The world of Fable has always mixed high fantasy action and deep storylines with a witty and whimsical flair that never takes itself too seriously. The trend looks to be continuing with Fable III. We checked in with Mark Llabres Hill, Fable III's lead writer, and asked him to help us get ready for the new game by reminding us of the major features of the world of Albion from previous titles, and giving a brief glimpse into where things are headed in this new installment.

“While Fable has its origins in a mixture of dark fairy tales and high fantasy, grounded by lots of silly humor, with Fable III we’ve transitioned to a more human-centered story,” Hill tells us. “The modern world has pushed the more magical elements underground. Industry, politics, poverty, warfare, and drama have become more important than woodland fairies or ancient rituals and magical artifacts. For that reason, we don’t dwell too much on the events of previous games – at least not in the main story. The world has moved on – and people have forgotten about these legends as they concentrate on simple survival. But the world is still full of side-stories that are completely steeped in the lore of past games.”

Nonetheless, there are some mainstays of the Fable world that we’ll definitely see again, but in a new light. Perhaps the most important returning idea is the heritage of characters from which the game’s protagonist arises. “Probably the most important aspect to learn if you haven’t played a Fable before is the idea of Heroes themselves,” Hill suggests. “Long ago there existed Guilds of Heroes, where powerful and magically gifted individuals would gather, unbound by morality. These people were a cross between knights, superheroes, wizards, and adventurers. Their powers were connected to an ancient bloodline and their symbol was the Guild Seal. Over time, these Heroes became more and more rare as the bloodline diluted, emerging sporadically, like a random mutated gene, if you want to think of it in those terms, until the Guild disappeared completely. By the start of Fable III, there are no Heroes left at all, and the Fable II Hero is considered to have been the last.”

In addition to a continued exploration of that vaunted heritage of heroes, there are also places within the world that may be familiar. One of the most important is a location that long time players should easily remember. “The city of Bowerstone is at the heart of Albion, and in many ways at the heart of the series. At the start of each game, we try plot a path through new regions and let players discover places on the map they’ve never seen before. It keeps the world fresh for both them and us,” Hill says. “But Bowerstone is part of Fable’s identity, not just because it’s the capital of the kingdom, but because it has such iconic landmarks: the town square with its clock tower, the bridge, the river, the lake on the outskirts. It has undergone two major changes since Fable II, though. The first is the process of industrialization, which has really transformed parts of the city, with its factories, smoke, and busy port. The second is Bowerstone castle, which was little more than a landscape feature last time around, but is now a key center of power.”