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One of the few properties under Microsoft's belt that still carries some notable brand recognition is Fable. The game series hasn't been faring too well this generation, and Microsoft closed down the original development studio, Lionhead Studios. However, that doesn't mean that there isn't a future for the popular game series.
Speaking to Gamespot, Xbox general manager Shannon Loftis explained that the series is still near and dear to Microsoft's heart and that beyond the card game nothing can be said for certain right now but it's still on the company's radar...
Fable is very near and dear to my heart. Actually one of the primary reasons [I moved to England] was to work with the team on Fable II. Fable Fortune is now out, the card game. We love the IP. I can't talk right now about whether we're doing anything with it or not, but if I ever get the chance to go back to Albion ...
The last outing for Fable has been Fable Fortune, a free-to-play card collecting game that some remnants of Lionhead had been working on in their spare time. Before Fable Fortune there was supposed to be another game in the form of Fable Legends, but late in development development Microsoft pulled the plug and shut down Lionhead Studios.
The game was supposed to be a multiplayer MOBA-style game with some asymmetric mechanics. However, just before the game entered into open beta, it was canceled. The game didn't garner a whole lot of hype due to the fact that it was originally scheduled to come out during a time when games like DOTA 2, League of Legends, and SMITE are currently saturating the market.
The gameplay centered around four players taking on the role of heroes and another player (or AI) taking on the role of the villain. The idea was to play through the game either as a hero or villain to complete quests.
Much like the free-to-play MOBAs, there would have been free hero and villain rotations so that players would be able to play as a select number of characters at anyone time but also be able to permanently purchase the characters by buying them from the cash shop.
The game never made that far, however, and Microsoft pulled the plug due to a steep lack of interest from the community and a market that didn't seem very accommodating for yet another game similar to the likes of Evolve.
Many gamers wanted a more traditionally made Fable game, similar to Fable 1 through Fable 3, back when Peter Molyneux was working at Lionhead Studios. It's possible that Microsoft could return to the franchise and make a noteworthy, story-oriented, action-RPG once more.
Microsoft has been in a bit of a pickle lately when it comes to exclusives, canceling Scalebound earlier this year. There aren't many noteworthy exclusives on the horizon for the Xbox family of systems, but it sounds like Fable is still on the cards as a brand that Microsoft will tap when ready.