This is quite an interesting development, the PC version of Fable III is going to be released via Microsoft’s own Games for Windows Marketplace and Steam at the same time on the 20th May and is availble to pre-order on both right now. This is certainly a move that will raise some eyebrows. Microsoft only recently reinvigorated their Games for Windows Marketplace with a big promotional push in what seems like an attempt to gain a footing in the door of digital distribution on the PC.
To make Fable III available to both the GFW Marketplace and Steam could be seen as Microsoft recognizing that Steam is currently the big dog when it comes to digital distribution and that to avoid releasing the game there would only serve to alienate a large potential userbase. Then again, it could be viewed as a further sign that Microsoft are taking the PC release of Fable III seriously and that they want people to treat it as a true PC game, not just a lazy Microsoft focused port.
Of course, Microsoft have made the pre-order incentives slightly more preferable on GFW Marketplace than Steam. If you pre-order through the Marketplace you will get a free copy of ‘Fable: Lost Chapters’ the PC port of the original Fable from the Xbox. Lucky Steam customers get a Weapon and Tattoo pack which features, you guessed it, some exclusive weapons and tattoos for your character. Kind of obvious that Steam has the slightly weaker pre-order bonus.
Regardless, after a few months of waiting we can finally look forward to Fable III coming to the PC. The inclusion of the Traitor’s Keep 360 DLC, 3D functionality and a Hardcore mode certainly give the appearance that Microsoft and Lionhead have worked hard to create a version of the game that won’t get sneered at for being a console port right from the off.
I personally am really looking forward to it coming to the PC, regardless of where we can buy it. I may not have played a whole lot of the 360 version, but I have had fun with what I have played through and it will be lovely to see the game unleashed with the power of a PC. It is a game which always sticks in the back of my mind for having a really strong opening, and I don’t mean the intro with the chicken, fun as that was. No, I am talking about that first moral decision you have to make between the girl and the people, I was genuinely torn at that. I normally find it easy to ease my way into playing a slightly evil character in RPGs, but that one scene really had me puzzling about what to do. In the end I took the ‘good’ approach and saved the people. I wonder whether that scene will have the same impact a second time around.