As one of the most well-known RPG franchises, fans were thrilled when Lionhead Studios unveiled Fable Legends, currently in development for the Xbox One. Apparently, the days of a single hero of Albion are behind us, as Legends will include four different characters for the player to inhabit.
Multiple playable classes of characters in an RPG is nothing new, but the differences between the game’s heroes seem to go much deeper than their weapon of choice.
Game director David Eckleberry explained to OXM that different players may be drawn to different heroes based on more than just their combat strategies. And for some of the potential lead characters, the term ‘hero’ might not even be accurate:
“Different characters have their own different moralities, and there will be options you have along the way in your quest of doing something that’s good or not so good, but most of your character’s personality is established when you choose which character you want to play.”
“Some of our characters are dashing and brave and they’re practically Superman – they’re trying to do everything right all the time… Some of our characters are in it for the money. Some of our characters are a little bit too violent, but they can kill these creatures and the rest of the world doesn’t really mind – nobody wants to arrest them. So they like violence, but because they’re on the side of good, they can get away with it.”
The series has made its name by being one of the most successful games to truly embrace moral choices, often giving players the opportunity to make their hero character into either a paragon of virtue, or a complete monster. It’s no surprise to hear that Legends will be following suit – even letting players play the villain – but exactly how that philosophy translates into a gameplay experience, particularly a well-balanced one, is still a bit unclear.
Lionhead has put plenty of emphasis on the online connectivity they’ll be using to keep trolls or griefers at bay, but Eckleberry gave a more nuts-and-bolts- explanation on how players will build their characters through the main story:
“There are stories that are part of the main quest, there are side stories you can go on, that are part of that main story arch, and there are stories that matter more to your individual character, so your character can grow and develop as time goes on. You’ll see your character’s interaction with other heroes. They’ll get better at it. They can develop relationships.”
Lionhead may have run into trouble with Fable: The Journey, but they’re going into the next generation with their eyes on all new frontiers of online gameplay. In the short term, Fable: Legends will need to bring a story and gameplay strong enough to prop up Lionhead’s ten-year plan for supporting the title.
What are your hopes for Legends? Do you believe that Lionhead can make a game this big while making every character and path worthwhile? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.
Fable Legends will be released exclusively for the Xbox One, with a Beta expected in 2014.
Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.