Microsoft and Lionhead announced earlier this week that Fable: The Lost Chapters has gone gold, meaning that the PC version of last year's hit Xbox role-playing game is now finished and headed toward production, and it's scheduled to ship next month. The Lost Chapters isn't just a simple port--it adds a considerable amount of new content that wasn't in the Xbox version (though Xbox fans need not worry; Microsoft will release a new Xbox version with all the additional content as well). Ever curious as to what's in store for us, we caught up with Dene Carter, the always-enthusiastic creative director of the Fable team, to learn more about The Lost Chapters.
GameSpot: So what can you tell us about the nine new areas in The Lost Chapters? Are they exotically different from the existing levels, or variations on the existing theme? And what sort of places will you explore?
Dene Carter: Without giving too much away, we wanted to increase the number of towns, scary places, genuinely bizarre locations, and, frankly, good old-fashioned wilderness terrain. Several of the new locations have a snowy theme, being set in the Northern Wastes. Hook Coast introduced the player to a vaguely snowy region, but we've taken that a lot further in the new areas.
GS: We know that the new quests in The Lost Chapters are actually sprinkled throughout the game, but what can you tell us about them? What sort of quests are they? What are you required to do on them?
DC: There's a huge variety of new quests. The main story ones are epic, heroic, life-changing, world-shaking events--the sorts of things that make you ask yourself: "Could I really bring myself to do that?" We're very pleased indeed with the morality implications in some of these. There's one regarding the guild master that will have certain fans jumping for joy.
Some of our quests are just plain silly. They are opportunities to show the kind of guy you are in ways other than the more common "kill/save" choice. One is in the form of a minigame; another tests your ability to remain a good hero under the pressure of intense irritation; and another challenges you to punt an Albion chicken as far as you possibly can. I could go on for ages.
GS: We've seen the fearsome ice creature that is introduced in The Lost Chapters, but what other new monsters are there? Do they come mainly in the form of monster fodder, or are there tough new bosses to slay?
DC: Our new creatures are a mixture of both new boss material and fodder creatures. I don't want to give too much away about our biggest encounter, but I don't think anyone will walk away disappointed, presuming their heroes can still walk. In the meantime, our summoner should keep you fairly busy with his stupidly large cricket-bat blade and his penchant for frying heroes with huge electrical bolts. The ice hoard (a collection of shiny, frosty, deep-frozen corpses) will probably mop up your scorched remains, and the remainder of the new crew will moan that they didn't get a chance to disembowel, fry, or overwhelm you. Bad monsters! Bad!
GS: We've already talked about the new hats in The Lost Chapters; what other new items or accessories will players be able to use?
DC: We ditched the snood parachute pants and rah-rah skirts, thinking nobody would be interested. We've still got hats, helmets, new suits of clothing, armor, spells, weapons, tattoos, and expressions. And there are the user-definable tattoos, of course. I guess players could use some of those if they wanted.
GS: Are there any new characters to speak of? Are there any new potential wives to woo? Will existing Fable characters have any new content?
DC: New folks in the core story include Scythe, a mysterious undead hero; the prophets, men doomed to an eternity of pointless existence; and the Oracle, a big, stony, brainy, um, head. There are loads of others, too: Madame Minzche, who runs "entertainment" houses, and her manager, Grope (whose job I can't report here); the Witch of Bowerstone; and the Knothole Glade chief's rival sons. In addition, all of the other heroes have substantially beefed-up storylines, too. You'll find out what happens to Thunder after your victory (his attitude will be very different toward you, depending on your previous history with him); Briar Rose has a major role, supported by encounters peppered throughout the game; and... I could go on for a couple of pages.
GS: What do you think are the most exciting new additions in The Lost Chapters? And what new feature will a Fable veteran most likely enjoy the most?
DC: I think Fable veterans will enjoy learning more about the other heroes, and the longer, fuller storyline. The addition of the Northern Wastes, with its associated locations and missions, rounds off the Fable experience very nicely.
GS: Finally, is there anything else you'd like to add about The Lost Chapters' new monsters, items, quests, or characters?
DC: Yes. Fable: The Lost Chapters is a bigger, bolder, sillier game, with even more of a sense of fun than before. If Fable was "fabley" (the same way a stick is "sticky"), then Fable: The Lost Chapters is "fabler."
GS: Interesting. Always a pleasure, Dene.