Interviews

Fable 2

Molyneux on keeping everyone happy

In a world of embargos, aggressively regulated game screenings and PR men telling us off every 20 minutes, Peter Molyneux is a very refreshing man.

No matter how many PR men are in the room, and no matter how many times he's told off for saying something he shouldn't, he's still as enthusiastic as a school boy with a new toy and he'll happily unveil every portion of his game to show us why.

We recently travelled down to Lionhead's Guildford HQ to see how the epic sequel to Fable is shaping up. You can check out our impressions here, and read on to see what an enthusiastic-as-ever Molyneux had to say...

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The scale of Fable 2's world is huge compared to the first game. We're sick of mentioning it, but the first thing that came to mind was the jump to GTA IV's Liberty City...

Molyneux: The first thing we did was to mock up the whole world because it was so ambitious, and there are three levels to that ambition. In a way it is a little bit like GTA IV in that they just say "Hey, here's your city, we're not going to point out there's a special thing here and a special thing there", and we're doing very much the same thing with our entire world.

Every region that we've got has got this idea of having this flow-through, which is that breadcrumb trail that you saw, the story that's there. And I love that feeling, as an RPG gamer, that I can find that little secret that no one else has found.

To do that, we've had to plan it really, really carefully. The first thing we did is we built the whole world on paper, because there's so much interaction going on there. We had to have this piece of technology which is called layers - every region's got hundreds of different layers in them.

That slums region that we went into... you do exactly what the guard wants, then one whole layer will be turned on, which will lead to a whole stream of stuff going on, like the region getting prosperous, and it'll unlock a whole load of different quests.

And then the other layer is the evil side and it'll be more evil and unlock an assassination job. All of this had to be so carefully planned out. We really wanted to nail the idea that for every choice there is a consequence, that you could do something small at the start of the game that would make a big difference.

So that small thing at the start of the game leads you to have the ability to become an assassin within the world, and you can go around and take an assassination job and be paid as an assassin.

But that's only unlocked if you do this little thing at the start, which I find absolutely fascinating.

It seems there's a lot more sandbox gameplay in comparison to Fable...

Molyneux: There's a hell of a lot more sandbox and a hell of a lot more story. In Fable we didn't really spend enough time on the story. Every single building you saw in that demo, even the dungeon, is buyable. But that's completely useless without a really amazing story.

If we took the Lake... [Molyneux starts drawing a map on a piece of paper]. So the gypsy camp's down here, and in the middle there's a huge lake, and in the middle of that there's an island with a tomb on it. Nearby there's what's called Thag's Camp, and there's a whole storyline going on there. Next to that you've got a demon door, a this little traders section...

Now, if you're following the story then you'll go from A to B, you'll never see any of this stuff around the lake. But what I'm hoping is people are just going to meander around and see all of the other content.

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