Fable IV to be an Online only game – possible free to play?

Microsoft may have announced a new studio head in the form of John Needham who comes from a background of online gaming (City of Heroes – Cryptic Studios – and free to play Marvel Super Hero Squad at Gazillion Entertainment)  , but  it’s Phil Harrison’s remarks which need to be taken in to context perhaps. Needham is well known in the online gaming sphere and Phil’s words echo a sentiment that Lionhead Studios will now be focusing on Online content, although it’s not clear what forms this will take.  Harrison said:

“It’s my pleasure to welcome John Needham to Microsoft Studios and Lionhead. He brings a wealth of proven executive leadership experience in the online gaming space to the company and I know he will confidently lead Lionhead towards an ambitious online future.”

John Needham Headhsot

Putting two and two together and considering Microsoft will continue to pimp out its popular franchises come next generation, could it be possible that the next Fable game will be entirely online driven given the arrival of Needham and of course Harrison’s comments, which may or may not be more generalized sentiment.

Fable 2 was already venturing into the online space what with its downloadable episodes etc. and the series got better at it in Fable 3, bit still not on par with some of the great MMO games out there. Fable Heroes also dipped its toes into multiplayer gaming, so it perhaps is plausible that Fable IV will follow suit given the Studio head’s expertise in the field.  Considering the current Always Online rumors for the Xbox mini and next Xbox, Lionhead going down the online only route could make sense – however, considering the Fable series has predominantly been a single player experience at heart, it will be interesting to see if like EA’s recent Sim City release, the game will require an always online connection to be played solo. To add further enticement for those wary of an always online game, could Fable IV also use the free to play model as well?

Just to throw this in here as a matter of course; Lionhead Studios might simply be shifting focus to other online developments for increasingly popular hand held devices and platforms. There’s no real indication as to whether the studio will even be developing Fable IV or what iteration it will take. However the appointment of Needham and Harrison’s remarks certainly has peaked our interest in the future of one of the studios most successful brands.



Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

5 Comments Added

Join Discussion
  1. Amirparsa April 24, 2013 |

    I have long been a Fable franchise fan and I’ve loved every single Fable; whether it had flaws or not. If Lionhead really does give out an online MMO… I can say my dreams would come true. I can already imagine meeting other heroes with their own abilities, going on adventures, killing hobbes and balverines… WOOHOO!

    • Zalzany April 30, 2013 |

      You can already meet other heros in Fable 3… Fable online would undermine everything, it wouldn’t be your world, just cookie cutter class, with some factions tossed in. It wouldn’t even resemble fable would look like just another generic fantasy MMO but with the Fable logo slapped on it.

  2. Zalzany April 30, 2013 |

    Wait were was the online in fable 2 and 3? I must have missed the MMO like additions with my copies and dlc. Because outside of dlc wich every one and there mom does since its easier then an expansion, and you can charge almost the same amount for 1/4 the work or less.

    Online co op, or side missions really isn’t the same as what cryptic was doing, that is like comparing Super Mario with the option of a 2nd player to Halo’s multiplayer versus mode. I think what people should be taking away is that cryptic made great games, with good stories and abilties to customize missions. Heck all the cryptic games I played you could run the game solo pretty easily.

    Pimping this into an MMO would fail about as hard as KotoR online did, wich is now bottom feeding in the MMO world thanks to them taking a single player franchise and trying to make it into the next WoW. People don’t need more WoWs and to the date not one company aiming to topple WoW in its own genre has succeed at even staying in the same company.

    What the gaming world needs is more co-op games, games with elabrate stories like Fable had, with the casual option of hop in hop out game play. Games where its your universe, not 1 millions others. A game where you don’t constantly piss off one group by making another happy. A simple changeable influenced by the individual who owns the save world. That is why I play fable because what I do in the world effects it, I don’t have to worry about grievers or complainers saying I don’t like this. Its my world life or death of every thing from powerful noble down to a hippie out in the woods is mine to make, as is the fall out from my decisions.

    • I think you’re being a little closed minded with the definition of an MMO. Imagine something more reflective of the solo game having a wider impact much like Bungie’s new game Destiny. Think Sim City, where players can play solo, but there are other influences in the grand scheme of things.

      I’m not sure how well a Fable Online MMO game would work if it followed the same template as other games, but I believe there’s enough talent at Lionhead to perhaps think outside of the box and come up with some fresh ideas on the aged formula.

  3. I am a long term fan of the Fable series and I am telling you right now that if Fable 4 is to come out only to be able to be played needing an internet connection at all times, it will lose a fraction of it’s fans just for the simple fact that not all of Fable’s fans have a internet connection at all times. For example, Yes I have multiple downloadable content for all my Fable games, but I do not have internet access. I would be highly disappointed myself to know that a game that I prefer over Call Of Duty and Halo all day long is released and I have no way of playing it. I honestly think that Fable 4 should stick to the same concept of playing as it always has and make it an option to play your game through the internet.

Leave Your Reply