Molyneux "totally up for" working on Fable IV despite Lionhead closure | PCGamesN

Molyneux "totally up for" working on Fable IV despite Lionhead closure

Fable Legends beta release date

Not only does the closure of UK studio Lionhead by Microsoft mean the loss of scores of jobs, but it also means that the fate of Fable is very much up in the air. One chink of light, however, has come in the form of Peter Molyneux, who has claimed he’s not against the idea of working on a new release in the series.

Are you a Fable fan? Have a look at the best RPGs on PC.

Speaking to Eurogamer as part of the site’s inside story on the last days of Lionhead, Molyneux - who left the developer in 2012 to found new outfit 22Cans - said the idea of working with Microsoft and series creators Dene and Simon Carter on Fable IV has been on his mind of late.

"When I finish what I'm working on now, if someone comes to me and asks, hey, do you want to do Fable IV, I'd totally be up for it," Molyneux revealed. "I would get Dene back. I would get Simon back. And I would remake this world. It's such a rich world and there are so many avenues we didn't explore. That would be really good fun to do. And I'd still want the equivalent of another dog."

Lionhead was officially shuttered on April 29, with Eurogamer also reporting that an initial drive to keep the now cancelled Fable Legends going - dubbed Project Phoenix - sadly fell short of fruition.

"Microsoft were supportive of it as an idea, but we ran out of time," an unnamed source told the site. "During that period, Evolution got closed by Sony, and then within two weeks Codemasters picked them up. We were like, what the f*ck? How did that happen so quickly? And it turned out the management team at Evolution had been given a heads-up months before as to Sony's intentions. Maybe if Microsoft had done similar it would have been a different story. Shit happens, unfortunately."

Other reports have also suggested that multiple buyers were lining up to buy Lionhead outright, but they all came to nothing because of Microsoft’s desire to hold on to the Fable IP - a sticking point that, ironically, may mean there is hope for the series longterm. 

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AnAuldWolf avatar
AnAuldWolf Avatar
1 Year ago

There's a lot of things about Fable I really liked. The emphasis on strength of character and the abstraction layers present being two of them.

There seems to be something a little soulless about relying on a HUD for everything. Sure, you can do it, but in a fantasy game especially it can serve to take one out of the experience. So the dog? The dog was absolutely brilliant as it helped the player uncover secrets without the necessity of a giant, floating arrow, circle on the ground, or whatever else is commonly used.

I'm also a heretic in that I liked the room-based menus. There, I said it. In fact, I loved them. I'm sorry that I did, as it seems to offend a lot of people, I felt they added a unique flavour to the game. It allowed me to be my character whilst doing more rather than being pulled out into a cold, text heavy menu. It's the kind of thinking that -- in my opinion -- is quite essential to the future of VR.

Those abstraction layers were joys to behold, really. Very few games have ever had anything like that.

Another thing Fable did well? It had a great sense of reward and it gave you fun toys to play with as a result. There are things, which if they have enough of an identity of their own, I will become very attached to. Skies of Arcadia had the Delphinus, Rogue Trooper had its sentient clothing, and Fable III had lots of little knickknacks like that that really involved me in the game. I recall when I got the steampunk armour... I couldn't help myself, I used the customisation to paint it up red and gold so that I could be that fantasy world's Iron Man. I actually restricted myself to using magic for combat and it was amazing. The friends I was playing it with at the time were far, far too amused that I absolutely refused to use a melee weapon from that point on. And I think I only ever did, just once, very begrudgingly.

There's something about that. It's a certain place between telling the player a story, and allowing them the agency of having their own character, identity, and place within it. Choice & Consequence, as in a good Obsidian game, can be a huge part of that. It's something more ephemeral than that, though, something I find a little hard to explain.

Immersion isn't the right word for it, either. Hm. I'm not sure how I convey this, but it's a sense of place. It's not even of importance or it being a power fantasy, since I'd be just as happy being a lowly detective in a fantastic world. It's not that. It's more that it wants to acknowledge me within its story, it doesn't want to just assume that I'm another faceless yob.

Very few games actually go out of their way to embrace their player. As a person, as an identity, as a sapient being with the ability to choose, as a mind with tastes and aesthetics, and so on. I think the closest thing that's come to it so far is Xenoblade Chronicles X, in a weird way. Which allowed me to not only customise a silver fox, but also provided a voice package that was just overflowing with dad humour.

What kind of young person would ever defiantly yell "Carpe Diem, chum!" in the middle of a battle?

And then the jumping mechs. Oh god the jumping mechs. I couldn't help but feel that my youngers in the party were always annoyed at me that I couldn't be more serious. We were supposed to be saving the world and I was jumping up the side of a wall, somewhere.

There's a certain magic, there, that makes some rare games memorable. I feel that Fable III had that magic. It's not important that every game have it, to be honest. And if they all did, then the magic of it might be lost. It's just nice to -- every once in a while -- come across something like that. That has that agency, that embraces me rather then forcing me.

It's nice.

It's a shame people couldn't appreciate it more for that. For that reason, it's honestly one of the best co-op experiences I've ever had. It will remain in my memory as the only game where I could grab me beau's hand and lead 'em around like a crazy person. "Here! No here!"

And whenever I remember that, I can only smile fondly. So I'd be all over a Fable IV.