Fable III First Look

We meet with Peter Molyneux and get our first look at Fable III.

Earlier today, while attending Microsoft's X10 event in San Francisco, we had an opportunity to meet with Peter Molyneux and spend between 20 and 30 minutes checking out Fable III. As we watched the game being played, Molyneux pointed out a number of key new features. While there are clearly still a lot of things that aren't being talked about yet, we came away from the presentation feeling like Molyneux's claims that this is going to represent a huge step forward over Fable II are well founded.

The first portion of the demo took place in a city where Molyneux's character was walking around looking for his young daughter and showing off some already-impressive visuals in the process. As he strolled across a bridge, he spotted the daughter playing with some of her young friends and being watched intently by another member of the family: the dog. As he approached the group, the daughter's friends ran away, and--perhaps as a result--the young girl became quite upset. How does a father comfort and cheer up his daughter in a situation like this one? Well, in Fable II, you might have resorted to dancing in front of her. Relentlessly. But in Fable III, emotes like that one are being replaced by touch and mapped to a single, context-sensitive trigger button.

Using said button, he bent down to pick up his daughter and proceeded to play with her--tossing her up and down until her sobbing gave way to girlish giggles. Then, using the same button, he gently reached for her hand and walked her down the street with the dog following dutifully behind. Molyneux appeared to contemplate popping into a pub at one point, but his daughter was quick to point out that he really shouldn't do that with her in tow. Next, we were shown how the touch command will work with a very different character who, on this occasion, was a beggar asking for money. Appearing sympathetic to the man's plight, Molyneux took his hand and started walking him through the town--perhaps to buy him a hearty meal or some new clothes. The beggar was clearly familiar with the way that Molyneux plays these games, though, (or perhaps just with the layout of the town) because not a minute into the walk, he started protesting and doing everything he could to resist being pulled along. Molyneux's plan, as it turned out, was to sell the beggar to a factory--whether the beggar was going to be put to work there or turned into an affordable meat product wasn't clear, but he was clearly opposed to the idea either way. Other uses for touch, we're told, will include guiding children to schools or orphanages, picking up someone who's injured to rescue him or her, and greeting people with gestures that are appropriate for your relationship with them. A handshake used the first time you meet someone might be replaced with a hug as you become better acquainted with them, for example.

And why exactly should you want to spend your time getting to know people and being nice to them? Well, because you'll need their help if you're to stand any chance of overthrowing the evil king. Followers will be an important consideration in Fable III, both prior to when you become king and during your reign on the throne. And, there will be a number of ways to gain their loyalty. One of the more interesting examples we were given, for example, involved wooing a powerful woman who had plenty of her own followers to make them your own. Other characters will be more easily pleased and might simply be impressed by your prowess in combat.

Hero and daughter share a touching moment.

Based on what little combat we saw in Fable III today, it seems that it'll play out in much the same way as it did in Fable II, with buttons devoted to magic use, projectile weapons, and melee weapons. Molyneux hinted that there will be some improvements, but what he was most excited to talk about was the way that weapons will work. Molyneux's hope is that no two weapons in Fable III will be the same because--like your character--they'll morph based on your actions and even your gamerscore. The most obvious way that weapons will transform is that they'll grow bigger and more powerful the more you use them, but there's much more to it than that. The visual style of your weapon will change quite radically according to how you use it. So to give you the examples that we got to see for ourselves today, the head of a large axe that has presumably been used to kill a lot of skeletons or beasts appears to be made of bones, while a sword that has been used to commit evil acts, such as killing innocents, will forever appear to be covered in blood. And if you're still not excited, perhaps hearing that you'll be able to trade your unique (or at the very least, uniquely named) weapons with other players online might do the trick.

As you progress through the story, there will apparently be a number of occasions where you're encouraged to give up your unique weapons--perhaps for financial gain or some other temptation. Molyneux's hope, though, it seems, is that you'll feel so attached to your weapons--which you'll ultimately be able to store in your own armory--that you'll be reluctant to give them up. And perhaps you should be reluctant because while they will grow more powerful as you progress through the game, it's not yet clear if the same will be true of your character. All we know for sure is that experience points are a thing of the past, along with your health bar and anything else that resembles a heads-up display.

You know what else will be a thing of the past? Having to play co-op as some generic character that is of absolutely no interest to you. That's right, in Fable III, you'll be able to play co-operatively with a friend, and both of you will get to use your own characters, work on improving your own weapons, and even bring along your own dogs. Molyneux also pointed out that you'll be able to use the touch command with each other, but we chose not to pursue that potential line of questioning. This was partly because the character that we were seeing on the screen didn't really look like one we'd ever want to touch.

This character, which we watched battling against generic bad guys inside an impressively detailed cavern of some sort, was far and away the most evil looking that we've seen in a Fable game. Glowing red markings on his dark skin were somewhat reminiscent of those on Illidan from World of Warcraft or Devil Jin from the Tekken series. And that idea was reinforced when, during combat, he appeared to sprout horns and wings. Said appendages didn't appear to be parts of the character's physical form but rather translucent visual motifs that served no obvious purpose other than to look really cool. For characters at the opposite end of the good-and-evil scale, these demonic visuals will be replaced with angelic ones. This was evidenced by a video clip we saw showing a character that appeared to have large white feathered wings.

