What Microsoft should for Fable IV – Reader’s Feature | Gaming

What direction should a new Fable take?

A reader offers his advice on how to create a new action role-player for the Xbox and yet still honour the legacy of Fable.

They may not have blown the doors off but I think most people recognise that Microsoft had a pretty good E3. Not necessarily because of any of the games they showed but because they finally seemed to realise that not having any exclusives was killing them. I’m sure there’s lots of good business reasons why they couldn’t have announced anything earlier but this was the first time I got the impression that Phil Spencer was actually having an effect on the company, rather than just talking the talk.

What I’m going to discuss here though was all talk: a brief hint that the rumours of a new Fable were true. All it was, was a hint about a nameless ‘open world’ game but it seemed pretty obvious to me that he was giving a nod and a wink to rumours that Forza Horizon developer Playground Games are working on a Fable sequel or reboot.

Now, I would not say I was a big fan of Fable. I quite like Fable II but didn’t like the other two and haven’t played any of the spin-offs. But I do think that Microsoft need to get back into the action adventure/action role-plying genre with some kind of exclusive. Ideally more than one of them, but I can understand why they’d start with Fable because it’s at least a name people recognise.

But what should it be like? The problem with Fable II is that a lot of the details were great – the funny dialogue, the atmosphere and graphics, and extra stuff like having a family and having whether you were good or bad reflected in how you looked. But all that was at the expense of the fundamentals. The combat was overly simplistic and boring, the missions were repetitive and boring, and the enemies were… repetitive and boring.

Basically, the game was repetitive and boring, with not enough to do and what there was, was likely to be something you’ve seen before. My first advice for Playground Games, or whoever is actually making the game, is not to get all nostalgic about the old games. They were always flawed, even the best one, and nobody is going to care if you all but ignore them. Just keep some of the names, the British actors, and the general tone – but that’s it.

I doubt we have to worry about the quality of the graphics but the game needs to find a way to differentiate itself, from both other Xbox game and other action role-players. I don’t think a straight-up photorealistic style, like The Witcher 3, is the right idea but I also don’t like the ugly cartoon style of Sea Of Thieves. Some kind of subtle cel-shaded look would be best I think, something that’s not quite like any other game but isn’t meant to be 100% realistic.

But in a similar vein they need a gameplay gimmick. The unique selling point of the game can’t be that it has British comedy actors doing the voices, that’s not enough. In terms of gameplay I’m not really sure what to say, if I knew that I’d be a games designer myself, but one thing I think they should go back to is the idea from the first Fable about seeing the passage of time. The infamous quote about planting a seed and seeing a tree grow – which never actually happened in any of the games.

So how about doubling down on that and having it so you’re not controlling one character but a whole dynasty of characters? Using family heirlooms but also inheriting traits and abilities depending on who your parents were. You could even throw in some time travel shenanigans and mix things up further, but the game needs something. It can’t just be a more family-friendly The Witcher.

Given how little was said, and the fact that Playground have been busy making Forza Horizon 4, I’d assume the new Fable isn’t going to be out till the next gen, but that’s fine. At least that gives them time to perfect it and come up with some new ideas. Microsoft need to make this work and they need to make the first truly classic Fable game.

By reader Einstein

The reader’s feature does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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