FableFable is an action role-playing open world video game in the Fable series. It was developed for Xbox, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows platforms, by Big Blue Box, a satellite developer of Lionhead Studios, and was published by Microsoft. The game shipped for Xbox on 14 September 2004. An extended version of the game, Fable: The Lost Chapters, was released for Xbox and Microsoft Windows in September 2005; Feral Interactive ported the game to the Mac platform on 31 March 2008 and Robosoft Technologies created the platform after a delay of more than two years due to licensing issues.
Originally developed under the name Project Ego, Fable's development involved more than 150 people. The game's music was composed by Russell Shaw, with the opening title theme written by Oscar-nominated composer Danny Elfman. The game's release was widely anticipated, due in part to Lionhead creator Peter Molyneux's enthusiastic hype of the game.
Fable was well received by critics for the quality of its gameplay and execution, though the failure to include many promised features was noted. Fable was the top-selling game of September 2004 and sold more than two million units by 2007. The game was followed by two sequels, Fable II in 2008, and Fable III in 2010. A high-definition remake of the game, entitled Fable Anniversary, which includes The Lost Chapters was released on February 2014 for the Xbox 360.
Fable PlotOn his sister's birthday, a young boy's village of Oakvale is raided by bandits; apparently killing the boy's entire family. An old Hero, Maze, rescues the boy, seeing great potential in him; Maze trains the boy to become a Hero at the Heroes' Guild. Years pass; after honing his skills, Maze informs the Hero of a blind seeress living among a bandit camp near Oakvale, and advises the Hero to infiltrate the bandit camp. To the Hero's surprise, the blind seeress is actually his older sister Theresa who was taken in by Twinblade, a former Hero and the present Bandit King. After a showdown with Twinblade, the Hero is given the choice of killing or sparing the bandit.
Later on in the Hero's life, after he has gained more recognition among the people of Albion, he is invited to fight in the Arena, where he meets the legendary Hero named Jack of Blades, who runs the arena battles. As a final challenge, Jack pits the Hero against his rival Whisper; when the Hero defeats her he may kill or spare her.
The Hero learns that Jack of Blades himself destroyed Oakvale during the Hero's childhood; aided by Theresa, the Hero discovers his mother alive in Bargate Prison. The Hero is captured in the rescue attempt and spends a year or more in the prison before finally escaping. Maze is revealed to be a traitor and working with Jack. Maze kidnaps Theresa. After defeating Maze, the Hero is led into a final confrontation with Jack where his mother is killed. Jack reveals that The Sword of Aeons can only be wielded if it receives the blood of Archon. Upon the death of their mother, the Hero and Theresa are the only two remaining descendants of Archon, and if Jack destroys them both the sword will be even more powerful. After defeating Jack, the Hero must choose whether to keep the Sword of Aeons by killing his sister, or cast it away forever into a portal created by Jack of Blades' death.
Depending on the Hero's alignment and the player's choice of using or destroying the sword, there are a total of four different endings. Once the ending credits roll, players can resume their games.
In The Lost Chapters special edition, the story continues. After the defeat of Jack, the Hero must find passage to the Northern Wastes to aid a legendary hero named Scythe in stopping an unknown great evil from returning. Should the hero have discarded the Sword of Aeons he will have the opportunity to gain the sword "Avo's Tear", a sword of similar design and equal power but that holds a light alignment rather than dark. After a series of quests revolving around this new evil, it is learned that Jack of Blades has returned. He must then defeat Jack of Blades a second time, Jack having returned from the dead in the form of a dragon. Upon the death of Jack, the hero then uses Jack's mask to capture Jack's soul, with Scythe telling him that the battle is not over and that he must destroy the mask. The hero then has the final choice of putting on the mask - being consumed by Jack in the process - or destroying it, along with Jack, forever.
Fable GameplayFable is a role-playing video game where players control their character from a third person perspective. The main character, known as The Hero of Oakvale, can interact with people and objects as well as battle foes. The goal of Fable is to complete missions called quests that advance the game's plot, but Fable also features optional quests and allows players to pursue actions not directly tied to story completion.
