Fable III: Then and Now

Two years and a whole lot of work made Fable III considerably better looking than its predecessor.

A two-year gap separates Fable II from Fable III. In that time, Lionhead Studios put in a good bit of work to make the sequel look substantially better. The game still takes place in the land of Albion. And while the setting remains the same, the looks have definitely changed. On an artistic level, the world evolved, cities grew bleaker, and the inhabitants look quite a bit more downtrodden. From a technical standpoint, Lionhead Studios updated the game with higher resolution textures, better water reflections, normal mapping, and considerably more.

We'll go through some of the changes and point out specific areas of interest with zoomed-in versions of the screenshots.

Soft Focus

Fable III ditched the soft focus filter that made Fable II so cuddly. The bleak outlook that starts off Fable III wouldn't be quite as believable if it were warm and fuzzy.

Fable 2 Fable 3

High Resolution Textures

Stepping into a tavern in Fable II treated us to some rather drab interiors. Fable III remedies the issue with considerably higher resolution textures and much more detail. Get a better look at the differences with the second set of comparison images.

Fable 2 Fable 3

Fable 2 Fable 3

Furry Dogs and Better Clothes

Lionhead ditched the wet-dog look from Fable II and gave your furry friend, well, fur. In keeping with the higher resolution textures, your character also looks considerably better and the clothes much more detailed.

Fable 2 Fable 3

Normal Mapping

Normal mapping, also called bump mapping, adds depth to textures. An example of this is readily visible on the tree bark. Fable II's tree trunks were relatively featureless, while the bark on the trees in Fable III have deep crags. You can see more examples of this on the bricks in the images further down the page.

Fable 2 Fable 3

Water Reflections

Fable III's water and water reflections are head and shoulders above those in Fable II.

Fable 2 Fable 3

Fable 2 Fable 3

Character Screen

More of a stylistic change, full-character representations are available at the outset of the game, rather than the cards that Lionhead used in Fable II.

Fable 2 Fable 3

Bowerstone

The main city of Bowerstone changed considerably from Fable II to Fable III. Take a gander at some of the differences.

Fable 2 Fable 3

Fable 2 Fable 3

Fable 2 Fable 3

Fable 2 Fable 3

Fable 2 Fable 3

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Discussion

189 comments
sguint-eyed
sguint-eyed

Liked the art design in Fable 2 much more... If they went for the bleak feehen it just set forward how weak the engine is, which was not so apparent in F2

Darksonic666
Darksonic666

I just broke down and got fable 2 for the Xbox 360 i am tired of waiting for a PC release.

SFRfajardo
SFRfajardo

Hope it hit The PC market Soon, Im daying To play This Game..... Thumbs....

rehatheway
rehatheway

There is a notice amount of more dark and gloomy graphics in Fable III than Fable II, but it still has plenty of light, sunny landscapes with the typical amount of goofy British humor in the Fable series. Most of the gameplay features people complain about being stripped out aren't exactly taken away, but instead changed into something different. I've played 1 & 2 and both had plenty of differences between the two as well. I rather liked the Sanctuary (pause menu), and thought it added to the game. Where a basic inventory list would be you have a graphical interface that makes it more fun and interesting to see. The only real complaint I have with the new features is the expression wheel being dumbed down to a basic choice between good, bad, rude, or scary actions that are preselected in a cycle. The frame rate issues can be annoying, but as long as it's downloaded on you drive it is not too big of a deal. I do like the Road to Rule as a visual means of progress and your replacement for the XP orbs.

Zachbpd
Zachbpd

I just wish it will come out on PC faster!!!

TheKiwiMantis
TheKiwiMantis

After completing Fable 3, all I just wanted to do is play Fable 2. Does anyone have that feeling? I mean I wasnt looking forward to the good graphics. I was looking forward to the gameplay and the lack of it just disappointed me. I was expecting a fable 2 with more features but what I got was less features. One of the biggest features that made FABLE stand out from other games is picking up those experience orbs. Now its like barely noticeable.

buft
buft

i feel as though lionheads choice of aesthetic may have squandered some of that technical prowess, sometimes in game it doesnt feel quite as pretty as Fable 2 which undeniably was a much more charming and quaint game than Fable 3.

big-boss-91
big-boss-91

what about Fable 1? on PC of course,

calum1984
calum1984

What no showing aurora areas!!!???? The graphics in that area alone are some of the most stunning ive seen in a while (the atmospheric effects alone are on par with uncharted 2's

JokerFoxx
JokerFoxx

Graphics are much better, though i don't think their good enough to warrent a compatablity test.

