E3 2008: Fable II Impressions - Meet the Bard

Peter Molyneux shows off a handful of previously unseen Fable II features during our E3 meeting.

Yesterday, you might recall, we played through the E3 show-floor demo of Fable II. That was a lot of fun, but today we went one better and met with Peter Molyneux, who talked us through a handful of gameplay features that we hadn't seen previously.

The most memorable of these features was undoubtedly our first encounter with the bard character who, after you meet him in the game, will come and find you anytime you enter a major city. He'll follow you around, he'll talk at you incessantly, and he'll sing songs about your recent exploits--regardless of whether or not they're things that you're proud of. In short, he's annoying enough after a short time to test the patience of a saint. That's probably why Molyneux, who's known to favor playing as evil characters in his games, seized the first available opportunity to lure this guy under a bridge and kill him. Problem solved. If you choose to do something similar you'll never encounter the bard again.

On this occasion, though, Molyneux hadn't been quite as sneaky with his assassination as he thought, and a few minutes later the city of Bowerstone's alarm bell's started ringing and he was apprehended. At this point he was presented with three options: Pay a fine of 500 gold, resist arrest and get into a fight, or agree to community service. The latter won't involve repainting a school or repairing a broken-down playground, but it'll open up otherwise unavailable side quests that involve, for example, clearing a campsite of troublesome goblins.

With bard no longer a subject up for discussion, Molyneux moved on to talk about money in Fable II. Specifically, he talked about some of the ways that you will (and won't) be able to earn it, and at least one way that you can choose to spend it. As you may have already heard, you won't earn gold for completing quests in Fable II; you're a hero, so presumably you have motivations other than wealth. So, if you decide to rush through the story as quickly as possible you'll not only be ignoring much of the game's content, but you'll wind up penniless to boot.

Money can be earned in plenty of different ways, including playing the upcoming Xbox Live Arcade game Keystone, which should be available to download around six weeks before Fable II arrives in stores. Helping friends to complete quests in their world as a henchman is sure to prove a popular source of income, while jobs such as blacksmithing, bartending, and assassination will offer an enjoyable alternative for those of you with no Xbox Live, no friends, or no inclination to let either of them into your Fable II experience.

There will no doubt be plenty of opportunities to spend your hard-earned gold in Fable II, and we can confirm that one of those is a bookstore that specializes in training manuals. All of the books available here either grant you new abilities or enhance existing skills, and while we didn't get a good look at the list of titles for sale, we did notice that there was one about marriage and at least two that will let you teach your dog new tricks.

When asked about the nature of Fable II's achievements, Molyneux also alluded to another possible source of income; buying a property and renting it out. One of the achievements in the game will purportedly reward you for being an "evil landlord" and dramatically increasing the rent on property that you own while tenants are residing there. Another, completely unrelated achievement will increase your gamerscore if you have a penchant for kicking chickens.

Bothering poultry is unlikely to test your combat prowess, of course, but after taking the controls of a character that hadn't been leveled up at all during today's meeting we can report that the skills at your disposal when you start playing are limited to say the least. To paraphrase what we were told by Molyneux, you basically just have to "mash buttons" early on. By leveling up and spending points on improving certain aspects of your combat, though, you can really customize your character's fighting style and, as a result, you'll have to work some control subtleties into your repertoire. Even if you choose to specialize in just one fighting style you'll have plenty of freedom to customize your moves. For example, for a melee-oriented character you can spend points on upgrading several different areas, including flourishes, environmental kills, and combos.

Before our meeting came to a close we were invited to partake in a quick QA session along with other attendees. Very little of the information to come out of it was new, partly because the group got carried away talking about the concept of in-game protected sex and reusable condoms (apparently they're a rare item). We did learn that you can activate a "breadcrumb trail" at any time that will lead you back to your next story mission, though, and that in addition to quest givers there are lots of non-player characters who have icons indicating specific requirements over their heads. For example, a woman in Bowerstone with a heart over her head needs to be romanced before she'll hand over whatever reward she has to offer.

