Eurogamer Expo 2013: Fable Anniversary

Back in 2004, open world action role playing extravaganza Fable was released for the original Xbox.  The gorgeous setting and charming cast of characters gave players the chance to have a real impact on the world surrounding them, although famously not to the extent they had expected. 

The game was then re-released a year later as Fable: The Lost chapters with a whole host of new content aimed at addressing a number of issues raised by critics. 

Now it seems one pass wasn’t enough and almost a decade later, Lionhead took to the stage at this year’s Eurogamer Expo to give us a preview of Fable and the new high definition make over.

As well as spouting a completely overhauled HD graphics engine that has seen every single texture in the game re-mastered with greater fidelity, the sound design has been updated to come in-line with new technology, enabling the team at Lionhead to present Fable in the way they had originally intended.  Though we could only see the game being played on stage, the combat, lighting, special effects and environments all looked and sounded gorgeous thanks to integration with the Unreal Engine.

Like the previous update, as well as being given a visual polish, the game mechanics have been updated to bring it more in line with current expectations and iron out some of the frustrations people had with the series.  Alongside updates to improve loading times and make combat and movement more fluid, the most welcome addition will be that of a checkpoint based save system, meaning you won’t have to start from scratch if you die 40 minutes into a mission.

Fable has always been a series about choice and that now extends to the achievement system in Fable Anniversary.  As well as the usual mix of serious and silly tasks, certain achievements in the game will give players a choice as to how they wish to unlock them.  The example given on stage referred to one called ‘Definitely not on rails’ that can be unlocked by either visiting every single area in Albion or by making their character obese.  Be warned though, as the achievement will track the choice you made and display it for all your friends to see.

SmartGlass app integration has also been promised and aims to aid adventurers in their navigation of Albion and even enable players to view their surroundings with the original Fable 1 textures – similar to the system seen in Halo Anniversary.

Fable Anniversary is shaping up to be a decent love letter to the fans.  Seeing familiar series locations in glorious HD was a visual treat and Anniversary should provide more than enough of an excuse to don your halo or horns and venture back out into Albion when it releases next year.