There was an understandable amount of backlash directed at Microsoft over its decision to cancel the development of its fan-favorite title Fable's most recent installment.
Not only did Microsoft cancel the project but it shuttered the studio behind the franchise, Lionhead, putting an exclamation point at the end of that conversation with fans and gamers.
However, since the close of Lionhead studios, there have been slow moving indications that Microsoft may not be completely through with the Fable franchise. A little less than a year ago, head of Xbox tweeted that while there was no new development news, he believed there was still room for the IP to grow.
Now, there are rumors that the folks behind Forza could be taking a stab at making the next Fable game. According to a post on VG24/7 there is speculation based on a leak from a former Xbox game developer that an open world project the Forza team has been working on could be the basis for Fable 4.
Some Guy On The Internet is not a reliable source, even with a good track record as in this case, and we wouldn’t normally pick up any of these rumours – but WCCFTech did a bit of digging and put together a list of studios who are known to be working on Microsoft-published titles. It also managed to get former Lionhead dev Don Williamson to say that there are no teams in Brighton with the resources for such a task – following up from a comment in which the dev said he’d worked out who’s making Fable 4, showing that the leak is being taken seriously in industry circles.
To cut a long story short, it sure looks like Playground Games might be making Fable 4. As WCCFTech points out, when Playground first started hiring it said it was making an “all-new” RPG, which could be interpreted as meaning “new IP” – but that wording isn’t concrete, and doesn’t rule out scenarios like Microsoft offering the IP after Playground showed what it could do, for example. Also, there’s no mention of “all-new” in subsequent job ads.
Again, this is all rumors and speculation and even if the game does come to past, it'll be a wide departure for a racing studio to produce a worthwhile open world RPG worthy of the Fable name. Never the less, the idea does seem promising and could be a step in the right direction for Xbox and dwindling first-party offerings.