Fable's reboot seems like it was a long time coming. There hasn't been a new core installment in the Fable franchise since 2010, which is an awfully long drought. Technically, Fable Fortune is the most recent installment in the franchise, but unfortunate the digital trading card game from 2017 has since been shut down. There really isn't any more representation for Fable out there anymore. Thankfully, Fable has found a new home in the hands of Playground Games since Lionhead Games' closure. Rumors floated around about a franchise revival for a couple years, but now fans know for sure that a reboot is coming.Start now
Now the question is when the Fable reboot will release. Playground Games has shown almost nothing about the game since it was officially revealed, and so Fable's state of development is mostly up to conjecture. It's entirely possible that Fable won't be out for a great many years, which would be an awful disappointment for fans. Seeing as the community has waited a decade for a new mainline Fable game, fans aren't exactly eager to wait another two to three years for Fable to come out. Unfortunately, between Fable's mysterious status and Microsoft's new habit of early announcements, it could be a long time before Fable comes out.Moving Fable Forward
Even if it wasn't exactly a traditional Fable game, Fable Fortune remains the best recent touchstone for the franchise. After all, it started out as Lionhead's handiwork, and even after the studio closed, many of its developers kept working on Fable Fortune. This card game first opened its doors to early access players in the summer of 2017, and then it released fully in February 2018. That means it's been about three years since Fable fans have seen any sign of life from the franchise, which isn't too long, even if it's been much longer since a normal Fable game came out.
However, the announcement of the Fable reboot isn't the same as a new Fable game coming out three years later. Under normal circumstances, it'd make sense that a new Fable game could be made in the three years between now and Fable Fortune's release. That's not quite the case. The Fable IP spent a couple years being handed from studio to studio, and only now does it seem to be solidly under Playground Games' control. That kind of instability explains why the Fable reboot's announcement doesn't come with a release date. It probably still has a lot of development ahead of it.
Ideally, that won't slow the game down too much. Playground Games isn't a big enough studio to have a ton of projects to manage at a time, so it'll ideally be pretty focused on releasing Fable on time. On the other hand, if it's going to be more than a year or two before Fable comes out, then it seems like the game should've stayed a secret for now. Fable's drought has been so difficult and protracted that it needs to come out soon and hit the ground running. It's facing too much competition from other fantasy RPGs to linger in a long development and make its fans anxious.Contrasting Fable and its Peers
Considering how important it is that Fable releases on time, it's interesting to compare its theoretical release schedule to some other games. The best possible example is The Elder Scrolls 6, which Bethesda says won't release for many years. That makes it strange and surprising that Bethesda took the time to confirm the game already. Sitting on the public knowledge of The Elder Scrolls 6 without addressing it at all seems like a surefire way to make fans impatient for news.
The difference between Fable and The Elder Scrolls, though, is that The Elder Scrolls hasn't gone anywhere. Even though there hasn't been a numbered single-player entry in The Elder Scrolls in ten years, Skyrim alone is so unbelievably successful that Bethesda hasn't needed to release a new game. Skyrim just keeps coming back and delivering every time. The success of The Elder Scrolls: Online should also be noted. Even though the main games haven't been updated beyond a deluge of Skyrim remasters, The Elder Scrolls is going strong.
To be sure, Elder Scrolls fans are disappointed to know that Starfield is coming before Elder Scrolls 6, and fans have wanted a new game in the series for a long time. Despite that, Fable's situation is still completely different from that of The Elder Scrolls. Nobody has been producing endless content for the franchise to keep fans sated in the meantime. While there's all kinds of Elder Scrolls games to play right now, there's really no new Fable content for fans to enjoy right now. That's what makes the long wait ahead of Elder Scrolls 6 more bearable while simultaneously framing how important it is that the Fable reboot comes out soon.Fable's Rebirth
Playground Games shouldn't rush Fable, of course, but it also can't afford to take forever to release the reboot. There's big next-gen competitors on the way that the old school Fable will have to stand up to. Obsidian Entertainment, often acknowledged as a master of RPGs, has Avowed coming to Microsoft platforms down the line. Elden Ring is sure to be another competitor to Fable whenever it releases, drawing in fantasy fans who prefer darker tones. As much as the Fable IP deserves a comeback, the near future is also a difficult time for it to do so. One of the best ways it can undercut these competitors is by coming out ahead of them if possible.
At the very least, Playground Games ought to give Fable fans an update on the state of the game. Thankfully, E3 2021 is coming up, so there's a chance that Microsoft will make a place for Playground Games to address Fable and show off a few things. For a while, it wasn't clear that Fable would ever return to its formal glory. Now that a reboot of the franchise is officially on Microsoft and Playground's docket, there's hope for big new things for the franchise. Even if it's a solid game, though, release dates matter. Fable would be best off making its comeback sooner rather than later.
Fable is in development for PC and Xbox Series X/S.
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