Mike Ducker was given a plaque to commemorate his work on Fable, the Lionhead RPG released in 2004 for the original Xbox. In 2010, it went missing under mysterious circumstances—and now, 12 years later, a spot of good luck has put it back in his hands.
Ducker, whose Mobygames (opens in new tab) profile lists him as a programmer on every Fable game from the original to Fable: Anniversary in 2014, shared the story about the loss and recovery of the plaque on Twitter. "The plaque I was given for making Fable has been missing [and] presumed stolen since 2010," he wrote. "It ended up in a recycling centre auction in Northampton around 2014, then sat in a collection until it went on sale on eBay recently, where a game dev I'd never met saw it and told me.
"The seller returned it for the price they paid for it (less than 10% of what they had listed it for and much less than I was willing to pay). Never thought I'd see it again and so unlikely that I ever did. I am, of course, paying them more than they asked (and throwing in a Fable 1 standee I found in my tiny collection of memorabilia)"
Ducker also called for "many blessings" upon Ichi Sumeragi, who informed him of the auction (opens in new tab) last week. The auction has since been cancelled, but you can still see the page through the magic of the Wayback Machine (opens in new tab). The seller was asking £995 ($1,112) for the plaque, which they said is in "like new" condition—and which Ducker said he was not in a position to pay in order to get it back.
The seller returned it for the price they paid for it (less than 10% of what they had listed it for and much less than I was willing to pay). Never thought I'd see it again and so unlikely that I ever did 🥲October 12, 2022
How exactly the plaque went missing in the first place isn't certain, but Ducker said that "a bunch of stuff" was stolen from his house in 2010, and he doesn't recall seeing it after that, although he added that it might have disappeared prior to that. As for how the plaque ended up in an auction when his name is literally printed right on the front of it, Ducker said he doesn't believe eBay or the seller have an obligation to obtain his permission or approval.
"I guess just because it was clearly once mine doesn't mean they have to chase me up to make sure I sold it / gave it away," he tweeted. "No more than the purchaser did. I'm sure some people would (to get info once purchased) but plenty of people wouldn't think of it."
Fortunately for Ducker, one person did think about it, and a happy ending resulted. Interestingly, he's not the only former Fable developer who's missing the plaque: Neil Grevitt, who worked on Fable: The Lost Chapters, said he hasn't seen his in years and asked if the seller had any others. Alas, the answer was no (opens in new tab).
A new Fable game (opens in new tab) is currently in development at Playground Games, the studio best known for the Forza racing games. Little is known about it at this point beyond the fact that it's happening, but Anna Megill, formerly the lead writer on the project, took over as narrative lead (opens in new tab) in July.