Fable 4 trailer shows what true next-gen graphics look like on Xbox Series X

a screenshot of a female hero in Fable 4 surrounded by people
(Image credit: Xbox)

While the Fable 4 trailer at the Xbox Games Showcase 2023 mostly featured a digital version of British comedian Richard Ayoade, it actually has game footage from one of the most anticipated Xbox Series X games. But you may have missed that tidbit. 

In the trailer we see a hero character throw a fireball at an enemy in what looks like a pre-rendered scene; it happens very fast and makes it tricky to really parse. But Playground Games, Fable 4’s developer, has piped up to flag that what we saw in the trailer was bona fide game footage. 

While in-engine trailers are often gussied up to look far more than real game footage, Lukas Koelz, a lead lighting artist at PlayGround Games working on Fable 4, emphasized that the fantasy RPG will indeed look like the footage shown off. 

As such, Fable 4 could be the game to usher in serious next-gen graphics for the Xbox Series X and PS5 generation.

While there have been some very visually impressive games over the past two-and-a-half years of the current console generation, a lot of these games have been cross-generation titles, such as God of War Ragnarok, Halo Infinite, Horizon Forbidden West, Elden Ring and more. So we’ve arguably yet to see what the consoles can do when fully committed to the power of the generation, rather than needing to keep a toe or two dipped in the past.

Fable games have mostly had a cartoonish visual style — but by no means graphically unadvanced — it’s a series perhaps not known for pushing the boundaries of gaming graphics.

But Playground Games is the developer behind the Forza Horizon series, with the latest iteration, Forza Horizon 5, being one of the best-looking games on any platform, and Fable 4 will be using its ‘ForzaTech’ engine.

an gif of a Fable 4 hero throwing a fireball at an enemy

(Image credit: Playground Game / Twitter)

So it’s not a complete surprise that Fable 4 could spearhead serious next-gen graphics when it arrives, potentially in 2024.

Now I will need to caveat that by saying there are plenty of examples in the past where games have showcased early footage that’s a lot more visually impressive than what appears in the final game; even the excellent The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Nevertheless, this is a positive sign for the future of graphics on the Xbox Series X. I reserve a little bit of skepticism as to whether the Xbox Series S will deliver such visuals, but regardless, Fable 4 is certainly a game to watch out for.

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Roland Moore-Colyer

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.