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Interview: Peter Molyneux talks Fable

Lionhead's guru on sacrificial wives and men in dresses, plus massive movie and fresh screens

So it's now Fable day three and following our hands-on preview of Fable's first few hours and our exclusive chat with Big Blue Box's Dene and Simon Carter, we're going to round off our Fable coverage with a double treat today.

Not only do we have an exclusive interview with gaming divinity Peter Molyneux printed below, where he talks about Fable's wife-sacrificing options, burly men in dresses and drops some delicate hints on the prospects for next generation platforms, but we've also secured a massive Fable walkthrough movie, lovingly narrated by Big Blue Box MD Dene Carter.

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Fable the director's cut indeed!

For the sake of complete journalistic accuracy we should make clear the interview was conducted in July, just before Fable went gold. However it's only now, having successfully shaken off the +5 spell of non-disclosure that we can reveal the full and shocking truth. This is Fable - straight from the designer's mouth.

Fable is nearly done now. How are things going during the last phase of the project?

Molyneux: Well yesterday we had 73 bugs, today, for the first day [ever], we've got zero bugs and we've got this thing called a release candidate which means that the CDs we make today could be the final CDs which make the game.

That would be a miracle of tremendous proportions. Sometimes you have to do this 20 times over, sometimes you have to do it five times over, but now it is finished, essentially.

You've mentioned that Fable has been four years in the making and involved the consumption of hundreds of pizzas and curries. How do you look back on the process now?

Molyneux: Yeah it is four years since that conversation with Simon and Dene [Carter] and we've had about four years, maybe a little bit longer. At that time there was just us and the Fable team. And going from nothing, not even having an Xbox, not even knowing about the Xbox, to a team of 70 people, with a lot of the team over in America on the Microsoft side, which means almost a 100 people making the game. The last four years has been a pretty remarkable experience.

I mean, there's been a lot of very, very hard work and long hours. You know what we wanted to do was be really ambitious and I think we're pretty happy with the result.

Here's how it started: I wanted to do a console game. I'd never done a true console game, but you can't go onto the consoles and do a game like everyone else, so I wanted to do something different. I've always had an incredible passion for role-playing games and I was thinking, "Right, how can we do something different and ambitious, something that's never been seen before and yet is familiar?"

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And that's really where Fable was born from, a passion for RPG games. It started by saying, "Right we're going to make people feel like a hero, make people feel like a hero in this amazing, simulated world where you can do anything you want, but still play through the story." And absolutely we've achieved that.

There's things that have been much tougher than I'd have predicted. I was really naive, I'd never done a game about a single person before, it had all been about god-like beings, though I suppose Syndicate was perhaps the closest...

But it has been a real experience: doing it for the Xbox controller, it's been a real experience doing the combat system. The combat system... It's not good enough just to have button bashing, but you've also got to have something incredibly simple so that people can play, but there's got to be lots of variation in that.

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