Sagacious_Tien
Sagacious_Tien

Certainly a better looking title. More time with the console is easily allowing them greater freedom of artistic depiction. As with all consoles, graphics get better with experience.

Chief9088
Chief9088

The graphics are better, but what about the frame rate? I loved Fable 2 but the frame rate annoyed me.

Crayzorder
Crayzorder

9uitarman - That was ridiculous. The graphics on here do not suck, they are slightly above most current games. And your entire argument is based on shoveling, if they payed that much attention to all graphics there would be no game, or it would take forever to make it. This isn't a CoD or Halo game, they don't have time to tweak every detail.

9uitarman
9uitarman

The graphics aren't that much better. They suck for a 2010 game. Blotchy, things go into other things. I mean, just watch when you dig for treasure... 1) No hole appears. 2) No dirt is shown on your shovel, it just comes off of the shovel (appears in mid air). 3) The dirt you dump off your shovel just goes into the ground.... I love this game, and the others, I just think they could do far better on the graphics.

steven141
steven141

I prefer Fable 2's graphic style, even though the third one's much more detailed and superior, obviously. But i don't really like the doom and gloom style of fable 3. I'll just have to wait a couple mroe days before i play the game for myself to see how much i feel about it.

analgrin
analgrin

Maybe i'll try this one, recently had a go on the original fable but unfortunatly the bland gfx soon bored me. May give this a go before it's out of date. When's the next Elder Scrolls coming? that's what I want to know

Chaozi
Chaozi

i was thinking, "They havent even thought up any new area! these look exactly the same" then realised its a sequel to the second game rather than a new world. -Facestairs-

Hazehill
Hazehill

Yeah yeah lovely graphics would be so much nicer if they hadnt included some horrible bloom and motion blur that make the screen look a freakin mess most of the time. Why bother to go to all that trouble?!

AllTimeHigh
AllTimeHigh

Wow...didn't know how much of an improvement the graphics were between Fable 2 and Fable 3 until I saw this.

flint101_7
flint101_7

realy great game fable 3 is would of thaught in co-op players can travel to different towns from one another also i miss the freedom of emotes from the RB :(

mercian
mercian

The big difference between 2 and 3 for me is that I could finish Fable 2 as I am stuck in a mission in fable 3 and it would appear I will have to start again. So maybe it looks better than 2 maybe it would have best to release Fable 3 finished and not broken.....

jr1809
jr1809

a sort of liked fable 2 was alright not the best but it kept is busy. but a feel like if a play 3 it will leave is sick like the new fallout did(and am easy to please when it comes to rpgs)

jr1809
jr1809

@x-2tha-z folllowed by the fellas who done fallout new vegas

Soggy2002
Soggy2002

@organbank 14 hours is better than the two hours it took me to complete CoD. I'm still waiting for Fable 3 to come out for the PC anyway and I WILL buy it.

organbank
organbank

And right here is the problem. Spent too much money in production values and have bugger all gameplay = FAIL. 14 hours to finish a game is a rental at best. Developers need to find a happy medium because ATM super graphics and super short games are a rip off.

boodleout
boodleout

should take a note from assasins creed II

boodleout
boodleout

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

lrac42
lrac42

The character shapes are much better in fable III

Pete5506
Pete5506

Both games look great, but not much of a change between the two

Goods_Merchant
Goods_Merchant

Well I dont see much difference between the two and I don't particularly care about Fable. If this was about the difference between Killzone 2 and Killzone 3 it would be way more interesting. Too bad that can't happen for a couple more months.

