X06: Fable 2 Update

We meet up with Peter Molyneux and talk about some of the exciting features that are planned for Lionhead's upcoming RPG.

BARCELONA, Spain--Earlier today at Microsoft's undeniably good X06 event in Barcelona, we met with Peter Molyneux to discuss his plans for Fable 2. Molyneux got the proceedings underway with an apology for having nothing to show us save for a few pieces of concept art. He went on to more than make up for that, though, with talk of his incredibly ambitious plans for the game that, in his own eyes it would seem, could make or break him as game designer.

Fable 2 will take place some 500 years after the events of the first game, and among other improvements, it will boast a number of gameplay features that were originally promised for Fable. Molyneux apparently received two death threats from Fable fans when they realized that you couldn't plant an acorn and witness it growing into a mighty oak tree over time--he didn't enjoy the experience, and so we're told that this feature will definitely be in Fable 2. To further illustrate his vision of a game in which you can influence the world in dramatic ways through simple actions, we were shown a concept image of an area called Brightwood--a small campsite tucked away in the middle of a forest.

The first time you encounter the camp, you might think that any decision you make on how to interact with it is insignificant, but according to Molyneux, the effects of even your seemingly trivial actions will be felt for decades. If you choose to trade with the camp, for example, you might find that it has developed into a small settlement when you're in the area again 10 years later. After another decade, that small settlement might grow into a village, and ultimately it could become a thriving town or city. If you decided to loot the camp and kill its inhabitants, on the other hand, the land it occupied would be reclaimed by nature, and 10 years later you'd never even know it was there. Molyneux calls this technology "dynamic regions," and it's one of several features in the game that he seems genuinely excited to talk about.

Among the features that didn't realize their full potential in Fable were the promises that you'd be able to invest in property and have a family. These somewhat gimmicky features of the original game will not only be fleshed out in the sequel, but also have the potential to occupy huge chunks of your time--perhaps even becoming an important part of your Fable 2 storyline. Regardless of whether you choose to play as a male or a female, you'll start out as a street urchin with absolutely nothing to lose. Your physical transformation as you become an adult in the game will be determined by a number of factors in addition to the requisite good/evil mechanic, including cruel/kind deeds, and whether you become rich or poor. If you manage to accrue a significant amount of wealth in the game, you'll have the option to unlock additional game content by purchasing each and every building in the world, including castles, catacombs, and the like. If you never have more than two gold pieces to rub together, your experience, your appearance, and the ways that people in the world react to you will be very different.

On the subject of family, Molyneux's goal is to introduce unconditional love to video games by giving you the ability to have children with whichever character from the world you decide to marry. After meeting the woman or man of your dreams (you can play as a woman, remember), you can marry them and then, if you're so inclined, you can opt to have protected or unprotected sex with them. If you choose the latter, we've heard nothing that leads us to believe that your hero will be at risk from infection, but there is a chance that you might become a parent nine months later. Your offspring's appearance will be determined by your spouse's characteristics and by your own at the time of conception, and regardless of what path you choose to take through the game, that child will love you unconditionally. If you've opted to play as a woman, it'll be you that gets pregnant, of course, but that's a preview topic for another day.

Molyneux said that one of the most magical moments of his career was when he recently saw the Fable 2 family features in action. Returning home from a lengthy quest, Molyneux found that his baby son had grown up in his absence and, as he approached the house, the boy swung the doors open and ran toward him with his arms outstretched. Molyneux also stated that your child's development will be determined to some extent by your own actions, almost as if he or she is trying to imitate you or gain your approval. So, if you play as an evil guy covered in tattoos, you might find that your son gets himself some ink the first chance he gets. As the bread winner of your family, you'll be responsible for making sure that they always have enough money to eat, and your performance in this regard will also play a part in your child's development.

Although many of these features were talked about as if they are confirmed for Fable 2, we should point out that Molyneux made a disclaimer of sorts at one point when he explained that many of his ideas are still being experimented with. An amusing example of a feature that won't be making the cut, for example, was the idea that you would assume the role of your offspring if you died. The reason why this won't be in the finished game? Testers at Lionhead started procreating like bunnies in the game, because every child was essentially like an extra life.

Perhaps the most amusing part of our meeting with Molyneux, though, came when he turned his attention to Fable 2's combat. This portion of the meeting was entertaining not because Molyneux's plans are crazy or anything, but simply because we recognized a lot of what was said from his "this is not Fable 2" keynote address at the Leipzig Games Convention earlier this year. Among the features mentioned (but not demonstrated on this occasion), was the "constrained combat" that occurs when the way that you swing a sword, for example, varies according to the vicinity of allies, walls, and anything else that would interfere with the kind of generic motion used in Fable.

