Fable is a series of action role-playing video game for Xbox, Mac OS X, and Windows platforms. The series is developed under the leadership of Peter Molyneux by Big Blue Box, a satellite developer of Lionhead Studios, and is published by Microsoft, the first version in 2004.
The Fable series takes place in the fictional nation of Albion, a state that, at the time of the first game, is composed of numerous autonomous city-states with vast areas of countryside or wilderness in between. The setting originally resembles Medieval Europe or traditional fantasy settings like the "Middle Earth" of The Lord of the Rings. However, the period of time progresses with each game; in Fable II, Albion has advanced to an era similar to that of the age of enlightenment, and by Fable III the nation has been unified under a monarchy and is undergoing an "age of industry" similar to the 19th century Industrial Revolution.
In Fable, players assume the role of an orphaned boy who realizes his dream of becoming a hero. The choices players make in the game affect the perception and reaction to their Hero by the characters of Albion, and change the Hero's appearance to mirror what good or evil deeds the Hero has performed. In addition to undertaking quests to learn what happened to the Hero's family, players can engage in optional quests and pursuits such as trading, romance, pub gaming, boxing, and theft. Even so, set quests are the motor of the story development.
Fable II takes place 500 years after the events of the first game. The world resembles slightly a Europe between 1600 and 1800, the time of highwaymen and the Enlightenment. Science and more modern ideas have suppressed the religion and magic of old Albion. Its towns have developed into cities, weaponry is slowly taking advantage of gunpowder, and social, family and economic life present more possibilities - as well as challenges. The sequel basically expands most or all parts of the gaming experience from the prequel, without changing the elementary modes of playing. The continent of Albion is smaller as a game world, since it contains fewer locations, but the locations that remain are more developed and detailed. In contrast to Fable, the solving of set quests is not the basis of the story, rather the story develops from the players situation in time and place. This gives the game a sense of more interactivity than the prequel.
In Fable III the setting is 50 years after that of Fable II. The historical development is further advanced since the last version: Albion is experiencing the industrial revolution. In all of the versions, the moral development (in a negative or a positive way) is at the core of the gameplay. In the last version, this moral development is expanded from the personal or psychological into a more political aspect, as the goal of the game is to overthrow the oppressive king of Albion, as well as defending the continent from attacks from abroad.
As a Role-playing game (RPG), the Fable series constructs the development of a protagonist controlled by the player, related to the same characters interaction with the game world. A major part of this interaction is for the Fable series related to interaction with people, be it conversation, story-telling, education, trading, gaming, courting and relationships, or fighting.
The player is able to develop the protagonist following several parameters, such as magic, strength and social skills. The player may also direct the moral quality of the protagonist, so that skills may be developed in equal terms and conditions both in the negative and positive field.
In addition to this basis of the gameplay, some of the version focus on set quest that together give the protagonist the opportunity to develop, as well as unveiling strands of the story of the game.
Installments, releases and plans
The first version of the game, Fable, shipped for Xbox on September 14, 2004. An extended version of this first installment, Fable: The Lost Chapters, was released for Windows and Xbox in September 2005; Feral Interactive ported the game to the Mac platform on March 31, 2008.
The proper sequel of the series, Fable II, was released for Xbox 360 October 21, 2008. A third installment of the game, Fable III, is currently awaiting release for Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows in October 2010.
According to Peter Molyneux, Lionhead Studios currently has plans for 4th and 5th Fable installations.
- Official UK website
- Official U.S. website
- Developer website
- Video diary site
- The Fable Wiki, an external wiki