PeteyPablo10001
PeteyPablo10001

I enjoyed the story of fable 3 and the graphics are indeed better ( especially water) but the combat left me wanting more out of it and character interaction wasn't as complex as fable 2 which made it disappointing. I love the fable series but fable started 3 out disappointing but did pick up the pace towards the end of the game where as if they didn't add the last part it would have sucked immensely.

hurricane2202
hurricane2202

i have to say the leap isnt that great and the fur on the dog in three looks so stupid. Also the first picture in II looks better but the rest will got to III just by a hair(except character models)

fkbwii
fkbwii

Pretty significant leap, especially the water.

x-2tha-z
x-2tha-z

It's too bad Fable 3 has so many bugs. I was really enjoying it until one of these bugs forced me to stop playing. Now I have to wait weeks for a patch to be released before I can play it again. Lionhead must have the worst game testers in the world.

JJB03
JJB03

number 3 does look a hell lot more detailed but the dogs fur on three look odd like its tacked on with glue and compared to the dog in 2 which is a diffrent breed anyway has anyone else noticed that through out the whole game u never see anyone else with a pet dog wel i have'nt played 3 but in two you were definitly the only guy in the whole world of fable who had a dog

_distemper
_distemper

@Wula_ Well, to be honest with you, that brightness is what turned me away from the earlier fable games. The plotlines were not dark enough to capture my interest.

Wula_
Wula_

is it just me or does the second game look more bright and possibly fun to play then the grimmer third installment? Or did they just happen to take screenshots of all the grim looking locations from 3?

wwlettsome
wwlettsome

Does III look better then II? Ok, I guess so but not really enough for me to care. What's disappointing are the gameplay elements that have either at best simply not improved and at worst have regressed as if Lionshead was somehow traveling backwards in time. Do these people not get out much or was this just cover so that in a year Molyneux can come out and proclaim how miserable this game was compared to his incomparable vision?

PANIC99
PANIC99

Massive improvement graphics wise but the gameplay is even more simple

diaconsecond
diaconsecond

What I found really annoying was the new interaction system used in F3, I mean, if I want to talk to a guy, why the hell do I have to dance with the guy, or hug him, I mean, the wheel system used in F2 gave a real choice to what to do or what to say or what action use, more quickly than in F1 and F1 TLC. Also, magic, sure the mix of spell is quite astounding but is the lack of spells and more important the mobility that F2 and F3 lacks in comparison to their predecessors, the game is aesthetically beautiful but lacks the things that made Fable a game you played several times and enjoyed each more than the last. Aging and combat some of those. Now this game also brings lots of possibilities, like new jobs, investments and some weapons, but definitively needs more combat... Oh Bow of Skorm I miss you so...

mvsteelersfan
mvsteelersfan

Fable 3 is much better than fable 2, but fable 1 is still the best of all. Most likely because it was original. I believe that fable 3 did downgrade in many areas from fable 2, but the story and graphics have thrived. I beat fable 3's story without any sidequests in about 20 hours and now I'm doing all the sidequests and its clear that this game is huge. There's so much to explore, I've put about 50 hours into it and am still looking for gnomes and keys and books. It could be much better, but I feel it has achieved greatness because it does have the replay value. Every time you play will be very unique.

189302
189302

Nemesi609 good thing you weren't correcting spelling. "Grammar" ;)

puaemerson
puaemerson

Why does Fable 3 seem so much worse?

MCCHA
MCCHA

I liked Fable 1 a bunch but thought Fable 2 was too easy, buggy, ugly (technically, not artistically), and boring. There was so little to do in Fable 2! Unfortunately I don't think Fable 3 deserves a look. The only reason reviewers gave F2 and F3 good reviews is because AAA mainstream titles cannot get a bad review lest the review jeopardize sales. What Molyneux needs is more bad reviews so he can re-excavate the gem that was F1. But if you did like F2 and F3, that's ok too; you can disagree with me =)

nemesi609
nemesi609

@KILLROYIIII "rate it well"... grammer my friend.

JMR1904
JMR1904

Indeed Fable 3 is the best looking game in the series to date. It's also the one with the worst core mechanics and story telling. I can't help but feel that Lionhead studios are not so slowly disappearing up their own backsides, in their quest to concentrate on all the frippery surrounding a good game rather than the game itself.

Alizerothree
Alizerothree

how bout comparing game stability and game progression bugs between Fable 2 & 3?