Despite Microsoft's claims to the contrary, the impending resurrection of the Fable franchise might be more than a fairy tale. Microsoft applied to renew its Fable trademark late last month, and it marked "Yes" on the form's "Intent to use" field.
IGN spotted the trademark application, which you can observe for yourself. It's been a long time since we've seen a new Fable game; 2017 gave us Fable Fortune, which is a free-to-play digital card game. A new title Fable would be a huge boon to Microsoft, which aims to have as many must-have exclusives as possible as we enter the Xbox Series X generation.
Microsoft's trademark filing gives Fable fans good reason to hope, especially when taken in combination with this week's Fable Twitter account activity. Microsoft's General Manager of Xbox Games Marketing Aaron Greenberg denies the Fable account (and the accompanying Perfect Dark account) were made in preparation for new games, but it feels like there's a faint, barely-audible hum coming from the dormant Fable series.
Granted, this could all still be wishful thinking, and we're setting ourselves up for a disappointment. PC Gamer goes into the nitty-gritty of what an "intent to use" trademark resurrection entails, and it's not as simple as "Oh boy, this is a sure thing!"
"Microsoft doesn't have to do anything but make a good faith agreement that it plans to use the Fable trademark in the future, but it does come with a deadline," writes Fraser Brown. "After six months, Microsoft will have to file a statement of use or ask for an extension. To get an extension, however, it has to show good cause, making a sworn statement that it still has a 'bona fide intention to use the mark in commerce.' It can ask for up to five extensions, putting it off for three years."
In other words, Microsoft might indeed be gung-ho on a new Fable game—or it might have registered the trademark with an "Eh, maybe" attitude. A new Fable game no longer feels like a matter of "If." It seems like a matter of "When," and that "When" might be years from now.
If you're a Fable hopeful, raise your arms in the air and summon the energy of your fellow fans. Maybe that will help make an Xbox Series X Fable game a reality.