Lionhead's Peter Molyneux

The Fable creator tells all about the third iteration in the series...

As our preview of Fable III showed, Peter Molyneux knows how to handle the press.

In this full interview, he talks CVG through decisions Lionhead made while making Fable III, his admiration for Coronation Street - and why Barack Obama was a huge influence on the title...

What was the design curve from Fable to Fable III?
The [Lionhead] team is an amazing team, and it's always been really cutting edge. It's always kind of squeezed Fable into Xbox and Xbox 360. They've done a brilliant job.

So let's just talk about me as a director and the ideas I've bullied through. I think the first mistake [I made] in Fable was that I really mistook the idea of seeing of game features as good. I didn't think about the mechanics of those games features, how to explain them to people or how to exploit them in the story, [the game] was just stuffed with more and more stuff.

I can remember going into meetings up to, you know, three months before the game was were on the shelves and saying: "I've just had a brilliant idea, what are we going to do?" And that was just insane, man. It was just insane.

With Fable II we had the dawning realisation that it's not the number of features you've got that matters. You know you go into a shop nowadays and you pick up a box and you turn it over and it's got a small six point writing of all the features and gadgets - and you know [that product won't offer] a pleasant experience. Then you go into a shop and look at other products, for example like Apple do. It's a phone and it's useful. That's it. You think: "Ah, right, that's what I want."

There was this amazing moment when a piece of research came back [that showed us] more than half the people who played Fable 2 understood and used less than half the features in the game. And as soon as you see that you think: "Oh my God. What a talentless bastard I really am."

How can I have made a game in which people actually understood less than half of its mechanics? It's like making a film that makes people think: "It looks quite cool. I don't know what the hell is going on, but it seems quite cool." You know, that's just wrong.

So I think Fable III is all about using mechanics, exploiting mechanics, giving gameplay reason to things. Expressions [which don't feature in Fable III] were cool in Fable II, but they were a way of just doing a fart joke over and over. Let's be honest, you know, that's what they were. There was no real meaning to them. There was no real emotional connection to them. The simpler things are, the more people use them.

Do you feel you're being brave by simplifying the game like that? By making Fable III more accessible, you could face a backlash from your existing fans...
You can design a game around ten per cent of your audience if you want to - but you're probably being a little bit lazy. And you know what, the world moves on, man. And there's a great analogy that I've realised: You know, there's a fantastic amazing television series, one of the most successful television series of all time, that doesn't feel like it's changed but it has and it's Coronation Street.

Coronation Street has completely reinvented itself over and over again. You watch one episode of Coronation Street today and you compare it with an episode of Coronation Street ten years ago, it's totally different man. And that's the genius of what makes that programme so unbelievably successful. It's a format that has got a life of its own and it's changed.

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