Fable Anniversary

Key events

What's Fable really all about?

With a new game in development with a new team, what truly drives this fascinating series?

Good and evil is barely the start of it, frankly. Fable is one of those rare, fascinating game series upon which nobody can really seem to agree about anything for very long. It's a shallow RPG, or maybe it's a canny and satirical examination of RPGs in general. It's hilarious - oh, the burping! Or maybe it's just juvenile. Let's face it: Fable's easy to the point of being obsequious, isn't it? Or maybe it's choosing to measure itself in ways that go beyond mere difficulty? It's no surprise, then, that with all this discussion churning around it, the world of Albion is so often defined by a mechanic that it doesn't even contain.

In October 2008, Microsoft released Lionhead's Fable 2 to critical and commercial acclaim. At a launch party an emotional Peter Molyneux held aloft glowing reviews and praised the exhausted team of developers who had spent the previous four years pouring everything they had into the game. Fable 2 would go on to win a BAFTA and become the best-selling role-playing game for the Xbox 360. Lionhead was on top of the world.

A celebration of Lionhead's finest games

One of Albion's greatest legends.

The best games create stories as well as telling them, and when you ask people about a Lionhead game there's usually a good one. A friend told me how, when playing Black & White, he'd found his inscrutable cow-god familiar taking a dump in the village's food supply. He went to punish it, mis-clicked, and instead petted the beast. From then on the cow went out of its way to poo on food, and no amount of beatings would dissuade it. My friend persevered with his save for days before, finally, admitting defeat and starting over - left only with the memory of handing out monotonous beatings to a bewildered, unhappy, constantly-befouled creature.

Fable Anniversary Steam release date set for next week

Fable Anniversary is coming to PC via Steam on 12th September.

It will generally go for 26.99, but pre-orders are 20 per cent off at 21.59.

This anniversary edition includes enhanced HD graphics, the Lost Chapters bonus content, and an all new extra-challenging Heroic difficulty setting.

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Fable Anniversary review

Fable Anniversary review

Albion my way, then.

"Hello, Arseface!"

That cheery greeting, delivered in a broad West Country accent, sums up the Fable experience better than any marketing blurb ever did. It's certainly more representative than "for every choice, a consequence", a now decade-old promise as bold as it was hollow. Shy of a few binary good/evil decisions, almost anything you do in Fable can be reversed, or is forgotten about within minutes. In this new Anniversary edition for Xbox 360, my virtuous hero sports a faint halo as he ambles around Albion, despite having killed enough innocents to fill Oakvale Cemetery several times over. No, while Fable might have helped to popularise - if not pioneer - the kind of moral dilemmas that have become so prevalent in games over the past decade, its defining characteristics are its light-hearted and very British ambience and humour.

It's odd that such a gentle, unassuming fantasy RPG series should attract the level of vitriol that the Fable games do, but that's a lesson in the danger of failing to meet expectations. Six years in the making meant six years of Peter Molyneux promising the earth, and when Fable finally arrived and acorns you knocked down from trees didn't spawn mighty oaks, as Molyneux had claimed, some were understandably unhappy, and no amount of impromptu farting and chicken-kicking contests could appease them. And yet for others it was a delight: a whimsical, silly and engaging adventure that didn't take itself too seriously and was all the better for it.

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Definitely not on rails

Post-Molyneux, Fable and Lionhead enter the next generation.

It's a grey January morning and the rain batters the windows of the taxi taking me from Guildford train station to Surrey Research Park. Typical English weather, then, as I head to the home of a developer which has been making typically English video games for a decade.

Fable Trilogy confirmed for February

Fable Trilogy confirmed for February

Includes Fables 2, 3 and Anniversary "at a discounted rate."

Fable Trilogy - a collection that includes Fable 2, Fable 3, and the upcoming remake of the first game, Fable Anniversary - has been confirmed for a 7th February release.

This is the same day as Fable Anniversary standalone.

The listing appeared on the Xbox Marketplace, where it noted that it "offers these games together at a discounted rate over individual purchases." Furthermore, it added that this collection won't receive any enhancements to the earlier releases of Fables 2 and 3. "The games in this bundle are available as individual downloads in the Xbox Games marketplace and are exactly the same," Microsoft stated.

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Fable Anniversary release date and bonuses announced

Fable Anniversary release date and bonuses announced

Coming to the UK on 7th February with limited edition DLC.

Lionhead Studios has announced a 7th February release date for Fable Anniversary, the HD remake of Fable 1.

The Xbox 360 title will launch in North America a few days before, on 4th February, Lionhead announced.

First run copies of Fable Anniversary will also include a set of in-game bonuses. You'll get a Launch Day Outfits & Weapons Pack included, as well as a code for a Lion-head Avatar hat.

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Fable 3 is free from Xbox.com right now

UPDATE: It's part of Microsoft's new Plus-like initiative.

Update #2: The Fable 3 giveaway was intended by Microsoft. It's part of a new two-free-games-a-month deal that will, at some point, include Halo 3 and Assassin's Creed 2.