Molyneux ended the meeting by telling us that the feature he's most excited about in Fable 2 is also the one that he's not willing to talk about yet. The top-secret feature is apparently so revolutionary that we won't believe it until we can see and play it for ourselves. In fact, it's so ambitious that nobody on the Lionhead development team wanted any part in attempting to make it work when it was first suggested. What could this feature possibly be? We're 99 percent certain that you'll find the answer in the aforementioned Leipzig Games Convention keynote, in which Molyneux detailed his plans for incredibly varied and realistic combat in fully interactive locales being played out using only a single button. We look forward to bringing you more information on Fable 2 as soon as it becomes available, though according to the man himself, we're unlikely to see the game in action until March of next year.

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314 comments
Gedden
Gedden

Can anyone tell if any of the features mentioned above have altered in any way at this point?

FatalFist
FatalFist

OMG ...my they really have taken a leap forward

templargunman
templargunman

I don't know how well multiplayer would work with more than a few people, I would suggest no more than 6, from what I've heard of the size, but Fable 2 is going to be awesome... late 2008... I don't think assassins creed, Mass Effect and Halo 3 will hold me that long! Also I think that the 1 button thing is great, there's no other way to really get it to work well without hundreds of buttons and millions of button combinations to make it realistic, and 1 button will require us to pay attention. In Fable 1 I almost never blocked, because it wasn't necessary, but it looks like it will be now.

vaanofthewind
vaanofthewind

Oh yeah check this. I heard it might even be multiplayer i also heard this on amazon.com.uk. But, take caution its possible it won't be and also in this game you also gather up seven heroes sorta like the magnificient seven! I want to play this game and be good and have kids!Yeah!

vaanofthewind
vaanofthewind

If you check on Amazon.com.uk it says October 27, 2007.Anyways i keep reading all these complaints on if it's coming out early.Let him take his time I want this game to change the gaming world forever! Fable 2 for Life!!!

bizibzor11
bizibzor11

i think you will be able to bite animals like cows and give them AIDS.

EmpRichard
EmpRichard

I think the special new feature will be, that besides chickens, pigs will be kick-able

eatspie
eatspie

sweet sweet they said march of next year in 2006 dosent that meman this games coming out within the next few months

firebreathing
firebreathing

are they seriously going to create combat using only one button??? How can that be dynamic and not boring??

Orthrand
Orthrand

Id be very cautios about being excited over Fable 2. The reason Fable failed was not that it didnt deliver on the promises (to revolutionise the RPG genre) but that it failed to deliver the RPG staple of a story. Nothing in fable had emotional resonance which was promised. Maybe Molineaux isn't suited to creating serious games, i dont think hes ever created a game withought a plethora of jokes (crappy ones at that)

shmedo
shmedo

i hope that in Fable 2 you dont have to keep travelling back and forth to the skill portal to level up your skills. I hope that they just level up the more you use them, cos that got really annoying in the 1st game

edflam311
edflam311

i never bothered to play fable 1,but this looks promising

oblisken
oblisken

sure hope im not disappointed like i was with fable one, not because it sucks, i just don't like how developers say this and that and get all excited when they either end up pulling the game from production or just plain not do what they said is going to make the game. (don't get your hopes up internet friends) with that said man i cant wait until this game comes out

adi255
adi255

Molyneux did a talk at our college last night (Oxford), and did talk quite a lot on fable 2. He mentioned the constrained combat thing, the one-button 'contextual combat' and a way of blocking/parrying with the same button. He talked about the sharp swords thing from Leipzig again. Emotion and drama are very important elements of the game. He made a presentation and his desktop wallpaper was a shot of a town from fable 2 (not seen before). He also mentioned some stuff about the story and how he intends to make the main villain as evil as possible. He was very careful not to show any files on his computer that could give anything away. He also claimed that they had tested all the prototypes for the combat and such and that they were actually working well. Very interesting talk all in all Ah, and he also mentioned another very top secret project they were working on too...but no details about that other than its completely original

jasonvickers
jasonvickers

the way the news on it is comming in it will probably be late 07, but i can't wait to get my hands on it though

GamerKid22
GamerKid22

looks amazing! anybody know an estimated release date?

Scaryclouds
Scaryclouds

punkdsk8erdude said: "Scaryclouds I agree with you and because of the possibilites i cant wait for this game - but i disagree with your last statement. Dude, yes they had grand ideas for fable but did you ever think maybe back then the original xbox didnt have the power and ability to pull it off? Well, with the 360 im sure they will have as much power they will ever need." Its not a matter of power, its a matter of how the structure of the game will evolve. The difference between a a settlement becoming either a city or ruins is huge. I don't know how they will be able to properly design a game that will properly incorporate such a feature.

punkdsk8erdude
punkdsk8erdude

Scaryclouds I agree with you and because of the possibilites i cant wait for this game - but i disagree with your last statement. Dude, yes they had grand ideas for fable but did you ever think maybe back then the original xbox didnt have the power and ability to pull it off? Well, with the 360 im sure they will have as much power they will ever need.

