Fable 4 — everything we know so far

Fable 4 logo in a screenshot
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Sadly, there's not been a lot of fresh information around Fable 4 lately. While we've had an official trailer, Microsoft and Playground Games have barely mentioned anything about the upcoming fantasy game. 

There have been claimed leaks, but the last big information dump was in 2019 before Fable 4 was official. And while we breakdown some of that information later, it's arguably well out of date now.  

In the meantime, we’ve also gone and done a bit of digging around to bring you what we know about Fable 4 so far, albeit with a heavy dose of speculation. So come with us on a journey to find out more about Fable 4. 

Fable 4 news and rumors

We're afraid to say things have been very quiet on the Fable 4 information front recently. We've head nothing in the way of solid titbits or leaks, or even some hints of when we could hear about Fable 4 next. 

At best, we could hear something about Fable 4 next year, likely around the summer time when Microsoft holds some form of games showcase. But we really don't think much will be mentioned around Fable 4 before 2023. 

Fable 4 trailer

The only Fable 4 trailer doesn't given much away, though it could be in-engine footage, courtesy of the Xbox Series X's power. But we'd definitely expect an open-world game with an atmosphere that's steeped in British dark fairy tale tone. 

Check out the debut trailer for Fable 4 below:

Fable 4 release date speculation

Before you rush to the comments to complain: no, we don’t know when Fable 4 is going to be released. All we know it's in development. Regardless, take this as a placeholder for future updates. 

Screenshot of Fable 4 trailer

Fable 4 is going back to its swords and sorcery roots (Image credit: Microsoft)

Fable 4 is being worked on but that's about all we know. With no mention of the game at the last Xbox showcase, we can pretty much guarantee Fable 4 isn't coming for at least another 12 months. 

We'd not be surprised if late 2023 or 2024 ends up being the  rough release windows for Fable 4. It will apparently arrive before The Elder Scrolls 6, but that game is almost certainly years away, so don't hold your breath for Fable 4 any time soon.  

Fable 4 leaks and speculation

Aside from some minor tidbits of information, we've not had a big inofation drop about Fable 4 since 2019. 

Some three years ago, a massive Fable 4 leak on Reddit (opens in new tab) popped up around E3 2019, though the game was never showcased. The leak detailed how Albion, the land of Fable, has been completely destroyed by an asteroid called down by a mad king who took control of The Spire, which Fable 2 fans will remember was something you needed to wrest control of from tyrant Lucien Fairfax. 

The latest nugget information, not that Fable 4 is official, comes in the form of a developer insider noting that the game will be an open-world RPG, not a massively multiplayer online game. There had been some worry that as the game's trailer teased a large world, that it would be something in the vein of World of Warcraft. 

But while there will be online elements, such as co-operative functionality or limited shared open spaces, the source behind the information told Windows Central (opens in new tab) that the game most definitely won't be an MMO.  As such, we can expect it to be a game with a large world to explore yet with a strong single-player element to it; welcome news for dedicated fans of Fable. 

In an interview with The Guardian, Microsoft head of studios Matt Booty noted that such MMO rumors stem from the idea that Fable 4 needs to do something new to the series to keep it fresh but not go too far off the beaten path. An MMO would be one such way to do this, but Fable 4 won’t go down that road. 

“With any kind of franchise like that, where you’ve had existing versions, there’s always that balance between what you’re going to bring forward, what still stands up, and what you want to add that’s new,” Booty explained. “It’s like the challenge of making a new Star Wars movie—there’s stuff that everyone wants you to bring along, but then you’ve got a responsibility to that, to new places and I trust Playground has a good vision for that.”

Fable 4 setting and gameplay  

The asteroid impact results in “a land reduced to fables” and the leaked information indicated that Fable 4 will take place on another continent. Oh, and there will be other planets too, as the Heroes’ Guild and enigmatic character Theresa have to take shelter on a different planet that can be accessed via a Demon Door — think portal to another world or area. 

As odd as that sounds, the leak implies that Fable 4 will have a similar medieval setting to the first game, with Fable 2’s muskets and pistols replaced by more swords and sorcery. Multiplayer is also expected, likely in the form of co-op exploration, though there’s been no clue to how it’ll be implemented. 

New Fable possibly leaked from r/xboxone

More interesting is the suggestion that Fable 4 will be completely open, suggesting a larger open-world game than the previous Fable games. Players can allegedly ignore the main quest to become a hero and instead go around building towns. 

But if they do pursue the quest, it will apparently involve time travelling and will see the return of the first game’s antagonist Jack of Blades. As this is a Fable game, there’ll be in-depth character creation and likely a lot of moral choices to make that influence how people perceive the player’s character. It should look pretty good as well, as it's tipped to use Unreal engine (possibly the new Unreal Engine 5 we've already seen in action on PS5). 

