Fable Legends (lost build of cancelled Xbox One/PC action role-playing game; 2013-2016)

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Cover art of Fable Legends.

Status: Lost

Fable Legends is a cancelled Action-RPG multiplayer game that was developed by Lionhead Studios and was to be published by Microsoft Studios (now known as Xbox Game Studios) for the Xbox One and PC. The game was in development from 2013 to 2016, in which Microsoft was estimated by news sources detailing the cancellation of the game and the subsequent closure of Lionhead Studios to have spent $75 million making the game, making it one of the most expensive cancelled video games of all time.[1]

Unlike other Fable games, which were single-player Action-RPG games, Fable Legends would have been a free-to-play online multiplayer game that would have focused on 4v1 battles between the heroes and villains, with four players controlling the heroes and one player controlling a villain.[2]

Plot and Gameplay

The game's plot was said to have taken place 400 years before the start of the Fable games, where four heroes compete and co-operate with each other to claim the monster-invested lands of Albion.[3]

Each of the heroes that can be played in-game were said to be unique from each other and can be filled in with other online players or AI, and their main goal is to work together as a team and clear quest objectives.

The villain player, on the other hand, is focused on stopping the hero players from completing their objectives and acted as a dungeon master that controls their quest and can order armies of minions to attack the heroes, set up gates to damage and split up players, as well as use traps to distract them. Villain players can also use the SmartGlass technology to set out their plan of attack.[4]

In order to play the game, for Xbox One players, the player must have an Xbox Live Gold subscription in order to download the game, while Windows 10 users had the game be free-to-play without an Xbox Live Gold membership. The two versions would allow in-game progress to be synched to each version of the game, allowing cross-play on both platforms.[5]


Fable Legends's development started in the Summer of 2012, sometime after one of the co-founders of Lionhead, Peter Molyneux, left the company in 2012 out of frustration of not being able to make games that weren't sequels to Fable. Several of the original staff at Lionhead also chose to leave around the same time as Molyneux, also feeling restricted by Microsoft's ownership of the company (which they acquired in 2006).[2]

The remaining staff at Lionhead wanted to work on a proper single-player Fable 4 game, which developer John McCormack described as being "darker and grittier" than the previous games and would have focused on British mythology, with Bowerstone becoming a fantasy version of London.[2][6] However, the pitch for Fable 4 was then rejected by Microsoft because they wanted a "games as a service"-type game that could compete with other popular games at the time like League of Legends.[1][2]

The game was first announced to the public on August 20th, 2013, with a cinematic trailer that was directed by Ben Hibon and was narrated by the late actor Michael Gambon (best known for playing Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter films) as the villain. The game's first gameplay demonstration would be made available in June 2014 by the development team.

A closed multiplayer beta of the game on the Xbox One was stated to be made available on October 16th, 2015.[7]

Cancellation and Availability

The game was initially slated to be released in 2015 but was delayed to 2016 due to Lionhead wanting to polish more of the game.

On March 7th, 2016, it was announced by Microsoft that they would be closing Lionhead Studios and cancelling Fable Legends in the process. Sources close to Lionhead said that factors like the game's high production costs, constant delays and a lack of player interest were reasons for the game's cancellation.[1][2]

Despite the game's cancellation, the game's closed multiplayer beta would continue to be made available until April 13th, 2016, in which the servers for the game would permanently shut down, making beta testers of the game eligible for refunds of any in-game purchases and making the game unplayable.[8][9]

No build of the game's closed beta has surfaced yet, likely because of the game relying on DRM servers and a strict non-disclosure agreement,[2] but all that remains of Fable Legends is the game's trailers and screenshots taken of the game.


Fable Legends announcement trailer.

Fable Legends E3 2015 trailer.

IGN's live demonstration gameplay video of Fable Legends at E3 2014.

A compilation of all released trailers for Fable Legends.

External Links