Fable II is currently scheduled for release in October and, in case you haven't guessed, we're just a little excited for it. We look forward to bringing you more information on the game in future.

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Discussion

291 comments
bobsaget347
bobsaget347

and yes I no im messed up in the mind

bobsaget347
bobsaget347

Lmao im going to have a wife and cheat on her and then kill her son right in front of her own eyes and then impale her with my sword!!!!!! yes I can't wait ahahhaheh

da_zerg
da_zerg

cant wait for this to come out!

AmazingMage
AmazingMage

yeah sin-thesis, you can do combos changing from sword to gun and magic and back and all over the place for more experience, if you by a cliff side you can hit them into the air the sword then blast them off wit ha fireball or a gunshot

sir_jcd
sir_jcd

You're an idiot Rekunta. The bard is a great idea. As in life, there are people who seem to just annoy you for no good reason. The bard obviously is one of these people. Also, as in real life, some people just put up with these annoying so and sos, others will react in a nasty way. This gives you a choice: "Who will you become?"

Rekunta
Rekunta

Looking forward to this game. The bard sounds like a dumb idea....like he's just there to test gamers' patience. Is there any benefit besides him constantly singing (which doesn't sound like a benefit at all)? Why would anyone keep him alive? If he was of some use I'd understand, but it seems to me he's just in there for no reason other than to be annoying.

Silent_King
Silent_King

This game is a new hope, for gamers..... IF you get this you are awesome!

beelzlaboss
beelzlaboss

Yes I Have Been Waiting For This Game For 5 Years. I Want A St.Bernard And I'm Going To Be Good ALL The Way Through The Game.That Bard Idea Sound's Good But Annoying.SPOILER!!! What Is With The Intro! Bird S**t's On His Head!? That's Fu**ing Awsome He Got So Owned.

Sin-Thesis
Sin-Thesis

"environmental kills", does that mean that they actually did implement the combat system shown in the alpha bar fight?? cuz that would be sweeeeeeeet

zardoth
zardoth

First thing I'm gonna do-kill every bard in the land! Muahahahahahahahahah!!!!!!!!!!!! Oops! But then noone shall hear the stories of my great deeds.Lol!

oiamgodo
oiamgodo

uuh..Lordx67, are you stupid? you'll be dead before any game as good as fable 2 or gears of war or halo is ever on a playstation. you're better off selling your useless ps3 and getting an xbox 360.

Stewie_Dude_145
Stewie_Dude_145

I want this game now, i loved the first one.It sounds lije its going to be 10 times better then the first one.and Lordx67 dont expect it to be on ps3, its a Microsoft game, they wont give this up.

Jester6276
Jester6276

The big question is the game going to rock? Yea it is and it's going to be nice to see live used this way if you saw the E3 2008 video. The big question that I have is how did fable one lost chapter end? Remember you had a choice brake the mask or wear it. We know how the game went with Teresa and the sword of aeon's since she is in this game. But what about that mask, is Jack of Blades back? or did he die ? can't wait to find out.

ebookerd1
ebookerd1

NO there were no big wars there was a large scale battle you versus a gang of like 30 or 40 but no big wars. The Game is going to be great I can't wait Fable was an epic game with so much to offer. I can only expect that Fable 2 can meet all my expectations and more.

ooNaruto
ooNaruto

In the 1st Fable, was there any big wars you got to battle in? Like in those Lord of The Ring movies?

JrSlacker
JrSlacker

Personally I think it's going to be boring, same old same old RPG. It'll be exactly like Fable 1, except instead of earning gold by doing little quests, you get money from from "working". Why on earth would I want to play a game I have to get a job in, and up keep everything, it's like Sims but with guns and swords. I canned my pre-order, because I'm not impressed, it'll be mediacore and over hyped.

brunibadger66
brunibadger66

this is gonna be the greatest rpg ever. period. i dont care what u say. i love oblivion, but im gonna marry this game. lol. or just play it whenever i have time. thinking of going with the latter actually :)

familydude51
familydude51

hell yeahh dude elder scrolls sucked your dudes combat was two gay swings with a sword in fable 2 your guy in under a state of evolution the hole game

shooter589
shooter589

game is gonna be great, fanatstic graphics, good story line and good twists

JaredTrotterboy
JaredTrotterboy

btw Fable 2's gonna blow Elder Scrolls out of the water....again hahah.

