Molyneux talks Fable III Natal support, Cleese to play butler, Fable II sells 3.5 million

GDC 2010: Lionhead Studios chief talks about adding Twitter-inspired features, motion controls, and a Monty Python vibe; sequel will be more an 'action adventure' than RPG.

Who was there: Peter Molyneux, creative director of Microsoft Game Studios, Europe and head of Lionhead Studios, delivered his speech to a packed auditorium. The developer was supported on stage by Josh Atkins, studio design director, Microsoft Games Studio to demo the game's new features.

Lionhead's Peter Molyneux.

What he talked about: Molyneux's Game Developers Conference session had the general topic, "The Complex Challenges of Intuitive Design," but it was specifically focused on Fable III. The game, which is currently scheduled for release in the fourth quarter this year, was shown live on stage, while Molyneux dropped info on possible Natal support, John Cleese's appearance as the player's butler, and the new Twitter-influenced "followers" feature.

Molyneux started his session by looking back at the success of Fable II but also reflecting on its weaknesses. Originally hamstrung by its role-playing game status, Molyneux is now keen to position the Fable franchise as an action adventure game. "Marketing people find it difficult to market an RPG, but if you're talking about an action adventure game, it's all about drama, and it's easier to sell," he claimed. Fable II sold around 3.5 million units on the Xbox 360 according to the developer, and he wants this number to rise to 5 million for Fable III.

Molyneux's recent Twittering has influenced Fable III, with the concept of "followers" playing an important part of the game. "What if we had this simple idea, that everything you do had you gaining or losing followers. If you marry the right person, you get a lot more followers. If you marry the scullery maid, you'll get no followers. Followers can add to our live and co-op experiences."

A good chunk of the session was dedicated to Fable III's new user interface. There will be an emphasis on interaction with real-world objects, rather than going into a menu. An example of this is the Guild Chambers, which is accessed when the player presses the start button. "We have a character here who's your butler," said Molyneux as the game was demoed onscreen. The butler will lay out the best clothes for each situation, allowing the player to carry out political or espionage missions dressed in the correct attire. As an added bonus, British actor John Cleese will play the role of the butler, adding what Molyneux described as a "Monty Python-esque" feel to proceedings.

The developer also expanded on the idea of "touch" and how it will add to the game. "We were totally inspired by Ico; what an amazing game that was," he said. Referencing the physical relationship between Ico and Yorda, touching characters in Fable III will have differing results. "When you first meet [characters], you can touch them, shake their hand. After a while, the emotional bond between you grows stronger."

John Cleese's presence will add a Monty Python sensibility to Fable III.

Molyneux showed a charming demo where he grabbed his daughter and took her to the local pub. At the door, the girl was heard saying, "Dad, that's the pub. You promised mummy you'd never go there again." Touch was also demonstrated with an unfamiliar character--a beggar on the streets. The player's character can grab a beggar by the hand and pull him into a nearby factory, selling him for labour. The beggar pulls frantically on the player's hand, trying to resist, but in this instance, he's too weak to break free. As has been previously mentioned, physical attributes will change all the time, so if players favour melee weapons, such as swords and hammers, they will become progressively stronger over time.

Taking questions from the audience, Molyneux touched upon technical issues, such as Natal integration and a possible PC version of Fable III. "I can't give you specifics, but it's been a real joy to put some Natal stuff in [Fable III]," he said. He was similarly elusive about the PC version, saying, "I love the PC. I was born on the PC (not literally). I would love to see the Fable franchise on the PC. I want to make sure it's a truly amazing experience on the PC."

Quote: "How many of you bought Fable II and didn't finish it?" (Lots of people in the audience raised their hands.) "Yeah, quite a few, you bastards."--Peter Molyneux, on the decision to make Fable III's features more transparent.

Takeaway: Molyneux has experimented with Natal support in Fable III, so expect to hear more on this in the future. British actor John Cleese will appear as the butler, adding a Monty Python-esque vibe to the game, and Molyneux hopes that it will go on to sell more than 5 million copies.

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85 comments
nko619
nko619

if thes game is full with natal I am not buying if x-box makes it so you have natal to play games I am play my ps3 or my wii

hydn631
hydn631

People, natal will not be a required thing to play the game, if you have it it will just be an additional feature.

