Fable II had "huge design flaws," says Molyneux

Develop 2010: Lionhead founder talks about the lessons learned from Fable II and some of the improvements in the upcoming sequel.

by

Who Was There: Peter Molyneux is the founder of Lionhead Studios and the man behind the Fable games and such classics as Dungeon Keeper, Populous, and Theme Park. His studio is currently working on Fable III and Kinect-powered game Mylo.

What He Talked About: Molyneux started his talk by discussing many of the issues he had with Fable II, saying, “It had some terribly messy things about it.” He continued, "There were huge design flaws--at one point Fable II had 67,000 bugs." This actually pushed Fable II to a “super-black” rating, making it completely unsuitable for release. He also criticised many of the features that were implemented, saying many were used just once or twice, such as the marriage feature, which was an “excuse to have sex.” Molyneux had other annoyances to share about the title, including the menu-driven levelling system, which he referred to as “DOS-like,” a lack of drama, and the graphical look of women, whom he said, “looked like Russian shot putters.”

Of course, these are flaws that Molyneux says are fixed in the sequel Fable III. “The first thing we did in Fable III was create a great cast,” he boasted, referring to the likes of comedian John Cleese who has a part as the butler in the game. The co-op system has been overhauled, allowing gamers to have the same interaction with their co-op buddy as they do with the non-player characters in the world. This includes getting married and experiencing “intimate” moments, which are “not quite as realistic as the real thing, but less messy.” Other improvements he mentioned included an overhauled menu system called The Sanctuary, which now takes place entirely in the 3D world, and maps that are four times bigger than those seen in Fable II.

Molyneux then showed off sections from a current build of the game, including combat, The Sanctuary, and a new way of levelling up a character. While combat remains similar to the previous games, the levelling system has seen a huge overhaul. In keeping with the ethos of having every menu item in the 3D game world, levelling is now represented by the visual metaphor of gates. Each gate represents levels, which are unlocked by accumulating the single experience points in the game, called Guild Seals. Players can choose how to spend the seals as they see fit, using them to unlock gates or chests containing magic spells and other rewards. Weapons will level up separately from the character and are represented by the “Fist of Power.” It is levelled up the more weapons are used and will reflect the type of fighting that players indulge in. This results in unique weapons, which can be traded or gifted to friends and enemies.

The final feature revealed was promises, which is the game’s way of reflecting a player’s good and bad actions in the game world. Molyneux gave the example of a librarian, who agrees to back a player’s pledge to become king, but only if the player promises to save the library from closure. They can be ignored, but this will cause many characters to distrust the player or become rebellious, affecting the look of the gameworld.

Takeaway: Molyneux was very negative when speaking about Fable II, referring to it as “boring and tedious.” Of course, he praised the forthcoming sequel, referring to the huge drama and depth of characters. It’s “clear and simple” he said, “We have to get people to care.” Fable III is looking to be a huge overhaul from its predecessor, and Molyneux promised that more about the game would be revealed before its release later this year.

Discussion

291 comments
Zero_Unit
Zero_Unit

Not like Fable III didn't have them... Having to dance with everyone to make them like you is upright stupid.

myrepose
myrepose

I agree with Peters comments overall about FableII but I have found playing it , a wonderful world that you needed to learn to gain the most from it. Playing this type of game does require lateral thinking and OCD :)

LightninLew
LightninLew

@Spiritwolf99 and you are calling me a fanboy, but you are bigging up everything bioware, hypocrite. bioware arent even close to being the best, look at Bethesda, Blizzard, Rockstar, i know all of these are great, i am not belittling them by saying fable is the best.

LightninLew
LightninLew

@Spiritwolf99 i said i wasn't tempted by dragon age because it LOOKED like a rts/rpg cross, i never played it, way to over react to a comment. what has fanboyism got to do with anything? since when is being a fan of something a bad thing? i didn't say anything about not knowing when to save, i said the bugs in mass effect lead to me losing progress. i know fable has no voice actor for the main character, but the other characters do not respond to something you said, when infact you didnt say anything. i havent lied or made anything up, i gave my opinion.

