Absent for almost a decade now, fans are thrilled at the prospect of the Fable franchise finally making its return at E3 2019 after the game was listed on Mixer, Microsoft's dedicated streaming platform. It isn't a whole lot to go on, but recent nods to Fable 4's potential existence by Microsoft lend credibility to this online find.

Early in 2018, rumors of Fable 4's development were spreading, and it was believed that Microsoft apparently had enlisted Forza Horizon's first-party developer Playground Games to continue where the epic fantasy franchise left off after Fable creator Lionhead Studios closed in 2016. However, a new Fable was a notable absence at E3 2018, leaving fans to wonder if the earlier murmurs had been mistaken. However, hopes were reignited later that year at Gamescom when Xbox Game Studios General Manager Aaron Greenberg confirmed that Playground had a secret "big, big exclusive" in the works.

If what Redditor snow9876 has uncovered is valid, Fable fans have good reason to get excited. Mixer provides a list of curated titles for streamers to auto-fill and select when setting their channel's current game, and apparently "Fable IV" is now to be counted among that official list. Though its presence could potentially be in error, it's just about as likely that someone at Mixer could have jumped the gun on adding upcoming titles scheduled to be announced at E3 2019.

While Lionhead's last attempt at breathing new life into the series was with Fable Legends, an online multiplayer ARPG that was canceled when the studio failed in 2016, it's also known that the spinoff was narrowly decided upon over a sequel to the mainline franchise. Knowing this and coupling it with the listing, and even following the franchise's Roman numeral numbering conventions, it seems pretty compelling that Fable IV is indeed Playground Games' long-rumored secret weapon. With the Mixer leak being so close to E3 2019, the odds of Fable IV's appearance at Microsoft's press conference just went way up.

With next-gen consoles waiting just over the horizon, Microsoft needs to bring the heat on the first-party title front to avoid being slaughtered in terms of hardware sales like it was this generation. Sony announced late last year that it would be skipping its usual appearance at E3 this year, so the ball is squarely in Microsoft's court. If Fable and other first-party exclusives go yet another year without a reveal, even after Xbox Game Studios' massive acquisition streak in 2018, it will be handing an easy victory to Sony for the second time in a row.