What we want from Fable 4 

Unlike Skryim or recent Grand Theft Auto games, the Fable games have always been about giving you a reasonably constrained open world packed with things to do rather than places to explore and story to uncover. While we don’t want to lose some of the charm and silliness Fable games offered us, such as buying out whole towns or marrying multiple people and watching as they had arguments in the street about you, we’d like to see a bit more depth with Fable 4.  

A larger open world with more space to run around and the ability to effectively go further into places your character may be poorly equipped to deal with is something we’d like to have the option to do. And some deeper side quests with results and consequences that leave a mark on the world would also be appreciated. 

We’re not expecting the same level of plot depth as The Witcher 3, as that wouldn’t suit Fable. But a little more flesh on the story and sidequests would be great. 

Screenshot of Fable 4 trailer

Fable 4 is going to have a strong fairytale vibe (Image credit: Microsoft)

It would also be neat to be able to manipulate the world in the ways like Peter Molyneux promised the original Fable would have, such as being able to cut down a tree and see it grow back if you come back years later. The power of the Xbox Series X (opens in new tab) and Windows 10 PCs should have no trouble making this a reality.  

Combat in Fable could also be improved, making it feel more kinetic and strategic rather than a slightly floaty mix of hammering a couple of buttons and cycling through enemies until they hit the deck. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild proved that depth could be added into combat with various parry, dodge, and weapon moves without making the game complex or too like Dark Souls.  

Screenshot of Fable 4 trailer

Fable 4 will have dark and light elements to its story (Image credit: Microsoft)

Finally, we’d like to see the dog make a return. It was a core and excellent part of Fable 2, but its role was somewhat diminished in Fable 3. 

So Fable 4 could instead give the dog more of a part in the game, maybe allowing you to sic it onto enemies in the vein of D-Dog in Metal Gear Solid V (opens in new tab).  

A brief tale of Fable

The last proper Fable game was Fable 3 released on the Xbox 360 in 2010, following up on the success of 2008’s Fable 2 on the same console. The third game in the Fable series was reasonably well-received but didn't win the critical acclaim of its predecessor or the original Fable. 

The departure of legendary game developer Peter Molyneux and other key developers from Lionhead Studios resulted in a change of direction for Fable’s studio and its ultimate demise in 2016, despite it being owned by Microsoft. This left Fable in a semi-state of limbo.  

There were spin-off Fable games in the form of Fable Heroes, a beat ‘em up game for the Xbox 360, Kinect-centric exploration and spell-slinging game Fable: The Journey, and Fable Fortune, a free-to-play digital card game that was launched in 2018 for the Xbox One but then discontinued March 2020. None of these Fable games garnered much acclaim, arguably sinking the series.  

In 2013, hope was kindled with a teaser trailer for Fable Legends. It showed a five-player Xbox One game that had four people playing as hero characters and one player being a form of dungeon master villain sending enemies to attack the heroes. But the closure of Lionhead meant Fable Legends got cancelled. 

That brings us to E3 2018, where Xbox boss Phil Spencer implied that what could be Fable 4 may be in the works. Spencer didn’t leave fans much to go on, but thanks to the Xbox 20/20 games showcase, we now know Fable 4 is real and it's being developed by Playground Games. 

Could this be a sing that more Fable games are to come? Well, we're not sure yet, but it's just nice to see the Fable series not get consigned to video fame history. 

Fable 4 is actually happening

We had been fearful that despite all the above, Fable 4 wasn't going to happen. At least not any time soon; we'd previously said Microsoft isn’t done with the Fable series just yet, but we wouldn’t put much money on it... may be we should have. 

The reason for those initial thoughts was that Fable 3 also came out at a time before Skyrim, The Witcher 3 and Breath of the Wild set high watermarks in how open-world fantasy games could be delivered. Arguably, in a world with such games, a new Fable game might feel a tad archaic. 

Screenshot of Fable 4 trailer

Fable 4 is could have a large open-world (Image credit: Microsoft)

Playground Games could shake-up the formula, but then there’s a risk it might not feel like a Fable game. Sure, some fans would be happy for more of the same. But to make Fable 4 compelling, it will need to tread the line between being faithful to the series yet having something new and fresh to make it compelling and keep people from going back to yet another new console version of Skyrim. 

So now that we know Fable 4 is real, we're quietly optimistic that it will give the Xbox Series X an ace in the hole. Time will tell, likely another 12 months or so. 

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face. 

  • Permilupp
    As far as I am concerned, everything Microsoft is just a rumor; no matter the level of promotion, hype, or promise surrounding it - albeit I really look forward to this one.
    Reply
  • Jayprh86
    We do not need to ruin this game with mmo style play. A lot of Elder scroll fans hate the elder scroll online and wish they come out with another skyrim type game. Keep Fable 4 traditional and branch off different fable games into mmo like elder scroll did. Let's not destroy this game as well. MMO is over rated and story line is weak
    Reply