Fans have gone on with little to no news about Fable and Hellblade 2 for so long that Microsoft went ahead and issued an apology. However, while there's still no official news regarding highly-anticipated titles, one developer has stepped forward to provide more details about them.
According to the developer and game designer, Juan Fernandez, who spent time with both Playground Games and Ninja Theory, things are going rather well. In the first half of the interview, Juan shared that he had a previous relationship with Ninja Theory after working on the first Hellblade game. He explained that the studio has a relatively small team composed of 15 people for Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice and that the game peaked at more than 6.3 million players. Then, after his work was done on Hellblade, Juan moved to Playground Games to work on Fable, which he described as a "restart of the series set on an open world."
Developer of Hellblade 1/2 and FABLE speaks on their current statuses, his time there and their improvements from previous iterations
Great insight and both are looking like BANGERS pic.twitter.com/aBJpdCFwcY
— Joe Smhoe (@Innthacut) March 21, 2022
Juan claims to have spent three years at Playground Games before leaving because he liked "shorter projects" better but thought highly of the Fable reboot, saying that it had "incredible potential" and that a "really good team" was working on the game. Juan then went back to Ninja Theory to help out with the sequel.
Juan reveals that Ninja Theory wants to raise the bar with Hellblade 2, and they're not just talking about graphics. The developer opened up about how he and Ninja Theory listened to feedback from the players, specifically, on how they can fine-tune the gameplay better to "do more with less." With a much bigger team behind it - Juan didn't reveal the exact numbers, but he is confident that the quality of the Hellblade sequel is "through the roof - Hellblade 2 is shaping up to be an improvement over the first title in every way.
Unfortunately, while Juan appears to have mostly good news for Hellblade 2, we can't exactly say the same for Fable.
Returning to what Juan had to say to Vandal about the reboot of the classic Xbox-exclusive action RPG title via Comicbook.com, it appears that Playground Games is struggling with the transition from working on racing games to RPGs. In particular, Juan mentioned that the studio lacks "people with the knowledge of how gameplay is done." He added that "how you control a character and the actions are very different from what you have in a racing game."
Feel free to take Juan's words how you will, but it's at least an update on two games that have gone radio silent in recent years. By our estimates, both Fable and Hellblade 2 have been in the works for at least three to five years if not longer. Although you can never measure a game's quality based on time spent in development, we at least know that Microsoft's studios are devoting a lot of resources towards making them happen.