Peter Molyneux, Creative Director of Microsoft Game Studios and CEO of Lionhead, delivered a speech to the expectant Eurogamer crowd. Rather than launch into a diatribe about Fable III's feature set, the loquatious developer took the time to discuss some of the major influences on the franchise throughout the years- and dropped a few interesting tidbits that we can expect from the upcoming RPG. Spoiler alert.
Fable evolved from a conversation that Peter undertook with fellow developers Dene and Simon Carter in 1996. Annoyed with the prevalence of stats and numbers in contemporary RPGs, the trio fantasized about creating a game that “took the player on a journey” and made them feel like a hero... and after using a few seminal films as inspiration, we all know the result. Here are some of the movies that helped to create Fable III.
Sleepy Hollow presented a fantasy world that was rooted in stylised reality, and Peter stated that “the look was exactly what was in our minds” Albion blossomed from this film, and progressed into the realms of classic dark fairytales. As Molyneux put it: “doing despicable things to children” is a key part of the franchise!
The team loved “magic swords and the woman in a lake”. The premise of a group of heroes that battled the forces of evil was adapted into The Guild, and at the time, the idea of many heroes and high magic was a main theme of the original Fable.
The Picture of Dorian Grey
This ancient flick gave Molyneux the idea of a the character morphing organically rather than choosing class and appearance at the beginning. Dorian Grey looked beautiful externally but was truly evil- and his picture represented his true nature. To expand on this concept, Fable 3 will allow us to craft our own weapons, with “no interface or sliders or pushing jewels into sockets.” The weapons will change “based on how you fight as a player”. After all, “You are unique, why shouldn't your character be unique?”
As you know, Fable was incredibly successful... but then Peter managed to blow the gaffe. After winning the Microsoft contract, he said “the worst thing of his life”. To quote:
I said that Fable is going to be the best roleplaying game of all time. You lot all turned round and said what a load of bullshit.
And fair enough. Molyneux explained that this event taught him a degree of modesty and restraint. Kinda.
Fable II was originally going to be more stylised than the first, but thankfully Molyneux leashed in the creative reins somewhat. The team loved the “journey” and the feeling of both growing in power and growing up at same time. However, Lionhead were continually being flamed for failing to implent several promised features... and after a huge argument about whether or not to implent gunplay, they were ready. Once again, three films played a key role in the creative process.
Mad Max 2
No post-apocalypic wasteland in Fable III, folks. However, the bond between Mel Gibson and the scraggly dog game the team the idea of adding a dog to the gameplay. It gave players something to care about that transcended beyond an NPC... and naturally, we all chose to save the dog at the end! Had the hound been a person, we simply wouldn't have cared.
Kill Bill 2,
Tarantino's flick was one of Peter's favourite movies... and the ease with which The Bride cleaved through the Crazy 88 inspired the one button combat. The plan was to make player feel effortlessly heroic, and Fable III will take this concept even further (see my Gamescom hands-on preview for details).
Robin Hood isn't rooted in myth or magic- but is inspired by a beloved legend. He's the hero of a suffering land, and the premise gave Lionhead the idea of nerfing Albion's magic and heroes to make it a more personal place. “You should be the only magic user.”
Lionhead's upcoming title is set 50 years after the events of Fable II, and carries a very different set of influences compared to the first games in the franchise,
Molyneux considers ICO to demonstrate the “Greatest Game Design Ever.” Impressed by the role of touch and hand holding in the game, he thought,“why not steal that mechanic?” Apparently we'll be “touching people in various places on their body.” Exciting stuff. Bad Molyneux.
We were surprised to see Perfume make an appearance, but apparently the start of the film detailed the huge contrast between the rich vs the abjectly poor. The red and gold colour palette will be clearly visible in the more opulent parts of Albion.
The Victorian 'feel' of both the story and the world itself is plain to see in both Fable II and III. Wretched street urchin making good? Sounds familiar.
Peter went on to drop a fair few interesting tidbits about Fable III; and I'll round these up for your convenience and delectation.
- Did Theresa cause the spire to be built?! Maybe Theresa killed Logan's wife and daughter to inspire the genius to construct the powerful magical artifact for her own ends. This will apparently be explored f
- Players will make a huge descision within the first ten minutes! I won't spoil it for you, but this momentous is designed to make you hate someone that you care about. It's a complex range emotion that we hope will be handled competently.
- There's a huge plot twist when you become king/queen! That's all we know. However, we can expect there to be more than a simple civil war at work in the world of Albion.
Kingmaker is a new mobile App that's now available to download. Once registered, you'll side with either the rebels or loyalists and vie for territory via GPS data. Essentially, it's geocaching with a nifty money earning twist. Players will be rewarded for their alligiance in Gold that can be imported into Fable III... and apparently special 'treasure hunt' events will allow us to farm more cash over the coming weeks..
This app is currently available to download on iPhone, with an Android release date of October 4th. Naturally, there'll be a Windows 7 app once the platform is launched.