Fable Legends looks to shake up the Fable series’ formula in both its gameplay as well as its business model. The game is a four vs one, co-op/competitive multiplayer RPG experience, where teams of adventurers go up against monsters that are spawned by another player. What wasn’t known until today is that the game will be free-to-play, relying on microtransactions instead of a full retail price.
The model seems to follow the League of Legends strategy, which was explained to Eurogamer by a Lionhead representative. Essentially, each week will feature a rotating cadre of four heroes. Once the week is over, the heroes will be swapped out for others. If you don’t want to spend any money then you simply move on to the new characters and continue playing. However, if you liked a particular character from that week you can buy them using in-game currency or real world money. This unlocks them for use permanently. This is just for the players on the side of good, the villain has a whole other assortment of items available.
As the villain, players are able to spawn traps and enemy creatures in an attempt to stop the adventuring heroes. Each level has a pre-set arrangement of creatures and other items to use in your attempts to kill them, all of which will be available for free. However, if you wish to use things from another world, you’ll have to pay to unlock them, again with either in-game currency or real world money.
New heroes, creatures, traps, and villains will be added to Fable Legends throughout development. These will be launched in “seasons”, with Lionhead promising to support the game for years after release. There will be a storyline that runs the course of these seasons, with the newly added items and characters fitting into the narrative in some way.
Free-to-play usually brings about a lot of fear for gamers, and with good reason. A lot of games utilize the structure to pull the most amount of money possible from their audience, while others have used it to great effect. Hearthstone and League of Legends come to mind as two examples of how to do it right. Fable Legends seems to be taking inspiration from these games, so we’ll have to wait and see how it all turns out when the game is released.
Fable Legends is set to come out some time this year for Xbox One and PC.