GCA 2008: Q&A: Peter Molyneux on finishing Fable 2

Lionhead Studios head on his latest game's flaws, the Pub Games glitch, why he can't play the original Fable anymore, and whether he really thinks the sequel should be scoring 9 out of 10.

SINGAPORE: At Games Conference Asia 2008, Lionhead Studios head and famed developer Peter Molyneux delivered a keynote speech outlining the creative process behind the soon-to-be-released Xbox 360 exclusive Fable 2. GameSpot AU caught up with Molyneux to ask him how it feels to finally complete Fable 2, whether the Pub Games glitch was indeed intentional, and whether he really thinks Fable 2 should be getting 9 out of 10 scores from game reviewers. Plus, he also gives hints on what he’s working on next.

GameSpot AU: Fable 2 is complete. Is that right?

Peter Molyneux: It went into something called certification on Monday, but as far as I'm concerned as a designer, I was kind of locked out about a month ago.

Fable 2 will be better received by critics and gamers, Molyneux says.

GS AU: So after working on the game for so long, how does it feel?

PM: It's very odd. Of course, I feel fantastic. It's incredible to actually see the ideas that were in your head on the screen--I'm sure every designer would agree. But the crazy thing about it is that when you've obsessed about something for so long, and it's filled your mind, and you're thinking about every little aspect of it, there is that sense of missing it. There's this hole that's there. It's like you have an itch, and when the itch goes away, you want to scratch it anyway. So there's this huge sense of relief. There's this huge sense of wanting people to play it--see what they make of the game--especially because [Fable 2] is a game that depends so much on what you're like. I've only seen 500 people play the game, and now hopefully, thousands and thousands will play.

GS AU: Are you happy to let it go? Or was it a case of there's a deadline and you had to let it go?

PM: There has to be a deadline. For creative people, there has to be a deadline, otherwise it will go on for centuries. I'd say, I look at it, and I can see some flaws--anybody can see those flaws--and you wish you had more time to polish it. But other than those little niggles, I think it's an amazing achievement. I really think that it's a unique experience. I've never played a game quite like Fable 2.

GS AU: So, what are those flaws?

PM: They're more like mechanical flaws. For me, I wish the faces moved with the thousands of muscles a human face moves with. I wish that the blink rate of a non-player character was tied to the AI so I could get more emotion to the face. I wish the animation was slightly more fluid. I wish that we had more time to add 10 more variations for leaves on trees. It's those types of things that you as a player probably never ever notice--to be honest with you. I mean, it's the transparency of the water when the sun hits a place like Bower Lake; it doesn't sparkle quite enough. I think as a designer, if you're not hungry for that sort of quality, then I think there's something wrong.

GS AU: But in terms of gameplay, did you manage to fit all the ideas you wanted to at the start of the process?

PM: Yeah. I think this is the interesting thing about Fable 2. What’s different about Fable 2 is that we experimented with all those ideas right at the start...where in all my previous games, we experimented as we made it; put things in, tried them, took them out again. But in the early days, we did these experiments, and we played with them, tuned them, got them right, and then said, yes, we're going to use that one or throw it away. I mourned the loss of those features two years ago; I've got them out of my system. Back then, I fought very hard for some ideas that didn't actually get in. But the important thing is I think that we had a great set of gameplay features to work with.

GS AU: Recently, there were reports about a glitch in Pub Games, which allowed players to rack up money, followed by some reports stating that you said it was deliberate. Was that glitch something you planned?

PM: I'm not going to say anything about that. All I'm going to say is that Fable is all about looking at what you're like as a player. Cheating is a reflection of what you're like as a player. Fascinatingly, I spoke to a few people who found out about the cheat but decided not to use it because they were worried about the possible consequences. Maybe they're wise people. Don't expect there not to be consequences; after all, let's remind ourselves that Fable says every choice has a consequence. And cheating is a choice.

GS AU: Did you also really say this game should be rated 9 out of 10 by reviewers?

