The Fable franchise is in bad shape. Since the release of Fable 3, the general consensus has been that the Fable series is continually getting worse. There are still plenty of gamers who enjoy the series, myself included, but the mistakes made in each game overshadow all of the progress that is made.
Earlier today, Peter Molyneux revealed the latest Fable game. The game is called “Fable: The Journey” and bares little resemblance to any previous game in the Fable franchise. The new game resembles an on-rails shooter more than an RPG and takes place entirely on and around a horse drawn carriage. Something is threatening Albion and it is your job to protect Theresa as you journey across Albion.
Hopefully there is a little more to the story than that, but we don’t have details right now.
The combat is entirely magic-based and Kinect-based. They definitely has some interesting ideas for a motion-based game, but it is extremely disappointing for the majority of the Fable fan-base. While other RPG series are making great strides to both be accessible and better, Fable is becoming little more than a mini-game.
With a few changes, Fable could get back on track to becoming a great RPG franchise.
3. A Simplified and Traditional Menu System
Fable 2 has a menu system that has far too many options and becomes difficult to use once you have a large number of items to scroll through. Fable 3 introduced an interesting “menu” that was actually as series of rooms. It works well for the most part, but it is not as easy as quickly opening a traditional menu and clicking an option. Switching your melee weapon requires that you open the “menu,” walk into the room for weapons, then locate the weapon you want on the wall and then select it.
Fable needs a simplified menu. Interface design is continually improving in all electronic forms of entertainment and Fable needs to follow the lead of other developers.
2. Equipment that Means Something
As great as it is to be able to choose whatever clothing you like, it makes no sense that wearing full knight’s armor doesn’t offer more defense than a wizard’s robe. Legendary weapons are an important part of each game, but there is no legendary armor (and if there was it wouldn’t matter). There should be special types of armor that are better than others and an armor stat to improve and decrease with new clothing.
Sometimes adding an additional layer of “complexity” will actually improve the game. Right now, no matter what you do enemies will always kill you just as quickly as before. Of course, dying in Fable is also irrelevant…
1. A Game Over Screen
In Fable 2 and 3 you cannot die. Losing all of your health causes you to briefly fall over and then you can continue playing as if nothing happened. The developers need to bring back the Game Over screen and give players a chance to actually lose. It’s always a great idea to balance the challenge of the game to make it less-than-impossible, but removing the ability to lose doesn’t improve the game.
No matter how powerful or overwhelmed your hero is, it is irrelevant when the outcome is always a win. This is the biggest problem Fable needs to fix. I’d like to think that Fable: The Journey will include a Game Over screen. If it does, it would be one of the only good things the game brings to Fable.