A team at Guildford studio Lionhead is developing an Xbox Live Arcade title called Fable Heroes, according to a growing number of reports published ahead of an expected official reveal.
Last year Develop and games publication Edge were both shown the concept for Fable Heroes during a design prototype show-and-tell event at a cinema near Lionhead’s base.
The game – which at the time was presented as a four-player, Gauntlet-like action title – was one of about twenty prototypes that were created during an experimental design week at Lionhead.
"What we were told was to go away and make a great XBLA game,” lead designer Ted Timmins told Develop during the game’s reveal in San Francisco last week.
“It has never happened before at Lionhead, it is something new. And although we have had other creative days, we have never had a video game come from it. So there is a lot of pressure on us.
“It is my first time as a lead designer. There’s a lot of people in roles for the first time. It is great that Lionhead has been so supportive, Microsoft as well. We have done demos for Phil Spencer, who is obviously in charge of Microsoft Studios. Everyone has just been so receptive. The marketing guys have been 100 per cent behind it and are the reasons we are here today. It is great to not only make an XBLA game, but to make one that is so well loved internally. We are here today to make that external as well.
“I started at Lionhead as a work experience. On a personal level it is great to go from work ex on Fable 1 to lead designer on Fable: Heroes. It is great that Lionhead supports development like that. A lot of people on Fable: Heroes has never been in these positions before.”
Other prototypes from the Creative Day, such as a music construction game, as well as a 2D Kinect platformer, can be found here.
The push to make Fable Heroes a commercial product could be seen as a testament to Lionhead and Microsoft’s enthusiasm for grass-roots development; giving game creators the freedom to build their own unique concepts.
It is a development culture that core games giant Valve practices regularly, and one that wins the favour of many studio employees.
At the Create Day show-and-tell event, Lionhead developer Charles Griffiths said the games design experiments were a good way to unite the studio’s staff.
“We’re finding out more about ourselves and the ideas we have,” he said.
“People get to know more about each other. Lionhead’s a big company and it’s good to hear more about people who you wouldn’t always have the chance to meet. It’s fun.”
Game designer Neil Wallace, meanwhile said the event reminded him of “older days at Lionhead we used to do a games competition every Friday lunchtime to come up with cool ideas for projects”.
“It’s amazing what you can get done in an hour. This is very much in the spirit of that, and some of the ideas we’ve seen today have been amazing,” he said.