HMfanbigtime
HMfanbigtime

I loved the last two fable games. Yeah, Fable 2 was a bit short, and it had some funky glitches, but it was still a great game. Fable 3 sounds awesome, i can't wait to get it. I was worried about the whole Natal, but i heard that the game is like, controller based, or something, just that it adds some different stuff to it. I think.

GreenSilver
GreenSilver

i hope the game comes out sooner than expected so i can play already jajajajaj

gnome_beast
gnome_beast

I'm waiting for the day when the anthropomorphism of good and evil isn't represented by judeo-christian angel/devil images.

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

i want to get this, but if i have to get the freaking natal for it, they lost a damn sale.

lazycomplife
lazycomplife

Wait, I thought the last 2 installments were action adventure?

EpicFail37
EpicFail37

i loved the first two, and this one looks just as good..^_^ BUT.........i hope that peter can keep more than half of what he promised this time because i don't want this game to be RE released

Crayzorder
Crayzorder

God no please not natal. Please...

HumdrumPlatypus
HumdrumPlatypus

please oh please do not use natal. I will not buy this game if I have to waste more money on another console gimmick

IDavey420
IDavey420

The combat seems about as pathetic as fable 2....I doubt I will be wasting any money on this excuse for a game...and who honestly gives a crap about using NATAL in this game? oh yah! I get to hump at my tv, sounds real exciting.

gary_safc
gary_safc

Wow fable 2 only sold 3.5 million. I am shocked. Sales should of been alot higher this game is amazing. They need to advertise fable 3 alot on tv when its almost due to come out.

shkar
shkar

not my piece of cake,,,,,,but thanx any ways.....

secretgamer666
secretgamer666

my only problems with fable 2 was the length and the map size but i enjoyed it, and i cant wait to try this game out

steelmouth
steelmouth

am yet to give fable a try its just that am a shooter person and there are just way too many great shooters out there that am still to play, so i keep delaying getting fable

XeonForce
XeonForce

I remember buying the half-assed collector's edition, because they were in such a hurry to release the game they had to take half the stuff out of it. Still it was a easy to pick up RPG that was funny as hell to boot. Fable 2 was the perfect example of why you don't take a game developed for an older system and revamp it for a newer system. God of War 2 may have suffered the same fate in hindsight.

Angel_Belial
Angel_Belial

I finished Fable II and really hope Fable III will have some good improvements in gameplay and story.

phimseto
phimseto

All onboard the short bus for streamlined gaming!

FallenAngelXBL
FallenAngelXBL

Molyneux talks up his games because he believes that they could make a game that is as perfect as he describes. Its not HIS fault they are not included, he ahs a team of people who do all the hard work and maybe not all his ideas make the cut. Your being a bit harsh. And on top of that i really enjoyed fable 1 + LC and Fable 2. Spent over 100 hours in each game (well over). Molyneux is a pioneer, he wants to make the perfect game, and maybe one day he will. Like he said, he is working on the weaknesses of every game he creates which is a good thing. I guess we will see what will happen i guess ^_^

wahyudil
wahyudil

Fable II for PC ... I sold

dkpunk
dkpunk

Sweet, sounds like a winning combo for a great franchise.

Tsuchikage
Tsuchikage

John Cleese is always funny, and I think he goes well with Fable's very British style of humor.

mellow09
mellow09

At least Natal is the cost of a game, and maybe they will put together a nice bundle for the game and Natal. Naw, they'll probably just make a system bundle with an xbox, fable 3 and Natal. But here's to hoping.

ISuPrEmAcY32I
ISuPrEmAcY32I

played fable one because i had very high hopes for the game, and it was OK. borrowed fable 2 because i was dissilusioned about the series. won't even touch fable 3. first 2 were mildly above average but this quote, "Molyneux started his session by looking back at the success of Fable II but also reflecting on its weaknesses. Originally hamstrung by its role-playing game status, Molyneux is now keen to position the Fable franchise as an action adventure game" is gonna make it so im not even going to bother with this.

blasterchief
blasterchief

Quote: "How many of you bought Fable II and didn't finish it?" (Lots of people in the audience raised their hands.) "Yeah, quite a few, you bastards."--Peter Molyneux, on the decision to make Fable III's features more transparent. I don't get it. So Fable III is going to be shallow? And Fable III will no longer be an RPG? What?

Deano
Deano

I think we all know molyneaux talks up his games having all these features that never end up being in there.

kingsc453
kingsc453

I'll stick to fallout and elder scroll. Fable broke my 360 it was last game I played before the screen dead even the system know it suck't lol.

