Tracing the origin of Fable is a fun thing to do. Project Ego, the codename for Lionhead's fabulous role-playing game, is well-documented. But what is not well-documented is the game that came before it: Wishworld.
Wishworld is the subject of the latest episode of People Make Games, the YouTube series from ex-Eurogamer video person Chris Bratt. It offers a wonderful insight into Wishworld, which sounds nothing much like Fable at all. In fact, in many ways, it sounds more ambitious.
In an interview with Dene Carter, co-creator of Fable, Bratt reveals the kind of game Wishworld was intended to be. You'd play a wizard in an academy who was charged with remaking a barren landscape using a raft of spells. Character archetypes included everything from a Victorian gentleman to a guardian angel and her charge.
Alongside brilliant animation work from People Make Games' Anni Sayers, Bratt paints a picture of the intriguing Wishworld. You could create fantastic beasts, grow them to enormous sizes and ride them into battle, all the while building mountains that could turn into volcanoes.
Unfortunately, Lionhead failed to convince a publisher to fund development of Wishworld, so it was retooled into Project Ego, a game that would let the player decide the kind of character they wanted to be. Project Ego was eventually snapped up by Microsoft and became one of the leading Xbox exclusive franchises.
The People Make Games video is well worth a watch if you're into your video game origin stories, and offers a cool insight into the brains behind Fable. Of course, Lionhead is no more - Microsoft shut the legendary Guildford studio back in 2016 and we haven't heard anything official from the wonderful world of Fable since Fable Legends was canned (for more, check out our feature, Lionhead: the inside story).
But maybe, just maybe, Fable lives on...