Online is an integral part of video games in the modern age. For better or for worse, the last generation of console was dominated by online gaming with competitive matchmaking becoming a norm for most AAA game titles, helping make the eSports culture more mainstream. The popularity of series such as Halo, Call of Duty and FIFA meant that for many gamers, online play was the main reason to keep playing a game. The consequences of this were that several publishers became slaves to the trend, putting (forcing?) in needless multiplayer modes that took away from certain game as a whole.
One of the franchises that came out largely unscathed by excessive multiplayer capabilities was the Fable series. While Fable III did boast co-op capabilities, Lionhead Studios has never done anything quite on the scale of what it is attempting with the newly announced Fable Legends. The franchise’s next-gen debut, an Xbox One exclusive, is an ambitious online jump for the series, allowing up to four players the opportunity to work together in order thwart another player taking on the role of the villain.
In an interview with Digital Spy, Head of Lionhead Studios John Needham explained that this new online direction for the studio isn’t going to be exclusive to Fable Legends. Following the departure of Peter Molyneux, Needham – who has an MMO pedigree – took over the studio in his stead. With that pedigree, he said that all future games from the studio will boast “connected” aspects. Being candid about his roots, Neeham said, “We’re online game guys, that’s the studio. We love online games, we love interaction with real people, and we want to bring that magic to Fable”. He explained that interaction between characters and NPCs is what made the world of Albion a special place to play in. The goal of Fable Legends is to experiment with that dynamic and see what would happen if you substituted those interactions and brought in real players to the mix.
“Our vision is to connect players with fantastic games, so every game we do from hear on out will have great connected online layers.”
Talking further, he said that while they hadn’t quite figured it out, the team is trying to use the Xbox One’s cloud servers to matchmake players with friends and strangers. Although he didn’t explain how this would work, he did alluded to influences that the team are drawing from.
“It’s a combination of things; we’re inspired by games like Journey and Dark Souls, which have these really innovative online modes.”
The comment is an odd one as thus far, Fable Legends looks like it has a very direct approach to online play allowing you to set up games with friends, while both Journey and Dark Souls had more passive systems that limited interaction with other players. They were powerful multiplayer experiences though, and if Fable Legends can figure out a way to incorporate some of their elements into the game, it could be a great compliment the co-op heavy gameplay.
Fable Legends is an Xbox One exclusive that doesn’t have a release date yet. A beta will be playable in 2014.
Source: Digital Spy