Scaryclouds
Scaryclouds

Ok so how will the story structure work in this game? They give the scenario of the tent outpost. If you chose one set of actions it might become a huge city, another it might be destroyed. This has to have a HUGE effect on how the game progresses. I mean if it becomes a city will that open up new storylines? Is such changes dynamic, that is the trading post will evolve in different ways from game to game? If Lionhead somehow pulls all this stuff off and it makes the game feel real, the features they talk about are not gimmicks, and they have a good story. Fable 2 might be one of the best games of all time. However considering all the grand ideas for Fable and how the game turned out, I'm not optimistic for Fable 2.

Mono
Mono

Kind of have to agree with the last poster. Molyneux seems to love to act like his games will be these totally revolutionary experiences and then what we get in the end is just a normal game or like Black & White a piece of crap. I remember reading about how great B&W's features were going to be etc. He made it sound like the game could learn how to butter your toast and do your calculus homework and what do we get in the end? Five mediocre levels and a monkey that eats it's own crap.

CCyberDDemon
CCyberDDemon

I dont know, i think he is lying just like the last time.. He made a thousands of promisses, and what we got? Fable is short, with only two final sequences and the world is not even a ''world'' but paths full of nothing.

big_bad_byron
big_bad_byron

I rofl @ anyone who can say with a straight-face that Molyneux is a revolutionary in the videogaming world. Blah blah blah. Peter will have to prove himself to Me with Fable 2 before I give him any praise whatsoever.

Abigorish
Abigorish

I cant wait for Fable 2. Fable: the lost chapters was a great game. i still play it even though it has been completed 4 times. I just hope that the characters dont age as fast as the did in the first game.

ChrisZewski
ChrisZewski

You got your copy before the "naked skin" hoopla came around. PC users could get into the code with an editor and there was a skin for each race minus the loincloth. you could run around as a naked argonian... if thats your thing. As for Fable 2, don't expect it to be an oblivion killer. Its a different premise with more focus on your character's interactions with the game world. on the other hand its not gonna throw 100+ game hours at you. Although i hope i'm wrong.

Evanrocknuma
Evanrocknuma

I love these games but why in the world is my character full evil but have a attractiveness level of 100 even though hes old, thrashed, dark, and on top of all that has a scary level of 100 also! I will always ponder how in the world this turned out this way. As for the second one sounds great games are geting to be more and more realestic. They are going to have to do great if they expect to make a better game than oblivion because that rules. P.S. for some reason my copy of oblivion says rated T for teen when it isnt edited, cut, or updated whatsoever. Did I just get a really old copy before esrb changed it?? Somone reply back to that plz!

CCyberDDemon
CCyberDDemon

@DoubleDestroyer ((Peter Molyneux is a genius.)) - Zelda and Elder Scroll is a fine example of geniality. MAYBE before Fable 2...

CCyberDDemon
CCyberDDemon

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

uther692
uther692

Still play the first one on me 360,should be good

jackazz17
jackazz17

The one thing I want different... I don't want my character to age so g'damn fast.

dn3datomiced
dn3datomiced

Even if he doesn't hit his mark, his games are still excellent. I can't wait to hear more, though.

Jak2MM
Jak2MM

anyone know if it'll come out on PC, or will they wait like they did with the first one and bring it out much later. Cause i'm thinking i may have to buy a 360 if it doesnt come out on PC till later.

DoubleDestroyer
DoubleDestroyer

Peter Molyneux is a genius. Simple as. The man came up with gaming revolutions many times (Black and White, Fable, etc) and is continuing to do so. I am ecstatic to hear that the Lionhead Studios team has put so much work into this game, because they are a top-notch game developing company. Sequels are meant to outshine their predecessors and once again, it seems Molyneux will deliver on this promise. Well done to him and all of Lionhead Studios.

Stevo42989
Stevo42989

This one better not be as short as the last one!

Jonseth
Jonseth

If this game can impress me as much as the first did... Well, then I won't take my eyes of the tv for a long long time...

FantasyStyle
FantasyStyle

is it true it's coming out the 31st or whatever?

poisonfire
poisonfire

F2 is gona be soooo amazing i njoyed the 1st for long enough. my cash is waiting

QUnit218
QUnit218

this is gonna be sick! i cant wait until it sits in my disk drive ready to be played

Lost906
Lost906

I'm soooooooooooooo going to pre order this... This is a MUST have.....

spawn199
spawn199

gimme gimme i need i need!!!!!!

gamer2507
gamer2507

must........... ...........pre order, all......... ..... willpower to save money...... ...gone

sneeptheelite
sneeptheelite

Any one ever heard the saying that if it sounds too good to be true...it is?

fishweredogs
fishweredogs

Fable 2 is going to be aswam but Peter Molyneux is over doing it that hairless old gezzer shouldnt even be in making games, should be retiring, he's not even doing all the work, but anyways the point is that they dont even have pictures of it right now so that shows its probley going to take them until late 2007 maybe like in fall or some time around or maybe even earlier then that since they said in the article above that we wont see the game in action until march 2007, well until then the game sounds aswam and will rip apart any rpg to come out for the xbox360 .,...............................................and also if you know how to mod fable tlc for the pc please email me at fishweredogs@yahoo.com