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Xbox One exclusive Fable Legends will be a return to the series' "dark fairytale" roots, lead content designer Ben Brooks said today. That's great news for Fable fans who didn't like the steampunk look of the past couple games.

"We get a lot of fan feedback about the direction Albion has taken over the course of its development, and one of the things we hear a lot is people’s preference for magic over the more industrial direction of Fable 3," Brooks said on the official Lionhead blog. "This is a view shared by many here at Lionhead, and you’ll be pleased to hear we’ve taken this on board for Fable Legends."

Legends is set 400 years before the events of the first Fable. It's a time ruled by magic instead of technology. Albion's villages are isolated from each other by the harsh wilderness between them. As a result, each settlement has its own set of customs.

"While magic is more common, it’s also uncontrolled. Strange and dangerous creatures lurk everywhere outside the safety of the campfires and village walls. As a result, most people are content to travel only by listening to old stories, tales of a world far too scary to wander into. The most danger they tend to risk is scuttling down the bottom of the garden to clean out the chickens, and even that’s asking for trouble (some of the little clucky buggers have pretty sharp beaks). But not everyone hides by the fireside. Albion has always been able to find the special few willing to answer the call. Wanderers, adventurers, masters of Will. Old eccentrics and young upstarts. Heroes!"

It's smart of Lionhead to wind the clock back with Legends. By pushing the time period forward with each new game, they were moving away from the fantasy experience that drew fans in the first place. It was a trend they had to buck eventually. The thought of a modern-day Fable amuses me but would feel like a different series altogether.

Players won't brave the dangers of Albion alone. Legends introduces four-player online co-op to the series. If you're playing offline, you'll instead be joined by three A.I. companions.

Fellow players won't always be so helpful, though. The game allows sadistic players to become a "dungeon master" who throws monsters and traps at the heroes. Aspiring villains can command the forces of evil through their console or with any SmartGlass-enabled device.

Legends was announced last summer by Lionhead. They haven't revealed a release date yet.

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