We still don’t know much about Fable 4 despite confirmation that it’s in development nearly two years ago. All we’ve had so far is a single announcement trailer and a few tidbits of mostly unofficial information.
So that means I’m open to pondering what the next Fable game could have, especially given it’ll have the power of the Xbox Series X and gaming PC hardware to tap into.
Ideally I want Fable 4 to keep the heart of what made the Fable games so appealing, yet also evolve the formula so that it’s relevant for the latest generation of games. With that in mind, read on for what I’d like to see from Fable 4.
A deep open world
Fable 4 is set to be an open-world role-playing game, unless something drastically changes with its formula. And that’s great, as the previous Fable games offer plenty of exploration.
But the original promise of Fable was a world that could truly react to your actions. The almost meme-worthy comment by former Lionhead Studios founder Peter Molyneux during Fable's development, touted that you could plant a seed in the original game and it would grow into a tree over the course of a playthrough; that never happened.
With Fable 4, I’d like to see that become a reality, and more on top. I want a world that truly reacts and adapts to your actions way down the line. And by that I don’t mean NPCs making comments on your character's appearance.
I’d also like to see some emergent systems, such as those in Breath of the Wild and the likes of Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain, be applied liberally, say with weather conditions affecting the world and its inhabitants. This can help make open-world games feel more alive rather than a sandbox of things to do.
The Fable games have done a little of this before — I acutely remember working to buy up pretty much every building in the original Fable and collecting rent from them — but I’m hungry for more.
A strong story with classic Fable humor
The first Fable was less of a fantasy game and more of a dark fairy tale. There was a big bad, but he was less a Thanos-like figure and more of an existential threat that parents would tell their children to ensure they behave. This was then wrapped in a distinctly British sense of humor, with a Wookey Hole's worth of regional accents. And as a Brit, bye George, did I love it.
I really hope Fable 4 continues with this theme and tone, and avoids the high-fantasy tropes that some open-world games can fall into. Fable 2 had a pretty decent story, but the outcomes of the ending didn't really have much of an effect on the world in the post-game action. So I’d like to see Fable 4 offer a story that meanders and evolves throughout its course, something The Witcher 3 and Deus Ex games managed to do well.
Strong characters will be needed too, to aid a story that can be dark and broody yet punctuated with moments of levity and dumb humor.
This could be quite the ask for developer Playground Games, as its latest game Forza Horizon 5 is almost insufferable cheery, praising you even if you send a stupidly expensive car flying into a wall.
While I appreciated Fable 1 and Fable 2 for the simple combat making the games accessible for a wide audience, I feel that the 'language' of gaming is now so prevalent that Fable 4 could go a little deeper on its combat mechanics.
I’d like to see a greater degree of move sets and actions, with combos and status effects that can be chained together for powerful and/or amusing results. I’d also like to see a deeper level of customization for weapons, armour and more, with the ability to equip your character for certain challenges or tasks.
And a wider array of enemies and threats in the game would be appreciated too; I’ve shocked enough Hobbes to death with lightning to last me a lifetime.
One of the best things about Fable 2 was the fact your character was joined by a dog. I love dogs, so this was an utter joy and something I hope, nay demand, Fable 4 has.
But why just have dogs? It would be great if Fable 4 let you have a cat that would occupy one of your houses and maraud the streets at night. Or perhaps a pet goat to keep an eye on a farm you might have.
Basically, I’d love Fable 4 to let you set up a smallholding full of animals with charming personalities. Surely that's not too much to ask?
An expansive post-story game
Speaking of setting up a place to while away the days, I hope Fable 4 has a comprehensive post-story game where the choices you made in the main story have a direct effect on the world that get to see first hand.
These could open up extra quests or new areas that may have been locked before. Or after Fable 4 is released, whenever that may be, the developers could build out the world after the credits roll on the main game. Sure, that would require a degree of commitment, but Playground Games is owned by Microsoft and such developers seem hardly short on money.
This could also be augmented with Microsoft's extensive technology, say cloud-based AI helping shape a dynamic world based on a player’s end-game choices. Though that technology could also be used through the game to create a truly evolving and almost unique RPG experience.
Fables 4 outlook
I may be letting my ideas run away with me at this point, but the others in this list seem like realistic wishes. And the Fable series is ripe for a form of reboot after all. Hopefully, we’ll hear more about the progress made on Fable 4 this summer at some form of Microsoft Xbox showcase. Until then I’ll keep myself content with more speculative and wishful thinking.