Playground Games, famed for past work on the Forza Horizon series, continues on work on its illusive unannounced role-playing project under Xbox Game Studios. Establishing a dedicated secondary team departing from racing roots, its fast-growing Leamington Spa team tackles an open-world large-scale action RPG. And while work remains in early stages, prior reports pitch a revival of the Fable series on the table for the next generation.
Microsoft remains tight on the project, with the title failing to make an appearance at X019, despite two new properties from sister studios, Rare and Obsidian Entertainment. However, a fresh portfolio of concepts has now started making rounds, portraying the Playground Games RPG through the lens of concept artist, Rodrigo Idalino. Idalino currently claims Kotobukiya and Studio Voltz as clients, the latter previously working with Microsoft, Disney, Electronic Arts, and Ubisoft.
Idalino posted the four pieces to ArtStation (via Klobrille), highlighting the process from initial mood board references through to a final concept. Exploring folklore and 16th-century European attire, the posts provide an insightful look into the methodology behind character development. Invoking themes of the Fable franchise, it could allude to Microsoft plans, although is also a notable departure from former titles. And while branded with Playground Games logos, blurred text is also present — seemingly masking the character’s name “Lashana,” found via image file names.
There’s no indication whether these pieces tie into ongoing work at Playground Games, although it wouldn’t be the first instance of concept art surfacing mid-development.
However, as with any unofficial source, take all details lightly until backed by Microsoft. The artist has previously explored seemingly real and fictional projects via his ArtStation portfolio, merely captioning these RPG concepts as an “Art test done a few months ago.” And even if connected to the studio, the concepts may not relate to the current project, or may channel ideas circling the studio. If legitimate, such posts would likely violate any non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) among staff.
Regardless, the collection aligns with reports of a planned Fable reboot, following the closure of Lionhead Studios in early 2016. Fable Legends, set to explore a cooperative spin on the RPG, was eventually axed, leaving 2010’s Fable III the last traditional installment.