At first glance, this addition doesn't sound all that impressive. In fact, with features like training (you can scold or reward the dog to change his behavior) and playing (you can throw or bury the dog's ball), it seems awfully similar to The Sims 2 Pets. And even that expansion lets you customize your dog's breed and appearance; in Fable 2, the animal simply morphs based on how you treat him.
Molyneux's not after a pet simulator, though. It's about emotion, remember? If you end up caring for this creature, the game's developers can then manipulate you to feel things using him as a vessel. They can make you love a character because that character treats your dog well and, vice versa, make you truly hate someone because they kicked your dog in the gut. Admit it - you kind of hate that imaginary someone already, don't you? The dog is a storytelling shortcut, sure, but one that could pack a powerful and perhaps poignant punch.
This isn't the only innovation Lionhead has planned for Fable 2 - it's just the one they're revealing at this juncture. At least two more biggies are promised down the road. One could involve the game's new economic system. Molyneux told us that while the original Fable was about heroes, its sequel is more about commerce. To that end, you can purchase any building in the world, from a town's small market stand to its busy tavern to the gleaming palace on the hill. Owning certain buildings will unlock quests and you can go from a scrappy businessman to the mayor, king or even emperor.
Another possible innovation could be the online component. Molyneux was visibly excited at the mention of this aspect, but was not allowed to discuss it yet. Will players be able to explore Albion in two or four-player co-op mode? Will your dog be able to interact with your friend's dog? Can you own buildings in the same town and do business with each other?
Fable 2's possibilities sound staggering...then again, so did Fable's. What the final product will deliver is anyone's guess, but we're looking forward to getting hyped up all over again. Check back for continuing coverage.