The legendary Fable was released back in 2004.
Since then, Eternal Tale of Bubble Fable Games has gone through several sequels and re-releases on different platforms, overgrown with a huge community, and inscribed her name in the history of computer games in golden letters.
We decided to remember how this non-childish fairy tale was created and how was it remembered, what other games were released in the series and how Fable was different from hundreds of other Action / RPGs.
The roots of any more or less self-respecting legend must necessarily go back to the distant past. Games of the Fable series are no exception here.
Our fairy tale began in 2001 with one person and his Ego. Rather, Project Ego.
This man was Peter Molyneux, who was already known as the author of such recognized masterpieces as Populous, Dungeon Keeper and Black & White.
It was in “Black and White” that he began to develop a truly philosophical thought about the struggle and unity of good and evil.
After seeing the success of his God Simulator, Peter came up with the idea to create a game in which every little player action would have far-reaching consequences.
In those years, Molyneux just had his own game studio – Lion head Studios, so not much time passed from the idea to the start of its implementation. But further…
And then the tale became more and more terrible. On the one hand, the representatives of the company, having announced a game with enormous possibilities, could no longer take their words back.
On the other hand, the game was developed for a specific Xbox platform, which had its own limitations, and not such a large team of authors worked on the project.
As a result, constant rush jobs began, one after another.
In 2009, Peter Molyneux himself admitted that the accelerated development of Fable in those days practically ruined the lives of several team members, who literally had to spend the night in the office.
But then, in the early 2000s, no one knew this hard-hitting side of Fable.
Tale of Bubble Fable Games
But then everyone knew that Fable, according to its creator, should become “the best game in the world.”
And it is not surprising, because at that time (and the case, we recall, was in the early 2000s), among other things, the following should have appeared in the game:
Open seamless world;
Independent and realistic development of the world over time, including the smallest details (a canon example from Molyneux – the hero plants a tree, returns after many in-game years, the tree bears fruit);
Preservation of the state of the world (again an example about trees – the hero carves his name on a tree, returns after many years and reads it);
Dynamic change in the appearance of the hero, including tanning and bags under the eyes from stress;
Dynamic physical development of the hero (each muscle group grows separately from different activities, hands from waving a sword, legs from running, and so on).
Impressive, isn’t it? Especially considering that even now there is not a single game that would combine all this.
What did we get in the end?
The constant pressure of the publisher did the trick, and in the end, after several years of development amid huge expectations, Fable is finally out.
Having bought it, the players, of course, did not find any growing trees and tanning. Nevertheless, the game came out truly revolutionary for its time.
Never before in RPGs of those years has the appearance of a character changed so radically depending on the events of his life.
Although during the development process Fable lost more than half of the declared capabilities, the main idea laid down during its creation still survived –
Almost every action of the character affected both his appearance and the reaction of the world to him.
For the first time, the notorious “karma” has become not just a line in characteristics and a modifier in dialogues.
You could see it with your own eyes, because the “white and fluffy” heroes grew a natural halo and emitted light, and the villains sported small horns.
Yes, and other details of the biography of our hero were read right on his face –
The battles decorated him with scars, practicing magic led to rapid baldness and slight sparking of hands, practicing hand-to-hand fighting strengthened the muscles, and gluttony led to the growth of a natural belly.
In addition to all this, with age (or rather, as he levels up), our hero first grew and then grew old.
At the end of all this, the appearance of the hero could be changed with the help of all kinds of hairstyles and tattoos, which also influenced the attitude of those around him.
Some tattoos made everyone love our hero, some, on the contrary, scared people away from him, and so on.
Even if the dynamic appearance of the hero was the only plus, Fable would still deserve a place in the pantheon of the best games of the early 2000s.
But the developers, realizing that things clearly did not work out with the open world , instead created many small and cozy locations, extremely saturated with various interesting places.
As a result, the cities in the game, although microscopic in size, are full of life – the inhabitants sleep at night, and during the day they scurry about their business, only occasionally paying attention to our hero.
But the hero has no time to get bored, because besides the quests of the main plot in the first game of the Fable series, there were many other activities –
Side quests, searching for artifacts behind the Demon Doors , fishing , trade (retail, wholesale and even real estate), board games , fist fights, finding a companion life and courting her, and even alcoholism, in the end.
Fable has become one of the few games that you don’t play, you live in.
All this splendor was spiced up with trademark humor, which made the game an easy attempt to deconstruct the genre (and much more successful than the same Bard’s Tale).
For this one could forgive her anything.
Moreover, there was still something to forgive. All the advantages of the game were combined with clear signs of dampness that ruined so many promising series.
There were many bugs in it, and the quests that the developers did not have time to finish by the release date were shamelessly cut out of the release.
Therefore, it is not surprising that a year after the release of Fable, in 2005, a kind of “work on mistakes” was released – Fable: The Lost Chapters.
This version was also released on the PC, as a result of which Fable was no longer a console exclusive. In the “lost chapters” almost all the flaws in the original have been corrected, and many of the cut quests have been completed and returned to the game.