PM: I claimed I didn't. As you can see there are PR police people in every interview that I'm in, and they claim I didn't as well. It doesn't sound like a Peter Molyneux kind of statement--I probably would have said 11 out of 10.

GS AU: But generally, do you think Fable 2 will be better received than the first game?

PM: I'm almost positive it will for two reasons. One is it's a much better game. I mean, I can't bring myself to play Fable 1 now; it's too fractured an experience. The second thing is I really learned a lesson about Fable 1. I told the whole world about every single feature in Fable 1 and got everybody excited about features in Fable 1 that weren't in the final game because we removed them. And this time, with Fable 2, I only talked about things that I could actually show you and not talked about the world, and what the world is really like, and what you can do. I haven't talked about the story at all. I talked a little tiny bit about the start of the story. So when reviewers get their hands on it and when gamers get their hands on it, I'm hoping that they'll turn around and say, "Wow, I was excited about it because of these features. But I didn't know it would have this, and this, and this."

GS AU: What's next on your plate?

PM: I would love to tell you what's next. The huge amount of brain space that Fable takes up has been utterly replaced by the other thing that is being developed at Lionhead at the moment and has been developed for quite some time. But unfortunately, I can't tell you. I can be intriguing about it, but I can't tell you exactly what it is. It's very different from what I've done before. It's based on an experiment that I think is very significant, and it's certainly got a lot of people scratching their heads that know about it.

GS AU: So when can you tell us?

PM: I have to get permissions for these things. If I was a betting man, I hope it'll be sometime next year.

GS AU: Peter Molyneux, thanks for your time.

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Discussion

181 comments
d4312
d4312

apparently they are going to release an xbox live patch some time after the release but i think it would be better to do co-op with a friend, I cant wait till i get this game and its so annoying that it comes out on the 24th in europe GRRRRRRRRRR!!!

Wonderboy2790
Wonderboy2790

I had no idea about the glitch and was able to rack up 100k by playing Fortune's Tower. I love playing fortune's tower, but I absolutely hate the other two games.

Lucpus
Lucpus

i admit that i used the glitch and i'm really considering not using the 100k i got

P0T
P0T

Only a few weeks now, looking forward to Fable 2. Hope I can really become a devil like figure with horns and red skin like the ads suggest.

C_Boy115
C_Boy115

woohoo less than a month now

diggyman
diggyman

Something tells me that this time, the game may live up to the hype. Peter was smarter with the media this time around, by not revealing too many details about Fable 2. We're obviously intrigued enough to want to buy it (at least I am). It's like a really good preview for a movie. It shows you just enough to sell you on it, without telling you the whole dang story.

jellyjamsixpack
jellyjamsixpack

Yeah this game is going to be soooooooo much better than the first one. I CAN'T WAIT!

Gryphon700
Gryphon700

I would give one of my balls to have this game for PS3

mankeyador
mankeyador

I hope there is some major features that weren't already mentioned. Not just a horde of minor things like customizable clothes.But you got to give this guy credit he does try to make the best game ever with every game he does. That' some real dedication.

pyro_spartan55
pyro_spartan55

hahaha well i honestly think that the glitch wasn't intentional otherwise they would have left it in and not patched it up. therefore i don't fear any consequences, i racked up a good bit of gold, but only after i got all the achievements and prizes then i went back to get some debt paying money and couldn't help but get a bit extra, besides if they do add some form of punishment (i.e. debt collectors of some sort) i'll probably make my character evil to start out with so it will only ensue a slaughtering that will be welcomed hahahaha

stormswrath
stormswrath

I hope this glitch was not intentional. I say this because if it was and Mr. Moore's intentions were to make it somehow punish the players who used it, that purpose could well be defeated by announcing publicly that those are his intentions. In a way it would be the ultimate spoiler for something that would have otherwise been a genius idea. Now anyone who used the cheat can simply choose not to merge their character with their pub games character and voila problem solved. They wont get to have all that money or those items without risk but knowing there is a risk is just as valuable. Anyway I believe this game is going to be great. I have it preordered and cant wait until October 21.

