The strange fate of Fable – the Xbox Zelda who did not live up to the blown promises


In 2001, the gaming industry made several announcements. Among others, ICO and Aliens: Colonial Marines. Both games were supposed to land on PlayStation 2. Only one of them managed to do so.

For me, however, an important announcement, followed with a long delay in gaming magazines, was the game that was tentatively called Project EGO . It was from it that the game for the original Xbox – Fable soon evolved.

Project EGO evolved from another project that only ended up creating a concept and trying to get funding: WishWorld . It was to be a simulation of a magical world, the shaping of which players have a great influence. They would be able to build a base and hire creatures to whom you can give orders. One of the ideas was to run mini-games on portable devices (PDAs – there were no smartphones then), which enriched the game world. WishWorld was described with these words:

Enemy wizards contributed to the creation of a world in which we play different roles. We will have to fight them to defeat them. Imagine a three-dimensional Zelda, where the environment is constantly changing, and our actions and that of other players shape these changes.

Nothing came out of WishWorld (although the YouTube channel People Make Games reached a working build of the game), but the era of cooperation between Microsoft and Sega began. It was thanks to it that the Dreamcast console ran a system based on a heavily modified Windows.

Initially, the project EGO, created by an outstanding personality of the gaming industry, Peter Molyneux, was intended for the Dreamcast console. However, two facts made it not so. First, Dreamcast turned out to be a commercial failure. Second, Microsoft started working on its own console, which would eventually become the original Xbox. Then it was decided that Project EGO could be released on the planned console of the giant from Redmond.

At that time, the project was large. The company boasted a team of 70 programmers, and the game possibilities promised by Molyneux delighted. In an article that appeared on IGN in 2002 about Project EGO (still at that time), we can read:

Don’t you believe this game will be intelligent? Let’s say you’re a mean kid and one day you’ll hurt another kid. This wound will become a scar. If you return to the same town twenty years later, this kid will have the same scar and he will hate you. Similarly with the wounds inflicted on trees: cut your name in the bark and you will see it there many years later.

And mostly those unfulfilled promises after the game’s premiere (shortly after the IGN article was renamed Fable ) were picked up by reviewers and disappointed players. The game was really great and even outstanding. She was the Xbox Zelda. But compared to blown promises, she must have come out poorly. Peter Molyneux has learned to moderate his promises a little (but only a little).

The finished game had most of the elements promised by Project EGO and most of the locations shown in the early screenshots. The player could indeed be good or bad, he could gain recognition from his followers and fans, he could also buy houses and get married with most of the NPCs present in the game. The game offered freedom and a huge world to explore.

However, for many, it was precisely what was not in the game that influenced its assessment.

  • The game was much more linear than promised. The player was given freedom, but not complete due to the unifying storyline.
  • The co-op multiplayer has been completely removed from the game.
  • The smooth flow of time and the change of seasons have been almost completely removed.

Although Fable turned out to be a good game, the creators overdid their promises. Fable 2 and Fable 3, while some fans liked them, were also a disappointment.

I am one of those fans who liked all the games in the universe (maybe apart from the simple Fable Heroes on Xbox Live Arcade). All the more I am waiting for the next installment of the series, announced a few days ago during the Xbox Games Showcase .

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The strange fate of Fable – the Xbox Zelda who did not live up to the blown promises