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Fable 2 Will Be Revolutionary October 9, 2006

Posted by dpcough in Microsoft Games.
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Many people were disappointed with Fable for the Xbox even though it was an incredible RPG because of Peter Molyneux’s huge promises. Everyone was very excited with the trailer at E3 as it was great, even if it was CGI. Peter Molyneux talked about how Fable 2 will be a lifetime, from birth to death. It will be a deep and incredible game based on what he said. I will reserve this game and play it day one. I have very high expectations, this game will be great – Who cares that we don’t have Final Fantasy or who even cares about Elder Scrolls? This game will be incredible.

Read on for the story quoted. SOURCE

“Today at GDC London, held in BAFTA’s Picadilly HQ, Peter Molyneux, one of the industry’s most celebrated visionaries spoke about his thoughts on Next Gen entertainment, within the context of experiments in developing concepts for Fable 2.

Molyneux began by sharing his excitement about games like Assassin’s Creed, Mass Effect and Alan Wake and followed with stating his team have to not just think about how Fable 2 will stand out above the crowd made up of these games, but also be push harder.

First, Peter recalled the team’s core goal: “Fable 2 is a Role Playing Game first and foremost”. He then went on to detail a handful of Fable 2’s key facets, but made it known that these were not final concepts and the final and most impressive unique feature would not be revealed today…

‘Dynamic Environments’
When playing RPGs, the feeling is “I don’t seem to make a difference to the world.”

In Fable, the story is set over the period of a lifetime. Peter Molyneux said that this was both frustrating to design for and yet, allows freedom to do things others can’t do. A concept shot from Fable 2 was revealed – a beautifully painted campfire in the woods. Brightwood. When you are a teen in Fable 2, it’s a spooky place inspired by Murkwood in LOTR.

The example detailed here was that in this location, you discover a Gypsy camp. If your character goes in and trades and is nice to everyone, you can do a quest to help the gypsies by clearing out woods of enemies called ‘Hobbs’. However, if your character comes back in ten years, the camp will have changed into houses. Ten years further on, it’s a little village. Ten years further, the village is a town!

But here’s the twist; if you initially went into the camp and slaughtered everyone, the town wouldn’t exist and that’s an interesting thing for the player to experience, as everyone is likely to experience a different environment from one another.

‘Buying Things’
Peter asks, “Why is it you can only buy swords and clothes? Why can’t you buy a house? Or a shop and be a shopkeeper? Why not a whole street? Or a whole city? Or the nearby castle and be Lord of the castle? Why not buy a dungeon?”

Everything that you see in Fable 2 is buyable and when you buy it, you are Lord of the manor / Owner of the dungeon. It adds to your character as you have a feeling of wealth and ownership. It’s a new mechanic; money. It can buy you security, power and pretty much anything else.

How does this enhance the experience? Ownership is empowering. It allows the player to ‘unlock’ content, and it adds to the simulation element.

Regarding the content unlocking, if you own a castle, there will be specific quests relating to owning that castle. “Sire, there are thieves stealing wine from the cellars!” If you own a cathedral, you get different quests – kill the priest or protect him – and so on…

What this also gives you is that when you beat the game, you haven’t finished it as there’s still content to be found and played through. This was a feature present in the original Fable (if you played through the evil ending and got the big sword and waited out the end credits), but the fact Lionhead is openly aware of it means that perhaps we’ll get more bang for the buck this time round.

‘How To Make The Character Feel Engaged’
Lionhead wanted this for Fable but now it’s in Fable 2. You can play as either man or woman and your character will ‘morph’ to display their state more accurately. As for the story it will differ very slightly with each sex.

Lionhead also wants to introduce player to the notion of ‘unconditional love’. Peter says, “I’ve played plenty of games, but I don’t feel appreciated when I do something of worth. For example, in Final Fantasy, you get 1000 experience for accomplishing something but then they immediately say ‘go do this’. At least they could say thank you!? You feel underappreciated and this needs to change.”

One of the first characters in the game is someone who gives you unconditional love. The first scene is a bird flying through a forest, through a city, through a town… then camera follows the bird to the highest turret in Bowerstone. At that point, the bird takes a shit. The camera follows the shit and it lands on your character’s head. And then you meet your character’s sister who’s standing next to you. And that character is the first of many who will give you the feeling of being appreciated.

Also, Lionhead has expanded on the whole relationships issue i.e., getting married. For example you can choose to have unprotected sex, get your girlfriend pregnant (she morphs appropriately) and have kids. Lionhead considered a labour mini-game, but the force feedback wasn’t good enough (the women on the team said it wasn’t like labour at all), so the labour mini-game was scrapped. However, you can have kids and they too, will give you unconditional love.

When those doors open, you have a magical moment… you come back from a quest and your kid sprints out and hugs you gushing how he heard that you slaughtered that dragon and you’re brilliant. Peter Molyneux again states, “That’s what I want from the player – making you feel like you’re great. Making you feel appreciated.”