CrackerRiley023
CrackerRiley023

I used the glitch to unlock all the games. I plan on playing with a character not connected to the character I got 300k with in the pub games because I know it will be a more rewarding experience when I start from scratch (like I would have done in the first place had there not been a pub games).

Unreal_007
Unreal_007

hmm, i think ill make my decision on this after i see some reviews. www.unrealtech.wordpress.com

ele975
ele975

"Sometimes next year" either means E3 (if that still excists) or Lipzieg ;)

Haken
Haken

Fable 1 is both the worst and best game I've ever played. On one hand, the storyline was too short, the bosses ridiculously easy, and the Hero Save glitch was unacceptable. But then the environments, music, and totally suck-you-in world have me hooked. That said, I hope that Molyneux and his team learned from their mistakes. Fable II will be one awesome adventure if they did.

Haken
Haken

Fable 1 is both the worst and best game I've ever played. On one hand, the storyline was too short, the bosses ridiculously easy, and the Hero Save glitch was unacceptable. But then the environments, music, and totally suck-you-in world have me hooked. That said, I hope that Molyneux and his team learned from their mistakes. Fable II will be one awesome adventure if they did

endocrine
endocrine

If you use the cheat exploit in the pub games I bet there are pub cronies that come after you in game and break your body parts.

Knight_OfBlood
Knight_OfBlood

I hope they do do something about the exploit, personally i didn't use it but still managed to get well over 100k, every time I play spinner box i win at least a couple thousand by the end, haven't managed to beat all the tourneys though, the spinner box ones are ridiculous, o well i guess it takes time if not effort.

aura_enchanted
aura_enchanted

fable 2..fable 2..fable 2. its gonna make a free mmo player get a credit card :P

cody20
cody20

For anyone that played fable 1 as much as I did...like 8 times, Its hard not to appreciate how Peter Molyneux thinks and how much detail he wants to put into his games. This game has got to get a 9.5

TrueProphecy22
TrueProphecy22

Not exactly an interview to get me pumped up about the game... but, if he says it's better than Fable 1, then that's a good thing. I enjoyed Fable 1, so I'm sure I'll enjoy this too... especially with multiplayer.

dgreene15
dgreene15

I don't think the glitch was intentional because when you download the patch it prevents you from using it but this game is going to be amazing!

outofTHEashesXX
outofTHEashesXX

i think this game might actually live up to its expectations this time

Blank2k2
Blank2k2

i highly doubt fable 2 will do anything to the people who "cheated", but i expect what he ment was its a choice they made, and it'll make there gameplay far less rewarding/fun because of it. Personally i did cheat (Yes! i admit it!) but i didnt cheat to the extent that its going to be game ending, ive got about 100k, which should give me a rich-begining & able to buy some bits when i start, but it'll by no means get me houses etc. Those people on pub game leader boards with millions & millions are just stupid in my opinion. Anyway, cant wait for fable 2!

Chicken_fun
Chicken_fun

It'll be pretty crazy if they put the cheat on purpose. if they have a consequence on the game I think if might be non intentional. As in it was made before the glitch.

Jontyakatz
Jontyakatz

I havnt cheated but as the downside im 2000 into debt but i have some cool unique items

Tandem_Toad
Tandem_Toad

I was a bit skeptical at first, but I actually think he really did put an intentional cheat in the Pub game for consequences in the real game. After all, that is what the game is about, choices and consequences. I hope they do a lot of downloadable content for this game.

qou
qou

Can't wait to see what happens to people who cheated in Pub games I didn't but I can probably watch a video of someone who did (I'm also 200G in debt)

Cabose420
Cabose420

Fable 1 wasn't that great of a game. It was a good game, but not a great game. I had fun with it the first time I played it and then forgot about it after. It's not one of those great games that stick with you forever. But Fable 2 looks to be different. It's looking A LOT better than Fable 1. I can't wait for it. I just hope it's not just all hype again. but, no, I think Molyneux learned his lesson.

chaoscontrol489
chaoscontrol489

I think it was brilliant that they worked a cheaters glitch into the game. Fable is all about choosing to do the right or "wrong" thing...I didn't cheat...knew I'd have to work harder for what I wanted in game. Can't wait to step into someones world that had cheated at the pub games.

