Home Gaming Fable 4 would have been a “darker and grittier” game

Fable 4 would have been a “darker and grittier” game

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Fable-4

Fable was always a divisive game. A franchise built on the loftiest of promises that just never managed to deliver on them, there was still something interesting about the world of Fable. A uniquely British role-playing game that still managed to have plenty of charm if you could get past the clunky combat and absence of features that were lavishly described and promised during the development cycle.

Fable games were also quirky, light-hearted experiences. But when Lionhead was considering a fourth Fable game, they wanted to take the series down a much darker route full of grim choices and macabre ideas. But that pitch was quickly dismissed. “We wanted to hit the late Victorian proper far out Jules Verne sh**,” Lionhead’s John McCormack said in a thoroughly lengthy feature on Eurogamer that is well worth a read if you were into Lionhead games.

According to McCormack, Fable 4 would have been powered by the Unreal 4 engine and introduced the “technological, industrial age, with tram cars and flying machines,” to the series. Fable 4 would have made use of British mythology of that grim Victorian age, such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, prostitutes and Jack the Ripper. “And that was going to be Fable 4, and it would be darker and grittier,” McCormack said.

And because it was R-rated it would have the prostitutes and the humour. I was like, ‘Man, this is going to be f**king brilliant, and everybody was really into it.

But that never happened. While Microsoft considered Fable to be profitable, it wasn’t profitable enough as the company tasked Lionhead with making Fable Legends instead. And that was the last straw for McCormak, as the rejected pitch was one of the reasons why he left Lionhead in 2012. “It was like, ‘You’ve reached your cap of players for RPG on Xbox and you need to find a way to double that, and you’re not going to do it with RPG,” McCormack said.

I thought, ‘Yes we can.’ I said, ‘Look, just give us four years, proper finance, give us the chance Mass Effect has, Skyrim has, the games at the time. They’re getting four years and a lot of budget. Give us that, and we’ll give you something that’ll get you your players.

What a pity. Fable 4 sounds like the one game in the franchise I’d have actually been properly excited for. Give the rest of the Lionhead retrospective a read if you have the time. It’s a fascinating look behind the scenes of one of the biggest game development studios to exist across multiple generations.

 

Last Updated: May 13, 2016

44 Comments

  1. F4ble!

    Reply

    • Kromas untamed

      May 13, 2016 at 07:45

      M4h! 🙂

      Reply

    • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

      May 13, 2016 at 08:23

      It got Microsh4fted

      Reply

    • Greylingad[He Charges!]

      May 13, 2016 at 08:23

      Fa Four Be Le?

      Reply

      • Pariah

        May 13, 2016 at 08:25

        Is that some new French dessert involving custard, sugar, and 4 kinds of cheese?

        Reply

        • Greylingad[He Charges!]

          May 13, 2016 at 08:26

          Nope, it’s Microsoft’s attempt to speak French…

          Reply

          • Pariah

            May 13, 2016 at 08:27

            But Custard, Sugar and Four Cheeses…. 🙁

          • Greylingad[He Charges!]

            May 13, 2016 at 08:28

            Or frog legs?

          • Pariah

            May 13, 2016 at 08:28

            NO. Let’s stay on the pastry & dessert side of French cuisine, shall we?

          • Greylingad[He Charges!]

            May 13, 2016 at 08:34

            The frog leapt into the pastry side, in this moment of self reflection he realised the err in his ways, as he saw the cleaver swooshing through the air heading towards him, his life’s most wondrous events started flashing through his mind, he remembered being a tadpole, young, full of life, kicking his tail around like he was the ruler of the world, that time he narrowly escaped the beak of a fish eagle, swerving through the water like a madman… And then, the romantic star lit sky as he gave life to millions of other eggs, embracing the love of his 3 hour encounter with that other toad. It was such a lovely SPLAT…

          • Admiral Chief in New York

            May 13, 2016 at 08:34

            I take it you’ve had 3 cups of strong coffee already?

          • Greylingad[He Charges!]

            May 13, 2016 at 08:35

            Nope, I have had none, which is shameful, and a disgrace to my coffee loving nature, it shall be corrected shortly…

          • Admiral Chief in New York

            May 13, 2016 at 08:40

            Milk, two sugar, strong.

            Make it so rambo!

          • Pariah

            May 13, 2016 at 08:44

            No milk, 4 sugar, double strength.

          • miaau

            May 13, 2016 at 08:57

            well, I am sugar intolerant, so my TEA is always with some sort of sweetener and milk.

            I drink TEA about every 30 to 60 minutes. TEA is good for you.

          • Pariah

            May 13, 2016 at 09:06

            Tea has more caffeine per cup than Coffee does. SOME teas are good for you, normal tea is not.

