Fable's producer is right, downscaling development shouldn't be a concern

Screenshot from Fable's cinematic reveal trailer. Fairy looking at a flower
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Following claims that the next Fable game is facing development trouble, a senior producer's stepped in to assure fans all's currently well. 

First revealed in June 2020, we've seen nothing beyond a short cinematic reveal trailer for the upcoming Fable reboot. But earlier this week, a host from the XNC Podcast claimed development was being downscaled. They claimed Playground Games was struggling to adapt the ForzaTech engine for Fable, stating "the gameplay mechanics were alluding them" and "they couldn’t fit them in the engine".

However, one of Fable's senior producers, Amie Loake, has set the record straight. "I wanted to clear something up about scoping; it is a normal, necessary and [a] healthy part of game development," she explains in a recent Twitter thread. "I can guarantee that every single triple-A game you've ever played will have gone through scoping regularly during development."

Continuing in a follow-up tweet, Loake tried to reassure fans why downscaling is necessary. "Its intention is to make sure the team are focused under one clear vision and can get it made in the time they have without killing themselves. Games that haven't been scoped correctly often have delays and crunch, both we should be aiming to avoid whenever possible."

Fairy hovers near sword

(Image credit: Playground Games)

Downscaling games is a necessity

Downscaling might ring alarm bells for some. After all, when you've heard nothing about a game since its reveal, to then hear reports of features being scaled back –  I'll admit that doesn't sound that reassuring. But in an era where we've often seen ambition overcome by reality, Loake makes a solid point. Failure to control these elements leads to bigger problems down the road. 

Ubisoft is a prime example of what happens when scope-creep sets in. The French publisher is fond of its massive open-world games, giving players seemingly endless things to do that utilize no end of systems. It also has several major projects in development hell, like Beyond Good and Evil 2 or Skull and Bones. Both games were announced five years ago and have been repeatedly delayed, struggling (by many accounts) to define what they'll offer.

There's nothing wrong with needing to delay games, I should clarify. Sure, it sucks seeing a title you're looking forward to pushed back, but I'm certainly not alone in wanting publishers to offer finished products at launch. Unchecked intention is a recipe for disaster. We all saw Cyberpunk 2077's launch, a highly ambitious venture criticized for being a buggy mess on last-gen consoles. 

Scope clearly exceeded technical capability in that instance; or at least, it did for the PS4 and Xbox One editions. No one wants a repeat and thankfully, judging by Loake's comments, it sounds like Fable fans can rest easy. There are numerous reasons to be concerned about a game's development, but downscaling for scope isn't necessarily one of them.

Henry Stockdale

Henry is a freelance writer based in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. When he's not wandering in VR or burning through his RPG backlog, he's probably planning his next D&D session.