It's not money that the guy in tow is begging for now.

Before our time with Molyneux and Fable III came to an end, we were told that becoming king in the game will unlock at least two major new gameplay elements that--for the moment--aren't being shown. We were given a brief outline of what one of them will be, though, and the gist is essentially that with great power comes great responsibility. As king, you'll have access to a huge treasury, and having spent time on the streets gaining and getting to know your followers previously, you'll find yourself having to make difficult decisions when it comes to putting all of that gold to work. You might not want your people to starve, for example, but what if the money that's needed to feed them is also needed to assemble an army so that you can defend them? Unlike some of the choices in previous games from developer Lionhead Studios, these are unlikely to be black and white. You'll still be able to wander around your kingdom after ascending to the throne, and mechanics like combat and touching will still be a big part of the game. We were told that if you're confronted by someone badmouthing you in the street, for example, you could take him by the hand and choose to either throw him to the ground or, if you have something you're feeling guilty about or would just like kept quiet, lead him to your treasury and offer him a bribe to keep quiet.

During the brief question-and-answer session that followed the demo, Molyneux mentioned the existence of a second continent named Arora. And, on the subject of Natal support, he stated that Fable III is being designed for the regular Xbox 360 controller first and foremost, but that some Natal surprises are coming. We look forward to bringing you more information on Fable III, Natal, and player characters being able to "touch" each other cooperatively as soon as it becomes available.

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Discussion

304 comments
Aminal_basic
Aminal_basic

It is great to see that they put it back on the PC. But there are things that can be brought over from Fable2 that those with a PC cannot do because they decided to OMIT us . Thank you Lionhead for remembering those of us who were also responsible for making Fable Great by buying and playing it. mike_ezm I saw your responses and thank you. But wouldn't it be great if they allowed us into the Xtras we will miss because we didn't have the opportunity to play Fable 2??

LordGumi
LordGumi

this game is going to very unique and definitely epic.

mike_ezm
mike_ezm

@Aminal_basic hey....it says "also on PC"

mike_ezm
mike_ezm

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

Aminal_basic
Aminal_basic

BOOOOO!!! As before it is only on the 360 :( Fable started on the PC and should have continued on with the PC and XBox 360 but the PC also! BOOOO and shame on you Lionhead! a thousand curses upon your equipment and those who made the decision to make it non-PC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

madglee
madglee

Pretty tired of the constant, relentless emotes in 1 and 2 - main reason I couldn't get too into the game, as I don't like spending most of the game dancing or doing rude things over and over to get a reaction. Hope this is more adult and they get rid of that system entirely.

DawnForMe
DawnForMe

so looking forward for this peace of art.

drakoman8
drakoman8

man cant wait for fable3 !!! im going get it as soon as it release man but idk when it comes out said it was april 10tth but Dx it wasnt sooo i have to keep waiting

WoodzHorizon
WoodzHorizon

Fable 2 wasn't fantastic in the sense it was really watered down for a more commercial audience, this could be a immersive RPG or a watered down piece of crap that wastes 50-hours of peoples lives.

jjmonster2006
jjmonster2006

another fable game based on the idea that emotion brings the experience, rather than the experience bringing the emotion.

DFBTG
DFBTG

Sounds very interesting and very cool, just like 1 and 2 did, but I hope that it'll be able to hold my interest for more than 2 playthroughs (unlike the other 2). 2 times beaten is more than other games, but given the length of Fable 1 & 2, still too little to justify $60. We will see though.

jorgeaps
jorgeaps

...... Man, now I'm just gonna have to get some spell and tape the B button down for 3 days. Bwuahahah!

raith616
raith616

p[lease have a boss fight this time n more game then more, the first two were too short n the build up to the end made the one button kill soooo frustrating it made me feel cheated

rouguesquadron
rouguesquadron

Unlike some of the people here I've liked both of the previous Fable games, and Fable 3 is shaping up to be the best of them all.

drokmore
drokmore

Fable 2 was great fun, just wanted more, 3 would suffice...

udonthavetoknow
udonthavetoknow

Willceace If you don't like it then don't waste your time on it -_-''

Diomedes200
Diomedes200

wow, molyneux kind of kept his mouth shut, i meam compared to how he usually is

deuffenburg
deuffenburg

willceace if your just going to be a ***** *********** ***** **** rabbit******** griaffe******* groin that just don't bother writing crap comments because fable 3 looks amazing P.S your gay

Willceace
Willceace

Somebody please shake molyneux by them big floppy ears and tell him to stop spouting so much BS about his game. Everyone with any common sense is gonna see through the lies and know what a mediocre title fable 3 is gonna be. ooooo morphing he says. I bet your weapon will change colour depending on how much you charge the peasants in tax. And THAT will be it. a*** hole thinks we were born yesterday.

knayh
knayh

gggg...g.g...gerr.grr.gr.....g.o.og.og..r.......e.e....... . . . great!!!!!!!

atomicpie
atomicpie

I think this one is going to be very shallow on story again. The first Fable was fantastic especially the Lost Chapters addition. I think instead of trying to show off new "innovative" features, why don't they make it simpler and more involving like Fable LC...

