Fable Heroes is not a result of Lionhead of Microsoft wanting to milk the Fable franchise, but instead the result of much love for the hit series, lead designer Ted Timmins has said.

The Xbox LIVE Arcade game is a four-player, hack-and-slash co-op adventure with an accentuated cartoonish art style. Players can work together either locally or online, and the game will occasionally switch to competitive mini-games (such as coin collecting) as an intermission from the co-op adventure.

You choose your hero, and by playing as them you can unlock finishing moves, flourishes and power-ups.

The game will also work with Fable: The Journey, allowing users to transfer their gold from Fable Heroes to the upcoming Kinect title. A price was not confirmed, but Lionhead promises that it will be priced competitively.

"Every year at Lionhead we have a creative day, and it's just one of those things Peter [Molyneux] arranges," said Timmins. "We get into small teams of people and we all go to the Odeon cinema and we show off what we've done. This year I got together with some friends, and we just decided to make a four-player Fable game. We all love Fable, and what would we want to see if we made a hack-and-slash Fable meets Gauntlet spin-off?

"To go from that to then showing Peter and Louise [Murray], for them saying 'we want you to have an office, we want you to have a small team, we want you to go away for three months and show us what you make... that's obviously a lot of pressure to put on a small team."

"We've had people from other teams within Lionhead saying 'is there anything I can help with, I'll work my evenings'. We've had people creating levels in their spare time, and helping us with animations. It's great that it's not just about the Fable Heroes team, this is about the whole of Lionhead supporting it."

"This isn't Lionhead or Microsoft milking the franchise, it's just six massive Fable fans saying 'what do we want in a Fable game?'"

The game's set for release later this year.