As for your family, they can live anywhere, as you can buy any house. To egg you on to be more ambitious, your wife is never satisfied. She’s the one always encouraging you on to get more, bigger. “We should live in that castle”, or “let’s buy that bigger house over there”, for example. You don’t have to listen to her, but if the lady in question is as status-driven as she sounds in this specific example, she may not stay around for very long unless you up your fame or follow her suggestions.

Also, you can be good or evil as per Fable and if you’re evil, when your kid sees you at the end of the day, he’ll say things like, ‘look at these cool tattoos and who I beat up at school!’ to further add to your character, as your family is an expression of you.

On top of this, Fable 2, has expanded on good and evil by developing kindness and cruelty as concepts. The player can torment humans psychologically. Example: you are responsible for getting the money in the family household. If you’re poor, your kid will run out and say, “dad, it’s great to see you. but we’re soooo hungry”. And you can pull out an apple pie and eat it in front of your son. And he’ll be all, “oh but daddy& can’t we have a little bit?” Luckily, your kids will always love you, but also night that your wife won’t.

Another thing the original Fable was criticized on was the total gameplay time. Some felt Fable was too long and beat it in 50 hours, some felt too short and finished it in 10, so Lionhead has addressed that using money…

Those who rush through the game will be poor, yet famous heroes as you get barely any money for acts of heroism. Others who take time, will be rich. If you take the time to do many quests, buy things that earn you money and so on, you earn more money and thus become richer. However, rushing through will only get your fame and celebrity, which isn’t a bad or good thing, it just is. The game doesn’t want to punish you for doing less than someone else, but you will be rewarded for doing more.

The Story
In short the story is focuses on four core concepts; the story arc, involving what the player has touched, in the game, having a really powerful opponent, and allowing for player choice.

In regards to story arc, the team looked at Joseph Campbell’s much referenced and revered, ‘The Hero’s Journey’. The Hero’s Journey talks of a structure that many common stories follow, such as Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and many other celebrated stories we know and love today. In many stories, including Fable, it’s broken up in the following way:

  • Introduce the hero
  • See the reason behind why he needs to be hero
  • Introduce the bad guy / antagonist and why he’s there
  • Set them both up to have a short fight where the hero loses
  • Have hero power up
  • Set them up to have a big confrontation
  • Have the hero win
  • In Fable 2, the team has focused on making the bad guy unspeakably bad. Peter says, “We want the player to despise him. I warn you however, if you have a family, don’t expect them to last very long unless you be very aware of looking after them. As for the main story, we have a main thread, but unbeknown to you, we’ll be picking things up and adding them into the story thread based on your personal journey.

    For example, in my story the baddie may have kidnapped your kid, but in your story, he may not have kidnapped him.”

    Combat
    Another big thing Lionhead is experimenting with in Fable 2. Combat in most games presently is repetitive, focused on the unblended and is routed in past design decisions. Combat in games should be dramatic, varied and innovational.

    Fable’s combat was accessible, but repetitive. It was twitchy and had many buttons, but if you swing a sword, it passes through objects. So the team looked at:

  • 1. The reality of combat (see video when I figure out how to get it off the camera)
  • 2. The location of where the player is.
  • 3. A single corridor opening out to larger space.
  • When you’re fighting down a corridor, you haven’t got wide sword blows at your disposal as your sword would get stuck in the wall. Instead, you just have different moves, not different buttons. So now, you’re thinking about how your space relates to your combat, as opposed to your swing. Peter then suggested, rather than detailed that a player may thrust a sword like a fencer in a corridor, but in a large open-space, swing their blade like a samurai. Of course, it’s worth remembering that these concepts are experimental rather than final. Molyneux detailed the experimental concept using this example, “In this new context where the space auto-changes your swing, we had a moment where players rushed toward you in a certain environment, and it really made a difference to how you felt. Suddenly, combat gained a whole new depth.”

    “We then looked at the concept of, “What about allies and other opponents?” It’s not only where you are, where you’re fighting from; it’s also who you’re fighting with and where they are. One of your guys who’s left handed when you’re right handed will compliment you well if you fight to his right side, but otherwise, a right hander next to your left hand will be limited in his swing, and it adds another layer of depth, though there is nothing to show of this feature today.”

    Interesting concepts to say the least. He also went on to talk of how weapons like ‘daggers’ would no longer be useless, as the size would make them useful for narrow environments thus suggesting that the shape and size of an object would finally gain some relevance in a combat, beyond the previously relied upon size and power properties we’re so accustomed to.

    Graphical User Interface
    One more thing Peter talked about was the removal of GUI. Fable 2 is looking at the presently well-relied-upon GUI system and wants to be rid of it. Fight Night was cited as an inspiration.

    Lionhead looked at the concepts of no hit points meter, no stamina bar and no tutorial. The team then figured that the best philosophy was to put as much of the GUI in the world as possible and put part of the GUI into where the player looks.

