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Soundtrack review: Fable (Russell Shaw – 2007)

Game scores

Soundtrack review: Fable (Russell Shaw – 2007)


“Fable” is an action role-playing open world video game, the first in the Fable series. It was developed for the Xbox, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X platforms by Big Blue Box Studios, a satellite developer of Lionhead Studios, and was published by Microsoft Studios. Fable is a role-playing video game where players control their character from a third person perspective. The main character, known as The Hero of Oakvale, can interact with people and objects as well as battle foes. The goal of Fable is to complete missions called quests that advance the game’s plot, but Fable also features optional quests and allows players to pursue actions not directly tied to story completion. The music was written by Russell Shaw with a main theme by Danny Elfman.

The main theme is, well, Danny Elfman like and there’s no way not to like it. It’s fantasy music complete with mystery and darkness and a theme I would have seen more suited for a movie. It seems too complex and spectacular for an adventure video game. Now a game like this one with quests and puzzles means a lot of interaction with the outside world. This happens to be my favorite genre of computer games and I know how I would like it to sound. I like an exploratory ambient cue like “Oakvale” and a mysterious piece like “Lychfield cemetery”. I can imagine immersing myself in the atmosphere of a game with the help of music like this. I am just delighted by “Summer fields” and I get curious just by listening to it about the respective section in the game. This is a playful cue where the brass and the flute put me in a very relaxing place. The harp makes me imagine rivers, the flute butterflies and it’s a wonderful day already.

Playful is the keyword for this score. It gives me the idea that this game is light it atmosphere and that I would have fun playing it. The music describes different specific places in the game; it’s not exploring the adventure itself or the characters. There’s musical variety in here from the dark and menacing “Arena” to the simple and retro sounding gem “Temple of light”. This one is my favorite cue from the score as it’s so minimalistic and charming.

“Fable” is an exciting and enjoyable game score. It didn’t rock my world like other epic game scores and it isn’t ambient delight; it does hit that middle ground though where I could enjoy a light game without being very distracted by the score.

Cue rating: 86 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 18 / 50

Album excellence: 36%


Fable Theme


Summer Fields


Temple of Light



Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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  1. JackSpyro 13th June 2019

    Russel is a great master of game-orientic soundtrack and can truly make any sort of media better then it is. His works for third part ( https://rawg.io/games/fable-3 ) is one of the best things that i ever heard. Hope he will make more beatiful sounds for games. Cheers


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