Fable III teased by New York Times' Style section?

Source: The New York Times' Weddings/Celebrations section.

What we heard: Lionhead Studios' Fable II sold like gangbusters as an Xbox 360 exclusive, shifting 2.6 million units as of Microsoft's last accounting in March. It came as little surprise, then, when BBC personality Jonathan Ross said on his Twitter feed on the night of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards ceremony in March that he had been tapped to provide work on Fable II's follow-up, Fable III.

Though Ross quickly backed off his statement, Microsoft may have one more unexpected outing of the as-yet-confirmed game, this time courtesy of The New York Times. Last week, The Times ran a wedding announcement for Amy E. Gilbert and Joshua Samuels Atkins. Of the latter, The Times said, "Mr. Atkins, 34, is the lead game designer for Fable III, a video game series produced by Lionhead Studios in Guildford, England."

The Times makes a point of noting in its guidelines for submitting a wedding announcement for publication that "submissions are rewritten, fact-checked and edited according to the standards of The Times." As such, it is possible that The Times simply made a typo, adding an extra "I" onto Fable II.

This explanation seems unlikely, however, considering Richard Ham, who in December joined Splash Damage to work on the Bethesda Softworks-published Brink, filled the lead design position on Fable II. Josh Atkins has been involved with the Fable franchise since the original shipped in 2004, though. On Fable II, Atkins served as a go-between for Microsoft and Lionhead as senior design director at Microsoft Game Studios.

It's also worth noting that Lionhead founder Peter Molyneux has previously said that his studio already has the third, fourth, and fifth installments in the franchise mapped out. "We've got plans for Fable III, IV, and V, actually... It's a big story arc, and you can see that if you've played Fable II, you'll recognise things from Fable," Molyneux commented in July 2008.

The official story: "We have nothing to announce regarding future Lionhead Studios projects."--A Microsoft representative.

Bogus or not bogus?: Considering the success of the Fable franchise, it's not a question of if Fable III will be developed, but when. Not bogus.