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Xbox Series X's biggest exclusive could be years away — and that's bad news

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Xbox)

Despite being revealed at July’s Xbox 20/20 event, Fable 4 could be a long way off. And without Halo Infinite, the Xbox Series X could be devoid of big-hitting games when it launches at the end of the year. 

Herve Gengler, senior games designer working on Fable 4 at Playground Games, tweeted that the developer is looking to fill positions for the likes of a Lead Scriptwriter and Principal Tools Engineer to work on Fable 4. That would suggest that the development of the next Fable games is now gearing up, which in turn gives us the impression that it won’t arrive anytime soon. 

The reveal of the original Fable came a long time ahead of the game’s actual release in September 2004. All the hype behind it along with concept images made the wait seem inextricably long.  

And that could be the same situation with Fable 4. The announcement trailer for the game could have been in-engine, which would mean the framework for Fable 4 is in place. But no actual game footage was shown off, meaning the game is likely not going to come before late 2021. 

Playground Games hasn’t hinted at a release date for Fable 4, which normally means a game is a long way off. But at the same time, there’s an outside chance that Fable 4 is further down the development road than first thought but requires more testing and polish before it's revealed. And with the chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic, perhaps Playground Games and Microsoft want to hold fire before committing to a release date when things could suddenly be disrupted. 

Lack of launch games

We have no problem waiting for a game to be developed. We’d rather a game that’s as polished as possible than one that’s hurried out — Cyberpunk 2077 is taking this approach. But it will mean that the Xbox Series X is set to launch without any major big game name.

Halo Infinite was meant to be the launch game to spearhead the next-generation of Xbox. But it’s been delayed until 2021 so that developer 343 Industries can polish it up, possibly in response to the negative reaction to the game’s visuals when it was shown off in July.

Even though Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said that Microsoft’s plans for the next-generation of Xbox isn’t centered around selling masses of Xbox Series X consoles, the lack of a big launch game still gives the PS5 the advantage when it comes to selling console hardware.

With games like Spider-Man Miles Morales and Godfall coming as exclusive launch titles for the PS5, it could offer more immediate appeal for people on the fence about whether they want a PS5 or Xbox Series X to keep them occupied over the 2020 holiday season.

But the future of Xbox is less about a single console and more about an ecosystem built around Xbox Game Pass. So Microsoft will play heavily into that until the likes of Fable 4 and Halo Infinite come along to tempt new people to sign up Xbox Game Pass or buy the Series X.