Fable series

Two feminine figures stare lovingly at each other beside a lake.
  • Developer: Big Blue Box Lionhead Studios Flaming Fowl Studios
  • Publisher: Microsoft Studios
  • Year: 2004 – 2014
  • Genre: RPG
  • Platform/s: Various

The Fable series was often discussed in the Queer Representation (2016) survey as both a favourite and least favourite example of representation in games. Same-gender relationships have always been possible in the series, although in Fable I this was seemingly due to a coding error. In an article about the lost queer potential of the Fable series, Adrienne Shaw says the following about the original Fable: 'Although the non-player-characters (NPCs) are not given sexuality labels, however, the player-character is marked in an oddly rigid way. Before my male character (the only option in the first game) marries anyone in the game, my character’s stat sheet lists his sexuality as "unknown". When my male character marries a female villager, the stat sheet screen lists him as "heterosexual". If I instead marry a male NPC the stats screen labels my character as "gay". Whatever the gender of my first spouse, if I choose the opposite gender for my second spouse, my character’s label switches to "bisexual"'. This game conflates marriage with sexuality, providing a inaccurately simplified understanding of sexuality and relationships, including polyamory.

Respondents to the Queer Representation (2016) survey discussed Fable II positively, pleased that you can marry any character provided that their sexuality matches the player-character's gender, which can be established by assessing a character profile. The inclusion of fixed sexualities for NPCs in Fable II is interesting, as it reduces the playersexuality of the title; however, because children, guards, and other non-romanceable characters do not have a sexuality listed, it does conflate an NPC's sexuality with the player's ability to date them.

More diversity and nuance to the relationship management system was also deliberately added in Fable III. Still, not all respondents were pleased with the results, with some saying that Fable III does not give enough time to relationships to allow them to unfold, and complaining that there is no reason to date a particular character because none are well-rounded enough to be interesting, or related to the narrative in any way.