    Molyneux added, “There’s no point in spending ages making a world look amazing if the player is always going to be referring to an onscreen map.” Current thoughts are looking at putting anything presently relevant in your field of view, as opposed to on the corners of the screen.

    Our verdict?
    Overall, the talk was fascinating and showed Lionhead’s genuine passion for innovating and creating engaging experiences for the player.

    Fable 2 presently sounds like it’s shaping up very nicely, but as with all things, it’s probably best that we wait for the finished article before getting too excited, as many things in it do sound too good to be true. Meanwhile, we can only wonder what feature Molyneux was alluding to at the beginning. Could it be one of those shared features from the very under-wraps Demitri?”

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    Comments»

    1. PMSucks - October 9, 2006

    I’ll never purchase another one of Molyneux’s games. This same crap was said about Fable, and look what a POS it turned out to be.

    2. dpcough - October 9, 2006

    I understand we were all disapointed with Fable in terms how it seemed like the best game ever made. I doubt it would happen twice though. It won’t be a POS

    3. echo - October 9, 2006

    If just one of these features makes it into the game it will be amazing! Fable is an RPG, it needs to be about the player, and what you can do to affect the world, and other characters. With Peter Molyneux behind this game it will turn out to be like that, Fable was revolutionary in the way it focused on the character, and Fable 2 will build on this, make it better, and focus more on the world your in.

    4. stinger97 - October 9, 2006

    “I understand we were all disapointed with Fable in terms how it seemed like the best game ever made. I doubt it would happen twice though. It won’t be a POS” – dpcough

    Unfortunately, in the video game industry, broken promises appear often. Too many times have I been fooled by Sony, believing one of their many promises that ended up not being a reality.

    Though Fable 2 sounds amazing, I’ll wait for the game to release and reviews to trickle in before I fork over any money for it.

    5. dpcough - October 9, 2006

    Sony is Sony, but this is Microsoft.

    6. becs - October 9, 2006

    Revolutionary? Isn’t that what they said about the original Fable? 🙂

    7. rob - October 9, 2006

    i hope its all true, then this game will be incredibly awesome

    8. Owner - October 9, 2006

    Everything thing he is saying is a Joke. You take some of his lines and look at AAA RPGS. And its a joke. Daggers useless? Give me a break.

    “Peter asks, “Why is it you can only buy swords and clothes? Why can’t you buy a house? Or a shop and be a shopkeeper? ”

    Umm, is he an idoit ? or just blind ?

    9. mage111 - October 10, 2006

    Fable was a well made console RPG, its just fine playing on PC, it didnt let down to begin with. I enjoyed the character i became.

    10. LDTG - October 10, 2006

    Fable was fun, but its still a Legend of Zelda rip-off, half the controls and moves are the same

    11. Bernard - October 10, 2006

    The first Fable was great. If they can improve on that, Fable 2 will be awesome. Everyone that I knew really enjoyed playing that game. I’m going to play it again on my 360.

    12. thewilleffect - October 10, 2006

    Why can’t we all just wait for the final release? Helping Molyneax hype his projects time after time just makes us ensure our dissapointment in the long run. Just wait until it’s done. Hopefully we won’t be waiting to long ala Duke Nukem Forever.

    13. Lucas Felcon - October 10, 2006

    I played the first fable and you can finish it pretty quick. I like the GUI, but if the game’s better without it then it’s ok with me. I hope this game turn out better than Fable 2.

    14. geekofalltrades - October 10, 2006

    I think Molyneux really just sets himself up for these things, but at the same time you have to admire his vision and his drive to always make “the best game ever”. Maybe he’s a bit of a blowhard, but he does mean well and has quite a few killer games under his belt to prove he can do it. Maybe Fable 2 is the one that will bring him back to prominence, or maybe not. Only time will tell.

    This bit right here caught my attention however:

    “She’s the one always encouraging you on to get more, bigger. “We should live in that castle”, or “let’s buy that bigger house over there”, for example.”

    Dude, seriously, I hate women like that in real life, why would I want a nagging bitch in a videogame as well?

    15. corkeryd - October 10, 2006

    Fable may have been a disappointment in terms of what was promised, but what was delivered was something original and enjoyable and I for one had hours of fun just running around farting at people. If Molyneux can capture the magic of sticking your middle finger at one of your nine wives and give it a bit of a meatier story, then they’ll be onto a winner.

    16. Coconuts - October 13, 2006

    I played Fable when one of my house-mates broke out his XBox last year, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was engrossing and just fun to play, but ultimately I found the story a little flat, and way too short. That’s not to say that I didn’t get completely sucked into it, because I did, but hopefully Molyneux and crew can come up with a longer, more complex and open-ended plot that still manages to be compelling.

    I think the primary danger associated with what they’re trying to do in Fable 2 is that because of all the amazing flexibility there isn’t any sort of compelling, convincingly-human narrative. For me, that’s what makes games so great. They’re a sort of form of story-telling, where you aren’t just a passive observer but an active participant in the unfolding story.


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