ARRunner
ARRunner

I thought Fable 1 was plain brilliant, ive played it like 6 times over the new one and the old one. I CANT WAIT for October the 23rd!!

SonicTheMonkey
SonicTheMonkey

I wonder what these hinted consequences will be, it seems like the perfect setup to pretend an exploit is a glitch while planning in-game consequences.

baabaqhu
baabaqhu

the cheating gets the fun out of the game. it makes it boring. i like playing most of the games without cheating

Temtamperu
Temtamperu

Fable 1 was great fun and had a lot of cool features, but sadly it failed for me because of the area size and lack of exploration. But P.M. said these where addressed and I think we can all take his word for it. I wonder, whats next?

mikethemonkey
mikethemonkey

I thought Fable was a great game (unlike some people).. I guess this one will be super great.. :)

Jester6276
Jester6276

Cheating, hmm that can be a problem lol. I think that would be great now i need to take one on the other characters and cheat with it to make millions of dollars. Might have something like a mobster come after you that would ROCK!!! Hey Vinny here wants his money lol nice if it's true.

Cujo31
Cujo31

This game is gonna be awesome!

ciaxhieu
ciaxhieu

most game burn when they are release because of the hype and expectation, in saying that this game would likely get a 9/10 and instead get an 8/10 just you watch!

lahugh9
lahugh9

I hope there is a penalty. It'll be so cool to see all those cheater get what they deserve. lol

sheiiik
sheiiik

The cheat consequence are probably a bluff.The least they can do is that they have putted a deadline in the starting money you get when you start the game and if you have more than 10k for example you'll then have some consequences or if you have much money robbers will attack you all the time.

fivecentfamily
fivecentfamily

OK, I believe the "glitch" was intentional. You would have to intentionally "read" the left bumper button AFTER the round started in order to allow the bet to max. I don't see how that could be accidental. As for consequences, it would be easy to track the amount of winnings gained by cheating (simply another counter in the save data). You compare that number to the amount of money your have in total, and that would give a good approximation of how much of your winnings are "ill gotten". Upon transfer of these winnings to your character, it could affect your "morality" score, either as a flat amount, or graded based on how much you cheated. So, the only result of it would be a bit of "badness" added to your character, which would only be a problem if you were going for a purely good character (in which case, you shouldn't have cheated in the Pub Games). :)

Blank2k2
Blank2k2

lol could be pretty good if the casino's security chase ya around for cheating the casino out of money or something :P

Gadeos
Gadeos

It's only 1 month away. I think the hole idea of a unique experience is freaking awesome. This game's gonna be taking all of my free time...

themc_7
themc_7

I cant really see them tracking, pub game cheating, but who knows

necronaux
necronaux

Cheating in game has consequences. Great idea. And this is a perfect game to implement it.

phoenix_style
phoenix_style

In most lionhead games there aren't any cheats. I think that he intentionaly put the cheat in there, in case you fall into a huge pile of dept. And there probably isn't a cosequence, because I used the cheat(not nowing about it), then I realized I was pressing the button in for way too long, and they can't punish you for that.

I_Like_Muffins
I_Like_Muffins

personally, i think hes bluffing about the consequences for cheating. i mean, HOW would he know if you cheated? I seriosuly doubt he has something that checks your winnings and then something else that exacts those consequences in the game. It just doesnt sound right... in other news... CANT FREAKING WAIT!