Back in June, just ahead of E3, we reported the alleged leak of Fable 4, which we were told by trusted sources that Microsoft would be revealing the long-awaited installment in the beloved franchise. Turns out, Fable 4 was a bust and no announcement was made at all. Not a teaser, not a hint, not even an acknowledgment that there were plans to talk about the game. So, what happened?
Honestly, at this point, we know the game exists. We know that it is being developed by a studio underneath Microsoft’s watchful eye, and rumors are suggesting that it is likely to be Playground Games, the dev team behind the Forza Horizon franchise.
Back in 2018, Microsoft announced that they had purchased Playground Games and sort of merged them into Xbox Game Studios. Then Forza Horizon 4 was released shortly after and then it was announced that Playground Games was working on an ‘unknown project’, which many believe to be Fable 4. So, how do we know, or why do we think we know that Playground Games is working on it?
For starters, we know that Playground is looking to hire someone to join their ‘open-world /action RPG development team‘, and that is just to start. To add, we were also told by Head executive of Microsoft’s Xbox division, Phil Spencer suggested that Fable 4 is among their projects, but would not outright say so, simply because they want to make sure they have all their ducks in a row, and they want to only announce games when they have a ballpark of when the game will be available. Fable 4 would be a big title, and it is surely in development, but if Microsoft isn’t sure when it would be available (like, if they don’t even know what year), then they aren’t even going to tease it. Spencer did use Fable by name when talking about this, but wouldn’t outright say that his remarks were about Fable 4 in particular, which pretty much sounds like he is talking about Fable 4 without the liability of being held accountable for his words on the topic. This is what he said in an attempt to elaborate:
I will harken back to … I can go through my battle scars. Marvel MMO. Anybody remember us announcing a Marvel MMO? We didn’t even have a team that was signed that would do the Marvel MMO. Running a studio organization and making sure we’re talking about games at the right time, when we know what we’re trying to build—I’m not making any comment specifically about Fable; it’s about anything in the portfolio—that we know what we’re trying to build, that we have a good sightline on the quality that we’re shooting for and some idea of when it would come out.
I know I get called out about being too conservative and holding too much back. But the thing I love about our show [at E3] was 60 games and the first party games—I could tell you when those all were shipping, and I can play those games, most of them here, and can put my hands on them and make promises.
So, basically what he is saying is that it could be in development, but won’t confirm and that unless they have a timetable in mind for release, they aren’t going to confirm it.
However, all the details surrounding the alleged leak of Fable 4 certainly suggest that there is an 85% chance that these leaks were legit, and that there is a 95% chance that the game is in development, and an 89% chance that Playground Games is working on it (I am making these numbers up as I go).
According to other sources, the idea here is that Microsoft does not want to over-promise and under-deliver on titles when they don’t even have the entire foundation worked out, which makes sense. Counting your chickens before they hatch has certainly bit other studios in the ass, and hard (Bungie, Bioware, Bethesda, Hello Games, etc).
It makes sense for Microsoft to play it safe. As of now, they have no real stake in Fable, in that whether they make it or not isn’t going to kill their studio or hurt their bottom line too bad. But as a fan, we want this game, and we want it sooner than later. However, we can all agree that we will take just a tiny confirmation that it is in-the-works if that is all we can get for now. We are confident that we know for sure that it is happening. We just don’t know when we will get the official word from above.