Playground Games concepts grant potential glimpse of upcoming Fable Xbox RPG
Could this be our first glimpse at Playground Games' unannounced action RPG for Xbox?
What you need to know
- New alleged Playground Games concept art has surfaced on ArtStation via Rodrigo Idalino, serving as a "test" for the unannounced action RPG project.
- The artist's claimed clients showcase past work Microsoft, Disney, and Ubisoft.
- The four concepts explore a character dubbed "Lashana," with 16th-century European influences.
Updated November 26, 2019: The Playground Games RPG character tests have been removed from the artist's ArtStation page, although remain embedded in the article below. It's still unclear whether these align with the RPG project or are independent of the studios' current vision, although it adds further weight to the portfolio. If representative of Playground Games' work, the artist may have removed the pieces upon request of the studio. And with rumors indicating a return to Fable, keep an eye out as next-generation consoles loom.
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 Generación Xbox), 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, Generación Xbox reports these tests were produced in response to a brief set by Playground Games, ensuring talent aligns with the creative direction during the recruitment process.
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 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 talent.
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.
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Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.