The player-determined character progression in the upcoming Xbox 360 exclusive Fable II may still be fluid, but its release date is not. Microsoft today nailed down an October 21 North American launch date for Lionhead's anticipated action role-playing game. The UK release will follow on October 24.
The basic concept of Fable II should be familiar to those who played its 2004 predecessor on the original Xbox. Gamers will role-play as a young hero in a fantasy world and make choices to turn that character into a heroic champion, loathsome villain, or something in between. However, Lionhead has added in a number of new wrinkles, including a faithful canine companion, the ability to play as either gender, and an array of ancillary concerns not involving swords and sorcery (marriage, children, real estate, and so on).
The release of Fable II will be preceded this month by the Xbox Live Arcade tie-in Fable II Pub Games. A collection of three casino-style minigames, Pub Games will let players build up a bank account that they will be able to tap into when the full version of Fable II launches.
As with many big-name releases, Fable II will be available in standard and collector's-edition packages at launch. The collector's edition will sell for $79.99. The extra $20 above and beyond the standard-edition price will net particularly enthusiastic gamers a bonus disc with making-of content, a figure of the game's Hobbe creatures, an in-game dungeon and cutlass, a trial Xbox Live Gold membership, and five printed "fate cards." Participating retailers will also be offering free entry to Pub Games as a preorder incentive when the XBLA game is released.
For more on Lionhead's latest, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.