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E3, Microsoft and Fable 4: totally bogus

The Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 as it’s more commonly known, takes place in Los Angeles Convention Center every June. Developers, publishers and manufacturers attend to advertise their upcoming projects to over 15,000 attendees over three days – and many more thousands of people view their presentations from the comfort of their own homes through the magic of the internet.

E3, Xbox briefing, stage, lights

I must confess that I don’t watch the event regularly myself, and the last time I did so was before the release of the current generation of consoles. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the hype before and after tends to kill any excitement I could have; similar to the overkill surrounding Fallout 76 and Red Dead Redemption in late 2018, the month of rumours leading up to E3 along with the number of news articles about the ‘shocking announcements’ for weeks afterwards really grinds my gears.

The second is that I find most of the presentations by the big names don’t cater for where I fall in their audience. I’m not what they’d call a ‘hardcore’ gamer before I don’t care about the specifications of upcoming hardware – I just want my consoles to run the games I’d like to play. But I don’t necessarily come under their ‘casual’ classification either, because I play video games four or five times a week and they’re my main form of entertainment. As I’ve written previously, I actually prefer them to movies.

But this year was different. This year even I’d not been able to avoid all E3 news and I’d seen a couple of articles about those recent Fable 4 leaks. On 04 June 2019, Twitter user Nibel spotted a Reddit post which allegedly detailed information on the unconfirmed game including the demise of Albion and time-travel. Although such things should always be taken with a pinch of salt, if any of the details contained are true then we’re looking at an instalment which is going to be a lot different from what we’ve come to know from the fantasy series.

Fable has held a special place in my heart since its original release in 2004. It was the title that managed to get me back into gaming after the point in my teenage years where I suddenly realised that others didn’t view my hobby in the same way I did. After trying to change to fit in and becoming very unhappy as a result, getting the chance to play it made me see I still wanted to go on adventures, believe in fairy-tales and become the hero – and there was absolutely nothing wrong with me because of that.

I booked time off of work when Fable II was released in 2008 so I could buy it as soon as possible and spend the entire day playing it. It turned out to be everything the first game was and way more: here was sequel which surpassed the original and remains on my list of favourites even today. But sadly, the same couldn’t be said of Fable III in 2010. It went downhill not too long after the opening credits and I came away from the experience disappointed, wondering whether my beloved series would ever get back on track.

That’s why I found myself putting down the controller and firing up Twitch last Sunday evening, ready for Microsoft’s E3 presentation stream. Surely there had to be some details about Fable 4 after those leaks and last year’s news that Playground Games were working on something? I settled on the sofa full of anticipation as the clock slowly counted down towards the start time, before the screen filled with a cheering audience in front of a huge stage and far too many spotlights.

There were some highlights during the next 90 minutes. Although the majority of games revealed seemed to be standard Microsoft fare of shooter sequels and remakes, there were a couple of titles that caught my eye. 12 Minutes, an interactive thriller about a man caught in a time loop by Luis Antonio, has an interesting top-down style and looks as though it would be right up my street. And although I won’t be brave enough to play it myself, I can see me making my other-half play Blair Witch by Bloober Team so I can watch from behind my hands.

But there were also some lowlights too. Double Fine Productions is the latest Xbox Game Studios acquisition (which may turn out well for them because they’ve struggled to secure funding in the past, but we’ve seen bad things happen to small teams who get bought out). Microsoft are pushing the Xbox Game Pass at every opportunity to the point where I’m sick of hearing about it. Few details about Project Scarlett were shared. And everybody forgot about the games when Keanu Reeves made an unexpected appearance on stage (a ‘totally bogus’ publicity stunt).

And the biggest frustration: no news about Fable 4 at all in that hour-and-a-half. Not even a hint. Maybe the news of a series resurrection was a little premature; or perhaps there were so many other games to unveil during the presentation, that Microsoft decided to hold onto the next Fable instalment until there’s more progress to show off. I’m guessing that we’re going to have to wait until this time next year for any real information, when the company might reveal it as a Project Scarlett launch title at the next expo.

My disappointment is my own fault for listening to hype leading up to the event. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of hearing about a title you’ve been waiting for, then only to be let down. Next year I think I’ll go back to my previous tactic of staying away from all news, and play video games on those E3 days while other people watch presentations about them.

Kim View All

Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

14 thoughts on “E3, Microsoft and Fable 4: totally bogus Leave a comment

  1. Situations like this are the main reason I don’t pay any attention to “leakers” — even leaving aside the fact that there have been numerous proven cases of supposed leakers just outright lying to troll everyone. It really sucks to hear that something you’re really hoping for *might* get announced, then it doesn’t. Conversely, if you’re expecting nothing then you get blown away by something it’s all the more pleasurable!

    That said, it’s not unheard of for something to be omitted from the big press conferences then get announced later in the week. Fingers crossed on your behalf! 🙂

    I tend to ignore most of the press conferences except Nintendo, since Nintendo has consistently given me what I want — including some things I never thought I’d see over here, like that Collection of Mana! The other big hitters, though — the ones who talk about things like “the quality and excellence our consumers expect from our brand” rather than “here’s a frickin’ awesome game we’ve been working our asses off on” — tend to leave me cold, so if I catch up on them at all, I do so well after the fact.

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    • The only E3 presentation I watched this year was that from Microsoft and it put me off sitting through the others. Not just because of the Fable 4 incident – but because so much of it sounded just like a presentation a supplier would give me at work! So many flowery words but very little detail or real meaning. 😕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry to hear (er…read?) that you got roped into watching the presentation only to be disappointed. What’s even worse is the timing for these bloody things is only really convenient for folks in North America. Having to go out of your way to be disappointed makes it all the worse.

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    • A few friends said I should watch the Bethesda presentation but at 01:30 in the morning (and with having to get up for work the next day) it just wasn’t possible! I’m kind of glad I didn’t, because the Microsoft one was more than enough. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I, too, was quite sad that Fable 4 was omitted from the E3 proceedings. Even just a mention that it was still happening, at the very least, would have been better than nothing.

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    • I completely agree. If someone could just come out and confirm it’s actually being made – without even showing any gameplay or screenshots – it would be enough to keep me going until next year! ha ha

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  4. Leaks and YouTube nonsense have ruined “news” for me, that’s why I stay in my happy place in the WordPress community. Everyone else is just looking for clicks and ad revenue.

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      • Yes! To be fair some of the larger news outlets like GameSpot, Polygon, Giant Bomb and so on, they do a really good job of covering E3 and disseminating the information, but I also enjoy reading the Edge/official Xbox/PlayStation coverage when that arrives on my doorstep about 6 weeks later haha.

        I think I need to hit EGX again this year, now my son is a bit older and we have in-laws around, I should be able to sneak off for a couple of days! I felt at home there the first time I went, I missed Rezzed again this year as well, it’s time to make the effort! These shows are more about the community/gamers now than “trade” shows like they used to be I feel.

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        • Yes, come to EGX! We’ve already got our tickets sorted for the Thursday and Friday, so I’ll sort out the coffees those days if you’re able to make it.

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