Neosword
Neosword

I like the fact that Molyneux is honest and is constantly listening to feedback and trying to make future games better. That goes a long way.

amar1234
amar1234

I hope they let you use amazing armour like in the first game again, that improves your combat. The pirate look of F2 was very off putting to me, i prefer the more D&D feel of fable 1.

Spiritwolf99
Spiritwolf99

@LightninLew You obviously don't know what an RPG is if you're complaining about your own lack of knowing when to save. RTS? Do you even know what Real Time Strategy is; honestly. And Fable has a voice actor for the main character? ROFL. Keep trying bud; Fable the original was amazing for its time but 2 was overshadowed by much better games. Mass Effect being the main one. Fanboyism is hilarious -- I like Lionhead but I'm not going to lie and make up things like you to support them. xD

LightninLew
LightninLew

@Spiritwolf99 im not a fan of bioware. mass effect, too buggy, lead to loss of progress and eventually the whole game save, lead to me not playing mass effect 2. dragon age didnt even slightly tempt me with all the hype, looked terrible like some RPG/RTS cross with a bit of WOW/two worlds thrown in, no voice actor for the main character if i remember correctly? you just chose to say something then turn your back and everyone acts like you said something? no thanks.

LightninLew
LightninLew

i dont get the whole hating on peter thing, he makes great games, and i don't understand why you think he over hypes games, "Fable will set the standard for which all RPG's are compared" didn't it? the fable series is in my opinion by far the best. i cannot think of a RPG better than Fable 2, and i believe that fable 3 will soon be my new favourite. i can't wait for it, too bad it comes out after my college half term is over :(

WaterMelnKidd
WaterMelnKidd

It's actually good that he takes pride in his work, he has made some of the best RPGs that you can find remember. The original Fable was completely new for the time, and Fable 2 brought back the memories with better graphics, in my opinion better story and all round a better experience. If he says Fable 3 is going to be great, then it will be. Since when has he been wrong about his games? He actually seems like one of the only people in the game industry I actually trust. If he says it's good, I'll believe it. If he says Fable 2 is bad, I'll look at his points and understand that yes, Fable 2 did have those down sides - which is true, remember how annoying it would get when you would slash with your sword, try to move and have to wait a few seconds for the animation to end? Fable 2 was a good game and the guns really helped make it incredible, but I can't wait for Fable 3, one of the only line of games that I can play through to the end.

Blitzman
Blitzman

LIsten folks, games that are not linear by rights are tough to make, at I admire the fact that Peter Molyneux at least trys to do something with his IP that few others can make happen. How to capture emotion in gaming, refine, refine, refine. He is doing that, and dseserves the credit. I don't mind that he hypes his games.

acidrain1976
acidrain1976

A flaw they didn't mention was the sluggish controls in Fable 2... I hope they tighten that up for 3.

dutchgamer83
dutchgamer83

I like the fable games...what i don't like is that Peter first praised fable 2 back than. Standing 100% behind is product...and now he burns it totally down. Thats just fake. Beside does that mean that everyone who actually liked fable 2 is a bad gamer? Cause he makes it sound like we where stupid enough to buy it to begin with. Peter, fable 2 might not have been as you promised...but not one fable game ever came close to what you promised, yet it where great games to play.

yx2vy
yx2vy

I like Molyneux... he over-hypes most of his games, but they're all still great (even if Fable didn't "change the standard for RPGs"). Fable: The Lost Chapters is actually my favorite game, and I still liked Fable II. I'm hoping Fable III will become my new favorite.

deadlysin87
deadlysin87

I hate the fact that most of the people who are saying Fable 2 sucked are jumping on the "Yeah I hate Peter Molyneux too!" bandwagon. If you truly and honestly thought Fable 2 sucked, you've probably never played a bad game in your life. OH NO GUYS GETTING MARRIED WAS POINTLESS, THAT MAKES THE GAME BAD! AND IT HAD BUGS?! NO OTHER GAMES EVER HAD BUGS EVER! MOLYNEUX, I'LL GET YOU, YOU BASTARD! I'm not usually the one going to people's rescues, especially people like Peter Molyneux and his games, but I hate to see a good game get bashed because people exaggerate it's faults to the point of saying its garbage.

vampyre_dark
vampyre_dark

I love Fable 2. I've had it for only a week now, and I'm addicted to it.

