Fable is a series of action RPGs published by Xbox Game Studios. The series was created by Lionhead Studios and its co-founder Peter Molyneux.
Each game in the series takes place in the fantasy land of Albion and focuses on the adventures of an unnamed protagonist referred to as the Hero, who first begins the game with little experience in combat and heroic deeds.
The series has been praised by critics and audiences alike, and has become one of the more famous Xbox-exclusive franchises. The games have become known for being culturally significant in British entertainment.
The first entry to the series, simply titled Fable, released in September 2004 exclusively for the original Xbox. It was developed by Lionhead Studios' satellite company Big Blue Box Studios. The game tells the story of a young boy who is trained to become a Hero after his village is burned down by bandits, the boy's main goal is to find his mother and sister who survived the attack.
Fable gained praise for its world and RPG gameplay, but drew criticism for a distinct lack of content than what was previously offered by Peter Molyneux. Regardless, the game was a success and sold over 3 million copies worldwide.
As a result of the criticism towards removed features, Molyneux officially apologized whilst also claiming that certain mechanics (such as being able to grow trees out of acorns) were originally in the game but removed for technical limitations.
Sometime later, Fable was re-released as the Lost Chapters which included content that was cut from the game including certain quests, weapons and creatures as well as the ability to gift items to children.
Fable II released in October 2008 as an Xbox 360 exclusive. It is set 500 years after the original game, and revolves around a poor orphan who grows up to become a Hero and to avenge their sister's death at the hands of a former ruler who has grown mad with power.
Likewise to the original game, Fable II was well-received by critics and audiences. Praise was given to the implementation of new features and the addition of a dog companion, whilst the game faced criticism over its story. Fable II quickly became one of the top-selling RPGs for the Xbox 360, and is Peter Molyneux's personal favourite game in the series.
Fable III was released in October 2010 for the Xbox 360 and PC. It takes place 50 years after the previous game, and focuses on the Hero of Bowerstone's youngest child - who forms an uprising to become a Hero and overthrow their brother's tyrannical rule over an industrial-era Albion.
Fable: Anniversary was released in February 2014 to coincide with the series' 10th anniversary. It serves as a HD remaster of Fable: The Lost Chapters and includes better graphics, achievements and support for Xbox SmartGlass.
Shortly after release, the game received mixed reviews from critics and audiences. While the game's enhanced graphics were mostly praised, certain bugs and glitches from previous releases were critiqued.
In July 2020, a new game in the Fable series in development by Playground Games was officially announced at the Xbox Games Showcase. It's teaser trailer suggests a reboot for the series, and a return to the cynical British humor featured in previous games.
It is set to be released for the Xbox Series X|S and PC at an undisclosed date, and will run on the ForzaTech engine.
To coincide with the release of Fable II, an Xbox Live Arcade game called Fable II Pub Games released. This game contains a collection of three minigames which would be featured in Fable II: Keystone, Fortune's Tower & Spinnerbox. Any in-game money earned through playing this game can be transferred to be used by the Hero in Fable II.
Fable Heroes was released on Xbox Live Arcade in 2012. It is a 4-player co-op game which takes elements from party games.
In late 2012, Fable: The Journey released as an Xbox 360 Kinect game.
Origins of Fable
According to Peter Molyneux, the game's original titles were "Project Ego" and "Wishworld", the game would've originally focused on wizards battling with magical powers. The game later evolved from Lionhead Studios' first game, Black & White - which had heavy emphasis on morality and choice-based gameplay.
The original Fable was teased in 2001 by Lionhead Studios' co-founder Peter Molyneux, who promised "an experience like no other" and that the game would "revolutionize the RPG."
The game was initially in development by the satellite company Big Blue Box Studios for the Dreamcast until support for the system was discontinued, further development would continue on the Xbox after Lionhead was funded by Microsoft Game Studios.
To create the world of Albion, the developers were heavily influenced by the architecture of the surrounding areas of Lionhead's headquarters in Surrey, England.
- As a result of the acorn controversy of the original Fable, there have been numerous instances of easter eggs which poke fun of the event. In Fable II, there is a gravestone which has an acorn tree growing near it.