Lionhead Showcases Fable Heroes For Xbox Live Arcade - Fable Heroes - Xbox 360 - www.GameInformer.com
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Fable Heroes

Lionhead Showcases Fable Heroes For Xbox Live Arcade

Lionhead's Fable series has graced the Xbox Live Arcade before, but Fable Pub Games was more of a minigame collection than a substantial stand-alone experience. Thanks to a small team of veteran developers from the series, fans will have access to a lighthearted new addition to the series that draws inspiration from Castle Crashers and Gauntlet. Fable Heroes will be coming to XBLA this year, and I came away impressed after playing it at Microsoft's Spring Showcase last week.

Fable has never been a particularly adult series, but Heroes makes the main series look like God of War by comparison. You'll play as one of a dozen hero dolls, and the entire world map takes place on what appears to be a large and intricate board game. Creator Ted Timmins told me that the idea for the game sprang from the tabletop board game mission in Fable III, which wound up being a fan favorite. With its puppet protagonists and slightly cartoonish visuals, the aesthetics of Fable Heroes may remind gamers of the charming look of Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet.

After choosing between characters like Hero, Hammer, Reaver, and more, you'll take to the game's eight stages. Trademark enemies such as the Hobbes and Hollow Men will try to impede your progress, and you can utilize melee, ranged, magic, and area attacks depending on who you've selected. There will always be four heroes onscreen, with any non-human player being replaced by an A.I.

An upgrade system is in place, and you can utilize it to strengthen yourself as well as any A.I. characters that have joined you. Gold coins are the only currency in the game, and it can be earned by defeating enemies, finding it in treasure chests, or winning end-level minigames. The biggest cash-grabber of the group will earn the most dice rolls in a game-within-a-game that pops up at the end of each stage. Each dice roll places you on a square that will allow you to purchase upgrades, provided you have enough coin.

Stages are based on areas from the series such as Bowerstone, Mistpeak, Hobbe caves, and more. In addition to the standard enemies, these levels frequently feature opportunities for distractions. Items like a giant mushroom or egg will appear during occasional "break times," and players compete to destroy it in a minigame reminiscent of the car stage from Street Fighter II. Instead of the morality system from the main series,  Fable Heroes has "Good or Evil?" treasure chest selections. If you open the Good chest, a random member of your crew may get a bonus along the lines of a gold jackpot. Open the Evil chest, and you may start up a game of Zap Tag, which summons a storm cloud above one player's head that knocks coins out of him or her at regular intervals. Since it's a game of tag, you can transfer this annoying cloud by touching any other player.

Two-thirds of the way through each level, players can opt to take on a boss or participate in a minigame. Either option can result in a large gold payout, but the latter pits players against each other rather than against a giant beetle or other baddy. I saw the Chicken Bomb minigame, which places players in a circular pen of exploding chickens. The last player alive gets the biggest gold bonus, and each hero has the ability to punt chickens around the area like a freakish game of Hot Potato.

Your gold can even be used outside of Heroes, thanks to a spot on the world map that's dedicated to the upcoming Fable: The Journey. If you're looking forward to the upcoming Kinect title, you can transfer any currency you've acquired in Heroes towards it. A similar feature was present in Fable Pub Games, and fans of the series should enjoy making progress in The Journey before it's even released.

Fable Heroes feels like a great fit for Xbox Live Arcade, and fans will certainly enjoy the many nods towards franchise trademarks. With four-player local multiplayer alongside drop-in, drop-out online play, it will also be the first time the series has featured support for more than two players. No specific date was announced for the game, but Lionhead stated that it will be out "several months" before The Journey. Keep an eye on the site, as we'll be sure to update as soon as a more specific release window is announced.

Comments
  • WHat? Make me a new FABLE 1 plz. and plz no guns, just bows and Armor ( and of course swords.

  • They just can't make up there minds what they want to do with The Fable Series. I can't remember the last time a series has ever gone through so many changes like Fable has. Change is good But too many changes can also be a bad thing.In my honest Opinion i think Microsoft needs to Drop lionhead studio's, and let someone else take control of The Fable Franchise and make it into what its supose to be.
  • I think I'll finally cry now.

  • seems pretty cool. just don't like the main character models. hope it has character customization.
  • This game really looks and sounds interesting, and does seem like a great fit for XBLA. I know it's a divergence from the Fable norm, but I do like it and think it look pretty fun.

  • This looks like an interesting game, but not one I'd like to slap the Fable name on.
  • This looks like a creative take on the series.  I love multiplayer dungeon crawlers, so this should be right up my alley.

  • They are going the entirely wrong way with this franchise. This and The Journey are not the Fable installments I'm looking for.
  • I love the new ideas coming into the franchise I mean it is good to have such variety, I do wish for a Fable game that has a lot of depth and solid game-play but I still welcome these additions. But saying that... I still yearn for Black & White 3 - Or even the follow up to the underrated The Movies Game.
  • If Fable 3 was any indication, the core Fable franchise will resemble this game pretty soon. Minus the 4p co-op, of course.

  • Hey, it already looks better than Fable III.

    My guess is that since they're already linking the games, they'll do something where you can't 100% the other game without this one.  Just because they're greedy dicks.  I DONT WANT YOUR STUPID PUB GAMES, **BRAAAHHHH**

  • "Fable has never been a particularly adult series..." What? Every Fable game (aside from the XBLA mini-game collection) has been rated 'M.' It's nowhere near as violent as Gears of War or Grand Theft Auto, but it has enough adult content for the ESRB to block it from teenagers.
  • I loved all of the Fable games, but Multiplayer is something they have always been lacked. If this game is done right, it could make up for the lack of good multiplayer in the series. I've got dibs on Reaver!

  • No thank you. I don't know what has happened to this series.

  • i like the character selection so far..but characterization would be sweet

  • I love the idea, it seems like it would fit right in.

  • This looks a lot like Fairytale fights. Although, I'm a hundred percent sure, it's a MUCH better game than that:)

  • I think that's a really cool idea business-wise but I'm not that interested in the Fable series.

  • Something like Castle Crashers? Sold!