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Lionhead Studios is defunct, but the Fable franchise could still continue on Xbox.
Microsoft’s Fable role-playing franchise hasn’t exactly been met with a glowing reception in recent years. Fable III, presumably the culmination of the lessons learned and improvements made by developer Lionhead over the years, was met with a lukewarm reception when it launched in 2010, and Kinect spinoff game Fable: The Journey was reviled by critics and fans alike. But though Lionhead is no more, Xbox head Phil Spencer hasn’t ruled out another Fable game in the future.
Answers a fan’s question on Twitter, Spencer said that although the Xbox team had “nothing to announce” regarding the future of the Fable franchise, he believes that it still has “a lot of places it could go” in the future.
The comment comes just a few days after an interview Spencer did with The Guardian, during which he admitted that the market for single-player, story-based games like Horizon: Zero Dawn wasn’t “consistent,” and that this makes the decision to back such projects more difficult for publishers.
Though it featured cooperative play as well, the canceled Scalebound from PlatinumGames was expected to a “traditional” heavy-hitter for Xbox later this year. With the exception of the traditional campaigns in the Gears of War and Halo franchises, the majority of Microsoft’s games now contain online connectivity as an integral part of the experience.
Fable hasn’t been known for this in the past — and the cooperative Fable Legends was actually canceled before it officially released — so it’s unclear just what a potential Fable 4 would look like, should it ever come to fruition.
Microsoft’s small number of studios, now limited to just seven developers already working on several projects, would also mean that the game would likely be outsourced to a third party. Original creator Peter Molyneux has moved onto other projects in recent years, including the god game Godus and the disastrous experiment Curiosity: What’s Inside the Cube?