Did you find it hard to take that step back, as it were?
Molyneux: I found that I had to bite my lip an awful lot and, you know when you guys asked questions I had to say like, 'I'm not gonna tell them about that,' even though I was passionate to tell them about that. It's been a learning experience. People have noticed my knuckles were white as I'm gripping the chair trying not to say anything [laughs]
On the topic of past critiques, is there anything you'd change or add to Fable II now that it's done?
Molyneux: There are low spots in the game and it's no one's fault that these low spots are there, it's just that there's a lot to this game. You've got to remember that we're not building a corridor game here where you can say "right, in one hour fifteen minutes, someone's going see that light and we're going make that light like this."
I think the lip-sync is pretty bad, you know, the quality of the animation falls off, you know, quite a lot, I think the navigation can be a bit dodgy sometimes, I think the dog can... get a bit fractured sometimes. But those are sideline issues, you're not going care about those, they're technical issues, and I wish we'd had time to polish every single tiny second of the game.
But you don't want me to do that, you want an experience, and what I'm most happy with is the experience that people are getting when they play through this game. And the only people that have played through this game is the team that's worked on it, and they're the ones that normally turn round to me and say, "What the **** were you playing at!?" And they're the ones now in Fable 2 and everybody at Lionhead said Fable is different to any other game they've played before, it's a unique experience and it's better. The game is actually better than they thought it would be.
That must raise your expectations for the sequel's reception pretty high? Especially considering the first game was in the top three selling original Xbox games...
Molyneux: Yep, it was in the top three selling Xbox games. It surprised Microsoft so much - they didn't understand that. Microsoft is a very formulaic driven company, you know, "If you get this in reviews then it equals this sales." And it beat their sales forecast by a factor of three. That's still a record for them. I learnt a long time ago, there's no way to predict what a game's going to be selling like. There's just no way.
I don't know how it's going to be received, I've no idea. I think if people don't look for problems in Fable, if they don't care so much about jaws moving in the exact time with the lip-syncing, it might do well. But if people want to criticise... there's things to criticise in Fable 2, I'll be absolutely honest with you. I think though, it's the things that you've yet to discover that really will give Fable 2 its rightful score.
Do you see much competition for Fable this Christmas?
Molyneux: The competition is insane. I wish this industry wouldn't be so Christmas focused because, you know, as a gamer - because I am a gamer as well - I don't know which way to turn. If we just start with Fable 2, then there's Fallout, and after Fallout there's Gears Of War and then there's Banjo Kazooie and God knows what else, and that's just on the 360 and in the space of three weeks. I mean, how am I supposed to decide what to spend my money on? I think that's pretty tough, and when was the last time we had a really exciting game? It's been quite a long time since we had an exciting game... probably GTA. We've had like six months of nothing and then along come six buses all of which want to spend your money.