Nosferatu2894
Nosferatu2894

The inner struggle in me is a battle between not purchasing this game on account of it's RPG status, and purchasing it because it has John Cleese.

Dmitheon
Dmitheon

C'mon Peter. I know you don't want to hear this, but scale back your dreams a little, and deliver on them. I love your vision, but you over reach. Do fewer things, do them right, and then you won't have to redo them in the next game. THey'll be done and you can focus you energy on another concept and not be distracted with fixing mistakes from previous games. And I get your TOUCH concept, but there is no touch with Natal. THere's no tactile feedback which is key to touch. A beggar grabbing my virtual arm will equate to me the exact same way whether I'm holding a controller or not.

Bangerman15
Bangerman15

am i the only one who thought fable 2 was a really good game just rather short??? combat was easy too but still fun, i cant wait to play this one... hoping its longer though!! i want a full world experience of albion this time

pete_merlin
pete_merlin

hmmm, using 1 weapon auto upgrades it. Decent idea but in the end we'll all end up using just a single weapon

pete_merlin
pete_merlin

lol I like how they talk as if doing something like farting to impress a woman is silly...whereas before it wasn't? But yes, of course its good they changed this.

pete_merlin
pete_merlin

Fable 2 was just too immature, its put me off the series

Ohaidere
Ohaidere

Natal is a stupid idea. Natal and Fable 3 is even stupider.

Guest_1001
Guest_1001

I actually defended Peter Molyneux a lot when it came to the first Fable game, and I still enjoy Fable: The Lost Chapters. But Fable 2 was just a horrible disappointment. It was jerky, glitchy and, after all Molyneux's talk of trying to make us feel emotion in games with regards to our family, it let me down horribly. Out of the two children my hero had, one had a different skin colour than both my hero and his wife and he later disappeared without explanation, and the other got stuck standing next to my doorway and didn't react to anything. Plus, I have issues with its attitude towards the Silver Key chests, the Demon Doors, unlockable weapons, its frankly offensive portrayal of religion just to fit in with the "atheism: your either with us or you're an idiot" attitude here in the UK, its repetition, its lack of a final boss in spite of the first game having one and so forth. After that much, I refuse to defend Molyneux any longer. The thing is, when Molyneux and Lionhead do things right, they make great games. Aspects of Fable 2 are great, such as the gambling. But something like Fable 2 shows what happens when they do lots of little things very badly. They create a mountain of problems. And now they're trying to win me over on buying Fable 3 ... by having a butler who'll lay out my hero's clothes for me?

doontime
doontime

I'll pass on Natal, I'll get Fable 3 but after Fable two I won't get my hopes up...just a dissapointment -_-

thorughfire
thorughfire

Actually its about time for them to get a descently known actor in there,Id like to see a kick ass cast in Fable 4.Natal seems cool but for Fable? idk....

Flipyap28
Flipyap28

Go get back bullfrog and make dungeon keeper 3 where we can use Natal to pick up creatures :D

Supaman222
Supaman222

I want this to work, but after Fable II's failure to deliver. Im skeptical and Molyneux, I am dissapoint

Keiner
Keiner

@icehearted Guy I totally agree with you. Molyneux says a lot of things...Very few of them are ever true. He said fable 2 was going to be open world...I say boulder crap to that. its a bunch of linear parths that have been pulled out a little wider to give a sense of open-ness. I think that touch thing is going to fall flat on its face

-HCMF-
-HCMF-

hope this is good stuff, and not over hype like so many of his games...

Arkady_16
Arkady_16

meh im skipping it anyway, first one disapointed me so if you dont impress me at first. I spend my hard earned money somewhere else so never played fable 2 and never will. Plus The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was a much better game than Fable.

Chronous
Chronous

Cmon Peter, at least don't disappoint us this time like Fable II. It was nice, but not as epic as the first one...

Falcon084
Falcon084

:lol: he's a funny guy. Wow 3.5 million sales x $100 games = a billionare! I like the idea of John Cleese in the game I just hope he runs the castle better than fauty towers :lol:

DonTonyDeluca
DonTonyDeluca

I am looking forward to it. Molyneux always has intersting and creative ideas for his games. This twitter inspired idea sounds neat especially when you are a ruler of a nation. Also this touch mechanic could work better then the emotion thing in Fable II, I wonder what the Natal support will be?