GDC '08: Molyneux opens up Fable II

Lionhead Studios managing director discusses his 'big three' ideas in Fable 2--drama, co-op, and combat--and why Americans hate nipples.

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SAN FRANCISCO--Peter Molyneux's Fable 2 was shown at last year's Game Developers Conference, where he showed off its in-game dog. At this year's Microsoft keynote speech on Wednesday, he revealed that the forthcoming Xbox 360 role-playing game will have an Xbox Live Arcade game spin-off that will let you win money gambling that you can then spend in Fable 2. Much to the audience's delight, he also displayed the game's instant co-op options and how a head shot can quickly solve a character's marital problems.

Today, Molyneux treated a room jam-packed full of fans to a more intimate sneak peek of the highly anticipated role-playing game. He focused his talk on what he believes are the "big three" things in the game--drama, combat, and cooperative play.

Starting with drama, Molyneux said that he was incredibly disappointed that not more players chose to go over to the dark side and be evil in the first iteration of Fable. He said, "I was really disappointed in you lot. I expected more of you to be evil. Seventy percent were pure goody goodies, and only 5 percent managed to play all the way through the game as evil. So this time, I'm going to make it really, really tough being good."

Elaborating on this, he said, "Being good is about sacrifice. How much are you willing to sacrifice to be good? I don't want to give too much away, but about six hours into the game, you walk into a room, and someone will ask you to do something that will sacrifice something that is so precious to the character that it will make you put down your controller and think about that decision."

As the player becomes either more good or evil, the famous companion dog will also change. An evil player will get a mean-looking Rottweiler, whereas a good character will get a "happy, fluffy, lovely" Labrador.

Gamers can also choose to marry and have a family, and the family will also be affected by the character's actions. "If you're evil, your kids will be commenting on beating other kids up at school," he explained. "And they'll talk about how they're helping people out if you're good."

The character will once again be able to have sex in the game, although not graphically so. "We had sex before Hot Coffee in Fable," he said, proudly. "We have sex in Fable 2 as well--although the screen is black again, sadly. It's you Americans, you've got something against nipples."

Next up is combat, and Molyneux explained that there will be three different types, guns, swords, and fists--along with magic. But what he really, really wanted was to tell everybody in the audience about the co-op modes in depth, but he was only allowed to reveal about 50 percent of it, he said.

He did say that in the game, there will be no "gold drops" in missions. "We're not going to give you any gold drops at all when you're questing," he confirmed. "To get gold in the Fable 2 world you've got to work." A variety of jobs will be available, and players can choose to be employed as, for example, a blacksmith, an assassin, or a henchman. When a gamer is playing co-op in another player's game, they will get paid an hourly rate for helping out.

The game will not feature minimaps, because Molyneux doesn't like them. "Minimaps are s***," he clarified. "I've replaced it with a breadcrumb trail, which will show you which way to go." Part of the dog's job is to alert the player to things that are going on off the trail, by growling and barking, encouraging the player to follow and explore a new area.

He concluded his talk by demoing the co-op mode with a friend, with the two of them battling against some evil creatures called Hobs, and then visiting the player's home village to say hi to her husband and son. As he did in the demo, Molyneux also hinted that the player's family would become involved in the story.

"If you do care about something, don't expect us not to care about it when it comes to storytelling," he said. He also warned if a married player does too much adventuring, "Your family might be in for a bit of a rocky road."

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