          • miaau

            May 13, 2016 at 09:45

            “To be completely honest, however, you’re better off leaving the heavy cream and three packs of sugar out of your drinks — and stop worrying about whether coffee trumps tea or vice versa. Both drinks have vague cons and benefits, but are, for the most part, pretty decent for you. Too much sugar, on the other hand, is quite the villain — so enjoy your caffeine and remember to take your coffee breaks or meditative tea breaks every so often; humans have been doing it for thousands of years.”

            http://www.medicaldaily.com/health-benefits-coffee-vs-tea-which-one-better-you-309556

            And Ceylon tea has a lot less caffeine then coffee

          • Pariah

            May 13, 2016 at 09:49

            I have one cup of coffee a day. One. No milk because Dairy is exceptionally bad for you. As bad as sugar, if not worse. One can’t preach the health benefits of tea if one still includes any kind of dairy, sweetener or sugar in their drink, and consumes more than 2 cups in a day.

            Just saying.

          • miaau

            May 13, 2016 at 09:51

            Health benefits? I give not a crap for health benefits. No, wait. Lie. Tea makes me feel good to drink, so I drink it. Is that a health benefit?

            Wow, you do pay attention to your health. I do as well, with food cooking and stuff like that, just obviously not as dedicated as you.

          • Pariah

            May 13, 2016 at 09:56

            LOL. Dammit. I get triggered too easily.

            Yes I do pay attention to what I consume.

            I love tea too. But my choice is usually Earl Grey because NOMNOMNOM.

          • miaau

            May 13, 2016 at 09:59

            I love Earl Grey, but that is not a morning tea. Bergamot oil and early mornings are not cool… for me at least.

            Yes, I have noticed “Dammit. I get triggered too easily.” No stress at all.

          • Pariah

            May 13, 2016 at 10:01

            Morning Coffee. That’s it for me. Weekends is water. Maybe tea or coffee in the afternoon/evening.

          • Greylingad[He Charges!]

            May 13, 2016 at 08:51

            Yes!! Exactly so!! A cappuccino with frothed milk consisting of 175ml of milk and 75 ml of a double espresso, additional to that, a single 50ml espresso, and voila, I’m climbing up the walls already…

          • miaau

            May 13, 2016 at 08:57

            Try drinking TEA.

            You may climb the walls, it tastes good. BUT TEA is a diuretic, so be warned. Especially if you drink as much as I do.

          • miaau

            May 13, 2016 at 08:58

            Ceylon TEA or a strong English Breakfast blend of TEA?

          • Admiral Chief in New York

            May 13, 2016 at 09:34

            I’m feeling interesting today, EB, make it so miaau!

          • miaau

            May 13, 2016 at 09:43

            Indeed. As Picard would say, Tea, Earl Grey, Hot

          • Pariah

            May 13, 2016 at 08:44

            … No.

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        May 13, 2016 at 08:26

        Faux-ble, because it was only a shadow of what molymoly said it would be. 😀

        Reply

        • Pariah

          May 13, 2016 at 08:27

          That’s genius. Why are YOU the genius?

          Reply

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            May 13, 2016 at 08:28

            Because life is unfair!

            Wait, what’s that supposed to mean? O_o

          • Pariah

            May 13, 2016 at 08:28

            lmao!

        • Greylingad[He Charges!]

          May 13, 2016 at 08:28

          HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Brilliant!!!

          Reply

  2. Kromas untamed

    May 13, 2016 at 07:45

    Darker != Better.

    Fable was always about kicking chickens and having loads of wives. I am sure it had a story as well but Moly games usually suffer greatly in that department.

    Edit: Also never ever ever think that Fable is,was or ever will be in the same league as Mass Effect or Skyrim.

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      May 13, 2016 at 07:53

      Exactly. It’s Fable, not a Grimms’ Fairy Tale.

      Reply

      • Pariah

        May 13, 2016 at 08:05

        But it could’ve been a crossover, and a darker Fable could’ve been brilliant.

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          May 13, 2016 at 08:12

          But for me a dark, gritty R-rated game is the antithesis of what Fable is – a light, childlike game. If they wanted to make something like that, cool, but call it something different. It’s like making the next COD look like Splatoon.

          Reply

          • Pariah

            May 13, 2016 at 08:15

            No I think the look would’ve been similar, the feel would’ve been similar, Fable was already a 16 rated game. Making it R18 wouldn’t have been too much of a jump. It was never a kids game. It would’ve just been 100% adult instead of 80% adult.

  3. Pariah

    May 13, 2016 at 08:04

    That’s a Fable I’d have liked to see. Legends didn’t interest me.

    Thanks Microsoft, you carry on fucking up.

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

      May 13, 2016 at 08:22

      It’s became so dark they turned off the lights

      Reply

      • Pariah

        May 13, 2016 at 08:22

        XD

        Reply

      • miaau

        May 13, 2016 at 08:53

        you know how Microsoft change light bulbs? They do not, they change the standard to darkness.

        Running joke I heard far too many times in the late 90’s.

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn_hates_Raid0

          May 13, 2016 at 09:20

          LOL!

          Reply

  4. HairyEwok

    May 13, 2016 at 08:30

    Fable was always all about the choices you made, good and bad…. Eat the crunchy chick, don’t eat the crunchy chick…. Kick the chicken, don’t kick the chicken… Murder an entire village so you can buy their properties, don’t kill the village and stay broke… Yes, Lost Chapters was my favorite Fable game.

    Reply

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