Keabard
Keabard

Anyone else think Lost Chapters was the best?

tomclancyhaha
tomclancyhaha

i really can't wait for this game, loved fable 2

gary_safc
gary_safc

I reakon Natal will work as a camara for fable 3 allowing us to be in the game king or queen with our face and body.

moneyislife21
moneyislife21

The last 2 games ended up being amazing, I'm sure the 3rd will be even better!

Dan21278
Dan21278

Hmmmm I really don't know what to think of you Peter. All my friends tell me that your just a power hungry money grubbing liar BUT what just said sounded absolutely AMAZING. If this game is done right it could be a master piece

CyberGrandpa
CyberGrandpa

If I had a nickel for every broken Molyneux promise, I could buy Lionhead.

Liponade
Liponade

haha nice one toffe15 whats with this touch thing sounds hell lame

Toffe15
Toffe15

with fable 2 and now the upcoming third game, are the new target group, girls between the age of 6-12?

McLarty
McLarty

i hope they get rid of the the teleporting doors to get to different areas around the forests and Bowerstone. If the wilderness countryside was as large as Oblivion and can run for hours without getting interupted.

rockutd
rockutd

Well I hope they make some improvemements, like make the main character talk.Fable 2 just didn't cut it for me. Sometimes the game felt lame .

chrisevz
chrisevz

Peter is brilliant. I hope Fable 3 is better than Fable 2.

lincolnhenry
lincolnhenry

i've seen a lot of interviews with game developers, and compared to a lot of people, this guy seems brilliant. All the other people are either awkward, not confident, and definately not well-spoken. This guy is very well-spoken, and its kind of like a breath of fresh air from the geeky American guy, or the fast-talking Brit, or the French guy who thinks his game is gonna take over the world. I just hope the game lives up to Peter's description.

robCROW75
robCROW75

I like the new commands, and touches. Fable 3 is the type of game I would actually get. The graphics look alil enhanced, but not much. If i would be giving this a review it would be a very good review. I hope lady Grey comes back. :)

bigjoe8181
bigjoe8181

fable 1 was a great game because it changed our perspective on action rpg's...fable 2 was a disappointment for next-gen consoles with its cute and really not funny akward sim-like way of interacting with the world...fable 3 bleh! i don't even care! molyneux promised us the world of gaming would change with fable 2 it did, i knew i didnt want to play crap like this ever again, i might check it out at one of my gullible friend's house you know the kind that buys sonic racing lolll

cadillac1234
cadillac1234

Completely agree with other posters. Molyneux promises revolutions and ends up giving us cute but ultimately tedious interactions that don't really add to the ultimate enjoyment of the game. Kind of like watching a Harry Potter movie

CCyberDDemon
CCyberDDemon

He needs to overcome his obsession with BUGS in video games programing

RockySquirrel
RockySquirrel

He needs to overcome his obsession with sex in video games (fable 2).

negativeions
negativeions

Bring back the Syndicate peter. The only hope of video game Jesus rising from the dead is for you to buy back your own bloody ideas from the large, slothering animal dog. What a world. Syndicate Apocalypse. It's already in the works, and it'll be available as a free download. And if EA doesn't like that they can go to hell because it's millions they're losing out on but we don't care because we do it for the love. Get smashed EA.

nickythenewt21
nickythenewt21

This is good and all, but what about The Movies 2?! :(

hackalakala
hackalakala

is this a good pc starter game because i've got a ps3 and i really want it but i've never played pc games before so, is it a good pc starter game? ore should i start with an other pc game before i play this?

cossidae
cossidae

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

andalore
andalore

lol Fable 3 is creating new genres; Touch 'em up

neuroboy
neuroboy

I've been a follower of Peter Molyneux games since Populous in 1989. When I said follower, I didn't particularly mean 'fan'. There is always something that irks me about his games, and even though I initially loved things like Syndicate, Black & White and Fable, they soon grow old. I've increasing grown to loathe his insistence on developing games where you are encouraged to micro-manage all interactions with most NPCs... to the point where, when I played Fable II (which I got free alongside the amazing Fallout 3 with my Xbox 360) I completely ignored this aspect of the game and just played the very lacklustre story. I admit to rushing through it in disappointement and flogging it on Ebay within a week - I felt it was a very poor sequel to the original, which I played just a few months before. This is the first I've heard of Fable III and I'm now at the stage where, 20 years after I first played one of his games, I just can't be bothered to read this article or even watch the video.

hackalakala
hackalakala

ah crap i love the fable serie but i haven't got an xbox crap why is fable on xbox :(:(:(:(:'(:'(:'(

udonthavetoknow
udonthavetoknow

I'm deffinatly gonna buy this since i always was a huge fan of the fable games fable 2 was fun to play.. just not as good as fable 1 but still i liked it very much and i really enjoy the idea of being king or queen , i think that it is a very unique option and i also LOVE interaction in games if it turns out the way he want's it to be.. it will be a perfect game for me