I myself was late to the Fable party. I never owned the original XBox. Instead I bought Fable: The Lost Chapters and played it on my XBox 360. It was a jaw dropping experience. One that changed my perception of what a game should be forever. One that has led to disappointment from almost every RPG since.
Fable was, and in many ways still is, the standard for what a story focused, open world, open ended gaming experience should be. It was one of the first games I experienced where your actions truly seemed to have an affect on the world around you. Yes, I had played Morrowind for years before picking up Fable, and yes Morrowind had many features that reflected your actions in the world. It just didn’t drive the points home like Fable did. Morrowind felt like a spreadsheet simulator by comparison. Watching your appearance change based on your actions, and the reactions of the citizens just felt so much more endearing than any other game I had played before.
I still remember the first character I went full evil on. I hadn’t put a lot of thought into the character. I hadn’t even done research into the game. But I knew that I had one goal, to become as powerful of a fighter as I could, as quickly as I could. To this end I ran through The Guild slaughtering the quick to spawn guards. I lured them to the portal, and I sat there slaughtering them by the dozens for hours. Every time my health ran low I teleported away to heal and came right back. I don’t recall how long I sat farming before I saw the physical changes in my character. It drew me in. Enamored me. Made me obsess about the game. It was the first time a console game had made me feel a connection between my actions and my character. From that moment on I was inspired to push forward to become the most evil dictator that I could. The goal was no longer to become powerful. The goal was to be merciless.
Throughout that game I ran through Albion causing havoc everywhere I went. While I never finished the main quest of the game I spent over one hundred hours galavanting around terrorizing the countryside. It felt good. So good that I questioned my own morals for a short bit, but it was worth every minute of it. But alas all good stories must come to an end.
As of April 29th Lionhead Studio is no more. It was a tragic end to one of the greatest companies in video game history. And while it is a sad ending we all understand why, at least in part. Each of Fable’s successors became a pale ghost of its predecessor. It was almost as if something or someone forced the games out to launch too early.
It is not all doom and gloom, however. Back in 2014 Lionhead Studio managed to launch Fable Anniversary Edition. It is a remaster of the orignal game, and well worth the $35 price tag. I bought it at launch, and can attest to its beauty. It is a remaster worth your investment especially if you have not yet had the honor of playing the original.
What are your favorite memories from Fable? Let me know in the comment section below.