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Fable 3: 'Drunkenly seduce your best friend'

We talk relationships with Lionhead's Josh Atkins...

Many games boast that they offer an environment in which you can "go anywhere, do anything". But they're lying.

Because unless their definition involves drunkenly seducing your best friend whilst dressed as a chicken, they ain't got nothing on Fable III.

Relationships have always been at the core of the Fable universe - whether vital plot-based meetings or giggle-worthy odd couplings.

Fable III - released on 360 at the end of this month - pushes this reliance on inter-personal moments to a whole new level, not least thanks to the inclusion of a new 'Touch' mechanic. Inspired by ICO, it allows players to grab hold of NPCs - and each other - and get closer than ever before.

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Oh, and there's chicken suits. Did we mention the chicken suits?

Here, Lionhead design chief Josh Atkins reveals all...

How has the new touch mechanic affected the relationships within the Fable world?

We spend a lot of time thinking about how to garner an emotional reaction from our players. For example, often we use humour as a method to engage the player and make them care more about what's happening on screen. We used a similar process of thinking when it comes to the idea of our touch mechanics.

In the previous versions of Fable you could express yourself to the people of Albion in a limited way. With the addition of the touch mechanic you can now walk up to a villager and do something like shake their hand or give them a hug and while it is simple that little addition does make you care more about that character in the game.

Now, because this is Fable you could also grab that villager and fart on their head - which might also make you feel something albeit a different emotion then if you hug them.

Is there anything you could do in Fable II in terms of relationships you've removed this time around. If so, why?

There isn't anything we have explicitly removed from the relationships in Fable 3. We have worked hard to clarify the system so we've added several things to try and make the experience more satisfying to our players. For example, we have defined the relationships the player has with any villager in the game so when you walk up to a character you'll know exactly how that character feels about you and if they consider you're a friend, lover, enemy...etc.

On top of that we've added a system that allows any villager in the game to give you a quest asking you to do them a favour. These simple little quests also help raise the player's interest and will hopefully make the villagers feel more grounded and 'real.'

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How important is the concept of marriage in the Fable III world?

The fact that the player can get married in Fable III is something we treat with a lot of pride and we try to ensure that there is a lot of fun that comes from the feature. In Fable III we have tried to increase the meaning of marriage by being a game that allows two players to get married and have a family together.

The reason we included this feature is really twofold. First, we had a lot of players tell us that Fable II was one of the first games that they had ever played with their partners and we really wanted to ensure those players could experience Fable III in a really unique way. However the main reason we included the feature that allowed two players to get married is because it creates a strong and emotional bound between those players.

So many games have great co-op but we're trying to make you care just a little bit more. If a monster strikes your co-op buddy that's one thing but if they strike your wife...well that monster is going to get it.

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