Once upon a time, Fable was one of Microsoft’s premiere exclusive franchises. The last time we got a Fable game, however, was in 2012 when Microsoft released Fable: The Journey and Fable Heroes. Neither were proper sequels, though: The Journey was a gimmicky Kinect game and Heroes was an Xbox Live Arcade title with relatively few ties to the original trilogy.
So will we ever actually get to play Fable IV? According to Microsoft’s Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, you probably shouldn’t hold your breath.
In response to a question from a Twitter user regarding the existence of Fable IV, Spencer said, “Nothing to announce right now, but I do think the IP has a lot of places it could go.”
The news is disheartening, but not that shocking. Fable III was hailed by many as the franchise’s most interesting entry, but it still exhibited many of the flaws that kept the Fable franchise from reaching the potential that many – including designer Peter Molyneux – hoped for the series on its birth.
Fable III wasn’t a runaway success, either, and developer Lionhead Studios closed down just a few years after its release. Former Lionhead art director John McCormack once said that he pitched an idea for Fable IV to Microsoft which would have seen the series transition into the Industrial Age, but Microsoft rejected the idea.
That doesn’t mean that Microsoft isn’t interested in the idea of another traditional entry into the Fable franchise; it could just mean that they were not interested in that particular idea. Spencer’s comments regarding the various directions the IP “could go” do seem to suggest that Fable’s future may very well include more titles like Fable Heroes and The Journey.
Such releases would seem to fit the mentality Spencer exhibited in a recent interview with The Guardian in which he suggested that the future for narrative-driven gaming experiences is in a bit of a flux at the moment as developers try to find ways to make them as profitable as multiplayer games.