Unlike other truly masterpiece and revolutionary games, Fable also sold very well. By the end of 2006, more than 3 million discs had been sold and many in-game awards won.
Even critics, usually strict with companies that promise mountains of gold for nothing, gave the game an average rating of 85/100. Peter Molyneux himself, by the way, gave his game a rating of 9 out of 10.
On the one hand, he praised his brainchild, on the other – as if hinting that perfection had not yet been achieved. So, the fairy tale needs to be written further, and the sequel is not far off.
Obviously, not only the hero of the game, but also its authors learned to draw conclusions from the consequences of their actions, because, unlike the PR campaign of the first part, this time Molyneux promised almost nothing impossible.
And the history of the development of the sequel turned out to be not as epic as the original – Fable 2 was released just a year after it was announced, namely in 2008.
Almost everything, for which the players fell in love with the original Fable, migrated to the second part.
FROM DIRT TO KINGS. OR PRINCESSES
Fable 2 retained not only the spirit of the original – even the beginning of the story in it is similar, if not in details, so in concept.
Again we start the game in adolescence against the background of a pastoral landscape, again our beloved sister is next to us, and again life collapses at one moment…
Again we have to rise from the very bottom of the social ladder and overthrow another evil tyrant.
But an important difference also appeared – if in the first part our GG could be exclusively male, then here, although his name is rigidly set (and our name is poetic here – Sparrows), the gender can still be chosen.
In addition, on the heels of the hero is now always followed by a faithful dog, capable of helping in battles or sniffing out where a valuable treasure is buried.
The development of the world parallel to the plot, the dynamic appearance of the character, the influence of actions and development on the appearance and social relations, many side activities, family life –
All this was preserved in the sequel. Unsurprisingly, Fable 2 has become one of the best games of its year.
Only one thing darkens this story – only Xbox owners can still enjoy the splendor; PC lovers still, after 10 years, may not even hope to download this game and spend a dozen or two pleasant evenings with it.
MOLYNEUX-MOLYNEUX, TURN TO THE PC IN FRONT
By 2010, the icy heart of the publisher apparently melted a little. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain why Fable 3 still did not remain a console exclusive and, to the great joy of a million-strong army of fans, came out, including for the PC.
But this was not the only difference between the new parts.
The scope of the RPG genre, obviously, became tight for Peter’s creative imagination, so the game took the path of simplifying the role-playing system as much as possible.
Manna itself has been completely cut, the skill tree has also been much thinned.
Even such a simple thing as the game inventory has been completely redesigned – now you need to put on weapons in a special room to which the hero teleports during a pause in the game.
Molyneux, obviously, used the energy saved on the development of the role-playing on the moral component –
The Fable series of games has always been famous for the opportunity to make a choice and face its consequences, but the third part of the choice has increased, and the consequences in terms of their moral severity can even compete with the notorious KOTOR 2 or the watcher.
After all, here the game does not end with the coronation of the hero – on the contrary, having received the title, one has to make the most difficult decisions.
IF YOU GO TO THE LEFT, YOU WILL FIND A HORSE, IF YOU GO TO THE RIGHT, YOU WILL FIND YOURSELF IN THE ARCADE.
Fable 3 was an RPG with a big stretch, so after it Lion head apparently decided not to bother and release two games in the Fable series in a completely different genre.
The first was Fable Heroes – a simple and uncomplicated team arcade game in the spirit of Castle Crashers, where only the setting remained from the original Fable.
The second was Fable: the Journey – an exclusive for the Xbox 360 designed for the Kinect manipulator, where the player drives a cart with a horse harnessed to it most of the time, and in his free time from coachman fights all sorts of monsters.
Sequels and remakes have long become the basis of modern cinema (and the musical creativity of individual pink haters).
Perhaps Lion head was inspired by this trend, because in 2014 the last game in the series was released – Fable Anniversary.
It was timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the release of the first Fable, but was simply its premastering on a new engine.
WAS IT WET ON A COLA – TO START THE STORY AGAIN?
Not every fairy tale is destined to have a happy ending. In 2012, Peter Molyneux left his brainchild and since then has nothing to do with the Fable franchise.
In the same year, the studio announced the next game in the series – Fable Legends, which should retain the original spirit of the series, but include the possibility of cooperative play with a group of friends.
In 2016, the development of the game was suspended.
The conditional brothers Grimm would put an end here, but the real world is more complicated than any fairy tale, even one of the fairy tales of the Fable series.
Therefore, in 2018, the rights to develop the new Fable were transferred to Playground Games.
The game was officially announced at the 2020 Xbox Games Showcase.
Little is known about her yet: we know that the action of Fable will unfold in a fantasy setting … and this is all official information at the moment.
Rumor has it that the game will receive MMO elements and will not be a direct sequel to the franchise, but one should be wary of unconfirmed reports.
Time will tell whether the British will be able to preserve the unique spirit of the series, and we can only wait and hope to hear the continuation of the story that the brilliant storyteller began to tell us more than 15 years ago.
Let the horns sometimes peep out from under his hat.