I know. Finally, we get some morsel of news regarding the future of the franchise. Rather than being continued by Lionhead Studios, Playground Games are now in charge of the title. Not only this, but rumours are swirling that it will be an MMO rather than a direct sequel.
French journalist @CronoTK appeared to predict the Showcase lineup ahead of the stream and has continued his now-seemingly-accurate leaking with the following:
Although it has been described as a “fresh start” for the series, no real information has come out. But it raises the question… Would it even be a good idea?
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Would A Fable MMO Cheapen Any Hero-Based Storylines ?
Every title in the Fable Series relies heavily on a singular protagonist. The trilogy of games encapsulates what it means to be the sole hero in an exciting adventure story. Can this be done in an MMO format?
To offer this rather simple question a rather simple answer: No. I don’t think this will work. In fact, this is one of the age-old issues I have with a lot of MMO titles. They always try to make you feel central to the story in an environment that is wholly positioned against this.
In an MMO, you can go from being thanked as the sole saviour of the world to brushing shoulders with ‘xX_GoblinSlayer32_Xx’ in seconds. You enter a cavernous dungeon that is abandoned for centuries with well-over a hundred other players already inside farming kills for gold pieces. The whole appeal of an MMO is that it lets you experience adventuring and tom-foolery with the world at your fingertips. I think this works with titles that are designed solely as an MMO or that fit into an existing universe, but as a spin-off from an established series?
Elder Scrolls Online is a strange one that dances precariously on the line of ruining what makes Elder Scrolls games so good. It’s combat shamefully conforms to the expectations of an MMO and completely removes what makes Skyrim a joy to play. It was released originally to fairly tame reviews, given Skyrim’s successes, and it’s easy to see why. It takes the ‘you are special’ out of the Elder Scrolls game and throws it into what is essentially a re-skinned World of Warcraft
Character Relationships Would Feel Like They Were Worth Less
In a similar trend, part of what made the Fable series such a triumph was its incredible array of side-characters. They were all full of personality and charm throughout the series, but will a Fable MMO mean that these characters would lose their charm?
Again, I find myself critical of the ‘mass-market-ness’ of MMO games. In my experience, it is very rare that an MMO character has any real memorable charm. For a lot of the time, in an MMO title, these characters are more of a stop-off point for giving and receiving quests. Rarely do I find myself enjoying their communications and feeling any kind of connection with them. The non-linear plotlines that MMOs operate on largely mean that no one character is in the frame for any real amount of time.
This essentially means it’s quite hard to develop any kind of connection to that character. In my opinion, anyway. With Fable games being so fantastic at bringing colourful and charismatic characters to the forefront of its experience, do you think they will be lost in an MMO format?
There Is A Risk Of Losing Everything That Makes Fable Unique.
I find myself concerned as to whether the integrity of the Fable series will survive being stretched across an MMO. The world and lore do, I admit, seem a good fit for further exploration, especially with the inclusion of factions and territories. However, it’s hard to imagine that the MMO genre is going to be revolutionised anytime soon. This is mainly given due to the sheer overwhelming success the format of gameplay still has.
I also believe that making a Fable MMO will remove any uniqueness from any in-game achievements. For example, the Fable III weapon morphing was a fantastic addition to the series that would simply not feel as special in an MMO format. This weapon system essentially tailored each weapon to suit your player depending on a number of factors and alignments. They may not be the strongest weapons in the game, but they do still offer the player a sense of wonder and uniqueness.
For example, if you kill a certain number of civilians, your weapons end up becoming more ‘evil’ in appearance. This continues the further down that path you venture. It’s something you feel like a Fable sequel or spin-off would easily be able to accommodate, especially considering today’s technology. But in an MMO format? Initially, it might feel unique, but then you’ll look to your left and see thirty other players wielding the same weapon. How fun.
Obviously, this is a discussion based on a rumour, but I think it raises an interesting question. Would Fable work as an MMO title?
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