VenkmanPHD
VenkmanPHD

You know, I actually DO like Peter Molyneux. Granted he is an overboasting, full of himself, arrogant little man. Yes, he says he will do things in his games, and doesn't deliver all the time. You have to look at it through his eyes though, it's what he is TRYING to do. Have you ever designed a game? It's a lot of ****ing work. Not everything you want to do actually gets done! And you know, if NOTHING else, I have enjoyed EVERY single one of his video games. ESPECIALLY the Fable series. For what those games didn't end up being, they still turned out to be Grade AA prime ****. Quit your ****ing and just play some video games.

gideonkain
gideonkain

@The_Gaming_Baby Thank you! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who thinks that. He says Fable 2 is gonan be so amazing and great and then it comes out, it sucks and he even admits that it's "boring and tedious." Now F3 is going to be so amazing and great - yet not one of his promises have ever panned out.

NiteShadeX
NiteShadeX

At this point I have more faith in IW delivering another good CoD titles than anything PM says.

The_Gaming_Baby
The_Gaming_Baby

Does anyone actually like Peter Molyneux? He just says anything to make a sale. He's a parasite to the gaming world.

Raiden765
Raiden765

Peter Molyneux, The Hyper has struck again!

peterfaj
peterfaj

Meh. It's Molyneux talking. I think we should have learned by now not to listen to him.

Barighm
Barighm

Spells and combat was incredibly fun in the first Fable, the game was just too short and equipment too shallow. Fable 2 got bigger, but for some mind boggling reason ditched everything that made the first game so much fun.

THEONEPOWER
THEONEPOWER

Lol, most of you sound like he just kicked your dog. Seriously, PM has been doing this kind of thing for YEARS. Everyone knows it. It goes without saying. The fact that so many people see the need to actually say it is mind boggling. Personally, I've stopped listening to the dude and just played the games and enjoyed them without setting myself up for the inevitable disappointment of putting all my hopes on one "revolutionary" concept.

plainelmo
plainelmo

Glad to see the flaws being admitted. I was slightly disappointed with Fable 2, but this has rekindled my anticipation for 3.

Whakamole5
Whakamole5

"SLAMT1LT You don't learn anything unless you make mistakes. So I believe Fable III will be the best version yet." PM criticized the pointlessness of getting married in Fable 2 which is interesting because that was a common criticism of the marriage system in Fable 1.

2117
2117

rofl everyone below and most likely future poster Welcome peter molyneux to your hatemail.... rofl liked the games look forward to fable 3 if you don't like it don't post no reason to rant "psst, I don't think he reads this anyway." Rofl have fun guys.

drdoris
drdoris

Pete Molyneux, what a guy! I have watched him for years, telling us what ludicrous innovation his next game will have, and then watched them all fail to appear. But this latest outburst is the most entertaining thing he has ever done. I bet the publisher is really chuffed that he has admitted to handing them a "boring and tedious" product to release, and killed any chance of shifting some more Fable 2 copies on the back of the Fable 3 hype. Well done Pete!

brenikai22
brenikai22

peter molyneux is an ignorant, self centered megalomaniac he needs to criticize himself and his work a little bit more rather than suddenly realising his game was disliked and having a meeting now!

brenikai22
brenikai22

wow srsly? only NOW does he come to that conclusion? if Fable 2 had so many bugs, WHY DID THEY RELEASE IT? fable 2 was scraped off the boot of fable TLC i agree with Deadly nemesis we shouldn't believe the hype because blaze 11987 is right too fable 2 had a load of hype which was really exaggerated the only good one so far has fable TLC

