Have there been any games since the original Fable's release that you've been inspired by? We noticed the 'would you kindly...' Bioshock reference in Fable II...
Molyneux: Yeah. I think there have been some great games, some of them like Bioshock have really influenced me. I thought the thing about Bioshock was the ability to tell a story without stopping you playing the game was great. I think their world was... if you set out to make an underwater world, that was a pretty good one, it was a pretty good universe that they created, that was great.
GTA IV... the characterization was jaw-dropping in my opinion. I wish they'd got rid of some of those old mechanics like 'die, repeat, die, repeat'. I think that ruined the story for me but other than that I thought it was genius characterization. I still think the way that Valve are progressing Half-Life and, you know, throwing in Portal and everything, that was again, breathtaking. I think they're great examples.
I think it's a mistake to look at something like Half-Life and say , 'They've got a gravity-gun, we should do something with gravity-guns,' I think that, again, you'd drive yourself mad. What I do though, is to say, 'God that made me feel so good...'
The story of Portal made me feel so good. The puzzles, to be honest with you... yeah, it was quite cool and gimmicky, but it was her that made it, and inspiration like that is, "yeah, a story really can carry a mechanic". That's how I prefer to be inspired, thinking about how it affects me rather than worrying about, you know, they've got this and I should have that.
It feels like you've been working on Fable forver now. Do you feel like working on more or something new?
Molyneux: Lionhead was established to do things that surprise people. Going from Black & White to Fable, they seem like completely opposite ends of the spectrum actually. You know, there are bits of Black & White in Fable, you just don't recognise them. The dog is Black & White... the creature's no longer standing on two legs, it's down on the ground and all that AI is still there.
But I think one of our mantras is to surprise people and to innovate and not to take establishment and that means doing more than Fable. And yeah, we are working on stuff that I think will surprise you. I think the next Fable should surprise you as much as anything else but Lionhead isn't defined just by Fable, it just so happens that that's what you're all focusing on at the moment. You're probably going to say the same thing about the next experience that we come out with.
Fable II Pub Games has obviously encountered a big, game-breaking bug that lets players easily mass in-game cash. How worried are you that this will upset the balance of the final full-release game?
Molyneux: I'm not particularly upset by it, I mean, it's a shame that the exploit was in there... it was such an easy exploit. There is a lot to spend this gold on. A hell of a lot to spend this gold on. You know, I think the value of all the unique items in the world is over twenty million in Fable. And I am pretty sure, although I'm not absolutely sure, that importing such a vast amount into the Fable world affects your character. I'm not sure, that may have been thrown in at the end, but we were thinking about having a 'you obviously cheated' mechanic.
Your teeth go brown?
Your teeth go black, yeah! So every time you smile people run away! But you're a millionaire! [laughs]