Fable E3 2003 Preshow Report

We have the latest details on the extremely ambitious Xbox RPG from designer Peter Molyneux.

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One of the most highly anticipated games for the Xbox is Fable, which was formerly known as Project Ego. Scheduled for release in spring 2004, Fable is in development in the UK at Big Blue Box, under the guidance of legendary game designer Peter Molyneux. Molyneux is best known for innovative and ambitious games such as Populous, Theme Park, Dungeon Keeper, and Black & White, and Fable, though very different from these other games, does have in common a similarly huge scope. Essentially, this action-packed game will challenge you to make your own destiny and then face the consequences of your past actions.

In Fable, you'll play as a character during the course of his life. Depending on your actions, the character will change. Whether you become good or evil, or shades of the two, will be your choice, and you'll watch as your character's appearance, abilities, and entire being changes as you play through the game. Based on all the media we've seen, the effects of this destiny system are pretty dramatic. On the one hand, you can develop into a character who looks noble and heroic, almost proud. On the other, you can become a villainous, shady-looking character robed in bad guy leather. Or turn into a pasty-looking, shadowy thief type. There seem to be three distinct paths available: the way of the sword, the way of dark arts, and the way of shadows. These should all provide very different gameplay experiences, so this open-ended system ought to make for some serious replay value. Those who played Molyneux's last game, Black & White, may recognize that the system is similar to how the giant creatures of Black & White would change depending on their actions. Only here, the effects seem to be more central to the gameplay.

Fable will feature a real-time combat system, where the character's decisions and actions will again come into play. Not only will your skills in swordsmanship, magic, or stealth figure heavily in battle, but you'll also see character sustain damage and maybe become permanently scarred from a particularly dangerous fight.

Gameplay will involve making friends and enemies, fighting alongside the former to defeat the latter, and acquiring new skills and abilities while building a legendary reputation.

The game's environments should prove to be just as dynamic as the main character. As your character ages, you'll see changes to the world take place, even as realistic weather wracks the land from day to day.

We're excited to see more of Fable and are hopeful that the game makes its projected 2004 release--Molyneux may be a world-famous game designer, but he's also a bit notorious for his overambitious and oft-delayed projects. Nevertheless, it's easy to set aside any skepticism when seeing Fable in action. The game looks unique and interesting, so we'll bring you more on it just as soon as we can.

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