I could easily list of a dozen things I’d want as far as gaming goes this Christmas, but none are quite as close to my heart as craving the next game in the Fable series. In as much as games like Super Metroid, Super Mario World, and Sam & Max: Hit the Road shaped my formative gaming years, I wouldn’t be the video game player I am today without Fable. It served as a gateway I never knew I needed, one into the grand world of fantasy, magic, and most importantly, RPGs. It opened my eyes to a new landscape of gaming, one in which choice and engagement made all the difference.
News good and less good surrounding the latest Fable game, which was announced 2020, has surfaced recently, and it’s made me think again about the existing games and what I hope to see in this newest installment. Sure, maybe it’s all a pipe dream, but I am nothing if not a dreamer, so here’s what I hope to see when I get my hands on “Fable 4″….someday.
Albion, the prequel
In the first three Fable games, players sat back as Albion evolved over the course of hundreds of years. Literally. The second game was set 500 years after the first, and the third game was set 50 years after that. Industrialization is all well and good, but the advancement in time didn’t translate all that strongly in the games themselves. It’d be lovely if the next game forgets the factories and cityscapes and brings Albion back to its pastoral and mystical past. One filled with more magic and less bureaucracy.
But don’t let the humor die
The Fable games are known for wry, witty dialogue and very tongue-in-cheek humor. While the one and only “Fable 4” trailer we have highlights this in principle, and hopefully that’s not all we’ll get once the game comes along. It worries me a little that the series’ sense of humor took a dive in some respects in the third game; that wasn’t a great look then and it’s even less appealing now. (It did make up with some fantastic voice acting, but still, some of Fable 3’s dourness was jarring.) With the fourth game, I’m going to remain in the “hilarity will ensue!” camp until I’m proven otherwise.
Keep expressions simple, and maybe more subtle
Okay, was it funny the first time I burped in an innocent peasant’s face in Fable? Yes. Yes, it was. Was it funny the second time? Not really. The Fable series is well-known for its expressions and emotes, which became more numerous as the games when on. They provide the primary means of interacting with Albion and its inhabitants, and they are great. Until they aren’t. Sure, when I first played Fable, they were novel, funny, and kept things interesting. Playing the games now, I try to not use them except when I have to. They are just too black-and-white, good or bad, love or hate, with nothing in between. If the next Fable game explores the gray shades of morality, I’d be thrilled to keep the throngs of NPCs guessing as to my next hero’s next moves.
Fable 2’s consistency
Coming full circle, in a way, as much as I hope we see a return to Albion’s form in the next Fable game, I’m hopeful it’ll also look to the most fun and consistent title in the series, Fable 2. To varying degrees, the first Fable game felt a little like an experiment – it was new, novel, and tested what was and what could by in an RPG. In Fable 2, the world and mechanics were much more realized and cohesive, and the game was a fantastic and uncomplicated experience as a result. As Fable players know (though some may disagree), Fable 3 did not improve much upon the second game and was worse in some respects. If the fourth Fable game follows on the coattails of its immediate predecessor, well…I’m not sure that will do it any favors. There was so much to like in Fable 2, it’d be a shame if at least some of its spirit didn’t make it into whatever new adventures await us.
Lede image © Playground Games, Xbox Game Studios.
Reblogged this on Recollections of Play and commented:
For my final Virtual Bastion Listmas post of the previous month, I pinned down all my “hopes” and “dreams” for the next Fable game…if it ever sees the light of day. (It will — fingers crossed!)
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