re given a back story and you’re shown what the outcome is.
I think this will be a great way of implementing side quests into the next Fable. There have always been side quests in Fable, but the majority were their own separate story and were done after one quest. A few characters and their story did continue from Fable 2 to Fable 3, but not nearly enough.
It will be nice to see chaptered side quests that you can play though as you’re progressing through the main story. As it will give you the flexibility to choose when you want to continue with that side quest but also give you a more substantial story driven experience. Who knows, some can even tie into the main story. Imagine a certain plot point being decided by, if you have done a certain side quest with a character and the outcome is decided by what happened in that side quest.
Quality over Quantity
The Forza Horizon games have been a massive success due to players being free to drive around a huge map with plenty of racing to do through a number of different race types and challenges. The map itself isn’t littered with hundreds of different pointers and missions. It’s always taken a measured approach to giving the player things to do on their map.
As you complete more races, more will eventually appear after a certain number is complete. Completing one event doesn’t mean another will appear straight away, the game will push the player to do other existing events before opening new ones.
Some open world games can overwhelm a player with maps littered with optional activities. Before you have even done one side quest you have already accepted a few and there are plenty still showing on the map. That for me is too much and can be off putting at times. I would like to see Playground games use the same approach with their map design for Forza Horizon with their Fable.
Less is more, and quality over quantity any day of the week for me!
Give it that same love, care, and attention
Admittedly as a Fable fan, I must admit the series isn’t as critically acclaimed as other RPGS like Elder Scrolls and the original Mass Effect Trilogy. The Fable games always had huge ambitions with many promises made. But they didn’t always hit the mark.
None more so than Fable 3, and at the time it was being pitched as the biggest Fable yet, promising players a huge amount of variety and consequences based upon the decisions they made during their playthrough. Ultimately, the game did sort of fall flat when meeting those expectations. It was still a good game but could have been better. Maybe Lionhead studios had to meet tight deadlines and couldn’t give the game that extra time it needed, or maybe they wanted to do too much and it was never going to be possible.
The Forza Horizon series has developed a reputation of being a bankable top quality open world racing game; it has set the standard in that genre. I hope Playground Games use the same approach to developing Fable as they have with Horizon. Even if that means the game must spend a little longer in development, I’m all for it. We have waited eleven years already.
In Forza Horizon 4 and now in Forza Horizon 5, there is this cool gameplay feature where the seasons would change as you play through the game. For a while it would be Winter, then change to Spring, Summer and Autumn. It is a neat way to change the dynamic of the game, as you could drive through the same laps, but the experience would be vastly different. Instead of dry roads, you had frozen roads and suddenly, your shiny sports car was no good and you needed to drive something that was more suitable for that terrain.
In open world games you always have different locations that require you to play in a certain way. But how cool would it be if the change in weather was dependent on the season. Imagine your character wanting to get a certain item but it is not available at that time of the year, certain mini games only being available during winter, or even how you take on active quests can differ with the time of year it is.
The technology is there, and I think with Playground Games having that experience they can make something truly special with that feature.
So there we go – some of the things I would like Playground Games to integrate into the new-found Fable. Do you agree or disagree with any of them? Do you have any other ideas in mind? Comment below, and let’s talk about it!