Fable 4, the next title in the popular fantasy-RPG series, is currently under development. The game was officially confirmed on July 2020, during the Xbox Games Showcase, with a cinematic trailer. The announcement followed years of Fable 4 rumors, speculation, and leaks.
In 2019, a post by Redditor LagSwag1 claimed to have witnessed leaked video footage that revealed details about Fable 4's plot and gameplay. The leak suggested that the setting of the Fable series, Albion, would either be very different or completely absent in the new installment. While the validity of that should certainly be taken with a grain of salt, it begs the question: what is Fable without Albion? As the setting for all previous Fable titles, Albion is at the core of the series' mythos and lore. It's a connection to the past that developer Playground Games shouldn't completely abandon.
The land of Albion is a green and temperature fantasy kingdom, bordered by mountains and seas. The north is fertile and well-suited to farming, while the south is home to many great forests. To the east lie the Mistpeak Mountains, and further to the south the Wraithmarsh. Across the sea is the land of Aurora, which becomes part of the Kingdom of Albion in Fable 3. In addition, much of Albion is riddled with cave networks, providing plenty of space for underground levels.
This green and pleasant land has had a long and unpleasant history. It began with the god-like Court, who subjugated mankind through force until they were overthrown. Then came the days of the Old Kingdom, which many of the ruins in the Fable games hail from. Players can experience much of Albion's history in the games, all the way up to post-Industrial Revolution in Fable: The Journey. Indeed, looking at what has been shown makes it seem that Playground Games is looking at what made Albion the fictional setting it is, but that may not be enough to certainly ascertain whether or not this is Albion.
The land of Albion is at the core of the Fable series. This isn't simply because it's been the setting for every game so far. Instead, it's that Albion represents everything that makes Fable stand out among its competitors. While most fantasy RPGs strive to distance themselves from what might be called fairytale-fantasy, Fable embraces it.
Albion is a land of heroic heroes and villainous villains, of ancient legends, magic swords, and the hand of destiny. These elements have helped to build Fable's distinct style, setting it apart from its peers who have ventured off to establish its own fantasy instead of building of stories of old. Because of this, they also form the base of Fable's satirical humor. For all the fairytale tropes that are embraced, more are brilliantly subverted.
A perfect example of this can be found in the Fable 4 announcement trailer. A fairy soars through a magical scene while the narrator speaks of legends and heroes, before it's suddenly eaten by a frog. This subversion is at the heart of Fable, and the land of Albion is a vital part of it. Without it, many may feel hardpressed to call the new Fable game an actual entry in the franchise.