Microsoft's new RPG, Fable, has been in development for quite some time. Just recently, developer Big Blue Box Studios announced that the game will include multiplayer cooperative play.
So far the details haven't been worked out, but it is known that at least one other player will be able to join the main player in the game. Later developments might bump that number as high as four players playing at once. When the second player joins, it will be controlled by the AI, but if another human player plugs in a controller they can take control of the character. The secondary characters can be either sidekicks, like Robin to Batman, or alter egos, like Superman to Clark Kent, of the current character. In addition, a second player can import his/her Fable character and play as a second character retaining all his/her powers and settings.
There are some restrictions to the system. There always has to be one hero and one sidekick. Only the hero will gain experience points and is the only one who affects the reactions of Fable's NPCs. It is possible, however, to switch who is the hero and who is the sidekick with the tap of a button. It will be interesting to see what mixtures of characters will succeed in the world of Fable. After the gaming session is done, the imported character can be exported with all the gains he made during his visit.
The multiplayer additions make this game an even more likely candidate for the Xbox's killer app, as far as RPGamers go. It looks like for the full enjoyment of this game players should grab a friend, play a few hours, have some fun. Fable is due out in Spring of 2004.