Announcing the Xbox Series X and PC game with a brief trailer this month, Microsoft said it marks “a new beginning for the legendary franchise,” which debuted in 2004 and was previously developed by the now defunct Lionhead Studios.
Xbox parent Microsoft acquired Playground following the release of several successful Forza Horizon titles, and Booty told the Guardian that the studio’s experience creating open world environments—“that attention to detail, the ability to represent these naturalistic landscapes”—made it a good fit for Fable.
“They also have a real passion for the IP and a unique point of view on what’s core to Fable,” he said. “Everything I’ve seen as the game progresses tells me this is going to be a very high-quality release.”
On mixing old and new ideas, Booty said: “With any kind of franchise like that, where you’ve had existing versions, there’s always that balance between what you’re going to bring forward, what still stands up, and what you want to add that’s new.
“It’s like the challenge of making a new Star Wars movie – there’s stuff that everyone wants you to bring along, but then you’ve got a responsibility to take that to new places and I trust Playground has a good vision for that.”
UK-based Playground has been staffing up for an RPG project for several years. Among others, it’s snapped up Anthem‘s lead environment artist, Ghost Recon Wildlands’ lead character artist, Hellblade’s lead animator, Metal Gear Solid V’s project manager, and a number of Rocksteady’s Arkham Knight scriptwriting team.
In total, around 200 people are understood to be working on Fable at Playground’s Leamington Spa studio.