JaredTrotterboy
JaredTrotterboy

it comes out next month, i can't wait. I'm more excited about multiplayer, more than re-exploring Albion. Being able to change the world of Albion with everything u do sounds great as well. And i love the fact u have to get a job to get cash, instead of quests giving cash. Makes the game last longer.

familydude51
familydude51

im so pumped for fable 2 i hope it lives up to its expectations. the feature that the world evolves as time does really has me on edge

ZeRoIV
ZeRoIV

ooNaruto I dont think so but i know u can customize him to your liking unlike fable that You were this pale as a white Crayon

ooNaruto
ooNaruto

Can you make your own guy when you start the game?

dlip328
dlip328

Possible game of the year candidate. No it won't win. lol but it'll be in the running. That's a guarantee,

cuneofamily
cuneofamily

New Leisure Suit Larry Game! That's actually good! lol

Lordx67
Lordx67

this game looks awesome. i'm praying that it will be so successful that it will be made into a ps3 port. then i can get my hands on it!

ToddYbboT
ToddYbboT

can you customise the size of your dog and stuff? gona be a kick-ass game!

12esa31
12esa31

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

sikatgames
sikatgames

i cant wait to get this game, there has been so much hype and i just wanna play it. I played the pub games and it is a pretty good idea to earn gold in a real life kind of way. Hurry up time lol.

aroonie
aroonie

Does anybody remember the little mini mission in Fable 1 where you are trying to woo a pretty lady. Her father gives you a number of tasks which u must finish before u can date her. Get a mohawk, a funny beard and a number of really strange looking appearance changes. Then when u finally done with all those and go see her dad, he rolls over laughing at how u look and tells you to get lost, coz he cant have his daughter with someone looking like that. There were lots of really funny twists like that in the first one. Hoping for more in the new game. Just cant wait to get my hands on it ...

mikey4418
mikey4418

People who are worrying about it coming out for PC why not get an xbox360? much easier

DeimosGT
DeimosGT

Fable II will come to the PC, just like the first Fable did.

October_Revenge
October_Revenge

This is why I'm so glad I own both the PS3 and the XBOX 360. I think I would die otherwise.

DeimosGT
DeimosGT

Guys Don't worry, FABLE II will arrive on the PC scene before you know it, just like Final Fantasy XIII did on Xbox 360, and Grand Theft Auto IV on the PC. The Xbox 360 graphics suck anyway for FABLE II. So, apparently FABLE II will make its way in the PC in 2009, with revamped graphics.

TheDarkFortress
TheDarkFortress

YES! YES! YES! the first fable was an amazing game...it had a perfect mix of action, humour, stupidity, and romance...I've been waiting ever since i first played fable 1 for number 2 to come out...

PBN-Dawg
PBN-Dawg

never played first game but from wut the british dude showed us at E3 i want to download Fable for 360 and im waitin to buy Fable II whenever it comes out.

Vasot
Vasot

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

itneverends00
itneverends00

Seriously, this game sounds amazing...a complete 180 from the first. Which for it's time sounded just as good as this, I honesly hope/can't wait to see what sequel/new game comes out of this gem. *Buying a replacment 360 in 5...4...3...*

sykalob
sykalob

Good News....this is what we call an EXCLUSIVE =]

sykalob
sykalob

Good News....this is what we call an EXCLUSIVE =]

sykalob
sykalob

Good News....this is what we call an EXCLUSIVE =]

TheDarkFortress
TheDarkFortress

the first game was my favorite game of all time, I beat it 8 times each with a different playing style...I'm really looking forward to this game...I hope its as good as they say it will be.