Most quests are acquired at a central location, known as the Heroes' Guild; required quests are marked with a gold symbol and advance the game's story, while optional quests are coloured silver and can be completed in any order. Some quests allow players to pick sides and aid either evil characters, such as bandits, or good characters, such as traders and guardsmen. Players can also boast after accepting a quest, wagering some of the quest's reward gold in exchange for a larger return if the player accomplishes their bet, such as sustaining no damage or undertaking the quest naked. Each quest's completion gives players gold, which can be used to buy weapons and items, and renown, which affects the way townspeople react to the Hero. Heroes also earn trophies of their victories, which can be displayed to large groups of townspeople to earn more renown.
In addition to fighting with melee weapons (such as swords and maces) and ranged weapons (longbows and crossbows), Heroes can learn and use spells to empower their abilities, ward off damage, or harm foes. As players complete quests or defeat enemies, they gain general experience as well as experience based on whether they used melee attacks, ranged weapons, or magic; these bestow Strength, Skill, and Will experience, respectively. Experience can be spent at a platform in the Heroes Guild to level up attributes. General experience can be used to modify all groups of attributes. Strength experience can only be used to modify three attributes: Physique, Health, and Toughness. The same applies to Skill which can only modify Speed, Accuracy, and Guile. Will can be used to upgrade your total magic power or to learn and upgrade spells which are broken into three groups, Attack Spells, Surround Spells, and Physical Spells. The experience the main character gains can be multiplied during combat through the combat multiplier. As the character successfully hits an enemy, his combat multiplier increases. If the character is hit by the enemy, the combat multiplier drops down to the next multiple of five, or zero if below five.
Fable's game world is dotted with towns where recreational activities not related to combat can be undertaken. Enterprising Heroes can buy trade items such as beer kegs or grain sacks and sell them at other towns for profit. Towns are also prime locations to buy clothing, weapons, or other items. Many towns have houses for sale, which the Hero can buy, furnish, or lease to tenants for gold. Heroes may woo and marry men or women in each town.
ReceptionFable received generally positive reviews from critics. The original Xbox version of the game has an aggregate critic score of 85% at both Metacritic and Game Rankings. The game won more than fifty awards, and became the Xbox's fastest-selling game up to that time.
Fable's combat was praised. Staff from 1UP.com complimented the multiple approaches to combat which the publication stated made the game more a mini-game of its own. "Combat becomes its own minigame, with the goal not solely to beat a foe, but to beat it with skill and get the most from every fight. Slaughter becomes irrelevant, and the fights never become tedious."
Though pointing out several flaws in the game such as bland character designs, Marc Saltzman of USAToday.com stated that the game "should satisfy you with its incredible depth, open-ended game play, and a solid story that gets even better about half-way through the adventure." Fable has been praised for its concept of free will and having consequences for the Hero's actions. Other aspects of the game positively received included the game's tongue-in-cheek characters and what The Observer called a "very British sense of humour, in the style of Monty Python or Douglas Adams".
The short length of the main plot was criticised by reviewers, but many overlooked this due to the much larger array of side quests available to the player. One of the complaints that arose upon the release of Fable was the fact that it failed to include features that Peter Molyneux had mentioned while the game was still in development.
One of the features that were not included in the game's release was the Hero's ability to have children despite the fact that Molyneux had previously mentioned that the Hero's own children would be significant in the game. Molyneux reacted to these complaints by means of a public apology posted on the official Lionhead forums, on which he said, "If I have mentioned any feature in the past , for whatever reason, didn't make it as I described into Fable, I apologise."
The PC and Xbox versions of Fable: The Lost Chapters were also well-received, with slightly lower Metacritic and Game Rankings averages than the original title. Reviewers such as Greg Kasavin of GameSpot noted that the addition of new content helped prevent the game from becoming stale. 1UP.com previewed the game and found that the additive content didn't redefine Fable, but helped bulk up the available quests, addressing the complaint of how short the original Fable was. GamePro and IGN judged The Lost Chapters on PC as surpassing its console predecessor.
Fable was a commercial success upon release, selling 375,000 copies in North America during its first week, and 600,000 copies in the first month. The game sold more than two million units by late 2006. In 2005, a Microsoft Game Studios representative stated that Fable would be among the franchises that would appear on the next-generation Xbox 360. Sequels Fable II and Fable III were released in 2008 and 2010, respectively.
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