Deadly_Nemesis
Deadly_Nemesis

You know what, at least he said most of what was on my mind about fable 2 now. Though more could be said but I am not here to rant; but I am concerned that Peter is simply blinded by the sweat of his brow right now and might be speaking in favor of the new game now because you are always most attached to what you do most recently. So I don't think we can swallow anything that Peter is saying right now about Fable 3, and we’ll just have to wait until we experience it ourselves

blaze11987
blaze11987

Fable 2 was playable, but many of the features touted as revolutionary before the games release were sub-par at best, such as the 2 player co-op. To my bewilderment, my team mate would ask what i was shooting/hacking at, even though i was surrounded by about 10 bandits. Turns out these bandits did'nt exist in his game and to him, i was simply chopping thin air. To admit that his studios last, much hyped release was 'boring and tedious' but went ahead and released it anyway, does'nt instill confidence in consumers. He would be wise to choose his words carefully, and avoid such a catastrophe repeating itself, but judging by his comments on fable 3, it may be a case of history repeating itself....

firefox10210
firefox10210

When fable 4 comes out, which i hope it never does, hes gonna be like "yeah, fable 3 was terrible, at one point it had 100,000 bugs. The interface seemed like the price is right. But fable 4 will be really epic. Yeah. We fixed all the problems from the previous game. " Hopefully this doesn't continue ad nauseum for years

MothVampire
MothVampire

I think Peter is so enamored with his games that in his mind they really are epic. IN HIS MIND. It probably takes the whole project team to have an intervention to convince him of the truth. I really think he believes that everything that he vomits up isn't literally made of anything but solid gold.

Immortal_Zarok
Immortal_Zarok

At least he is able to admit the previous games are flawed and capable of realising these flaws and also willing to work on fixing the problem in the next game rather than just leaving it as it is. The thing is he is always trying new things, a lot of games just use old systems and older concepts. But Peter Molyneux is willing to take risks and try something new. I just hope this one is an improvement.

Ebougile
Ebougile

Game developers pull this crap all the time saying bad things about a previous game in a series when a new game in a series is coming out. You see it all the time in sports games, and it's really not a surprise to see it again in other genres. You can be sure if there is a Fable 4 that Molyneux will find all kinds of things wrong with Fable 3 a few months before Fable 4 comes out.

drangel_jam
drangel_jam

He is dead on, I couldn't be happier with a developer who honestly and openly admits the flaws of his game. All that he said, I agree, especially the uninspired cast and lack of drama. After playing Fallout 3 and Lost Odyssey Fable 2's story felt like a plot from an Arcade hack-&-slasher.

wakko19991
wakko19991

Now that I think about it, he reminds me of the guy who does the Apple videos after they relase their products. Maybe they consulted him when they did the iphone 4 release ??? seems like the same pattern except apple seem reluctant to admit they FUBAR with the i4 and that lame arrogant press conference. He should call up Jobs and ask his help on Fable III just to really piss us all off....

Flinet91
Flinet91

I wonder why he didnt say this before it was released?! haha nah just kidding i bet there will be a similar article a year from now when the 3rd game is released.

kvan33
kvan33

Basically he is admitting he released a sub-par sequel to Fable. I continue to be amazed that anyone purchases his games.

MagusIM
MagusIM

Fable > Fable II. They should really not allow him to speak before his games are released. He really doesn't understand videogames.

Trampledrose
Trampledrose

Oh please let female characters be able to be knocked up while questing. It would be so gratifying to chop someone's head off while sporting a babybump.

MuffintopX
MuffintopX

MOLYNEUX: I was bored with the limited genetalia available in Fable II. Two sets are just not enough. Now Fable III: Genders has over 30 different gender types to choose from, allowing you and your co-op buddies to marry and re-marry producing many sons. It is true that "sons" are the only available offspring at launch, this is by design. We plan on adding many new and exciting sex organs that level up separately from the rest of your equipment. The only bugs you'll see in Fable III will be curable via a handy salve that only John Cleese can supply.

MuffintopX
MuffintopX

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

HitmanDante
HitmanDante

@Caboose84020 Either that or you're completely stuck with the bugs. "/

Caboose84020
Caboose84020

@QAOSbringer: Get an X360 and all bugs are eradicated!