One of the most popular games in 2008 is about to reach a milestone. Fable II will soon surpass 3 million copies sold on the Xbox 360. The big success was a bit unprecedented due to the massive disappointment that surrounded the first game. Originally known as Project Ego, the first Fable was developed by Lionhead Studios. Founded in 1997, the first-party developer from Microsoft was previously responsible for the critically-acclaimed Black & White PC real-time strategy game.
One of the key designers at Lionhead Studios is Peter Molyneux. Although he is highly respected inside the gaming industry, he is very candid about the visions of his projects. Unfortunately, he often over-promises his games. As a result, fans end up disappointed with the final product due to missing and undelivered features.
This was the case with Fable. The original concept for Peter Molyneux was that the player grows and matures in a virtual fantasy world. They will age and look differently based on the paths they chose in life. Furthermore, players can build relationships with the non-playable characters.
When Fable was released in 2004 after four long years of development, however, many of the promised features were either limited or removed. Despite great review scores, many fans were left disappointed as the game didn’t live up to expectations. Still, Fable managed to sell 2 million copies on the Xbox and became one of the biggest first-party franchises for Microsoft.
The Xbox 360 launched in 2006, which provided a new platform for Lionhead Studios. This time, Peter Molyneux kept expectation leveled as the sequel built upon the great foundations from the first game. As a result, Fable II was well-received by both fans and critics.
The sequel ended up being one of the best-selling games of 2008. So far, it is nearing 3 million copies sold, which is a big improvement from the first tile. Aside from the better quality, Fable 2 was also on a more popular video game system with the Xbox 360. Thus, the user base and potential consumers were bigger. Finally, an online co-operative patch was later added to the game, which boosted the perceived value.
Keep in mind that Fable 2 was only released on the Xbox 360 so far while the original title also appeared on the PC and Mac. Not to mention that Fable was also re-released with extra content under the title, Fable: The Lost Chapters. The fact that Fable 2 handily outsold the first title is very impressive.
Due to the massive success of series so far, Lionhead Studios is already planning three more Fable sequels.