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Fable III developer interview

Is removing health and leveling removing the RPG from Fable?

I’m not sure I would personally call Fable an RPG. I mean it’s certainly not a 1990s RPG, for sure. In a way you could look at it as an action-adventure, you know – there’s a lot of drama, there’s a lot of story, there’s a lot of emotion in there, but we’re leveling up. And you know, I love that leveling up mechanic; I love RPGs and I love seeing myself and my hero grow and get more powerful, but a lot of the leveling up is just a number at the end of the day. Your leveling up is usually just spending that experience in the equivalent of a DOS screen. You absolutely level up in Fable III...  but it’s just different.

I really thought about why you just get experience for combat; it seemed wrong somehow. This game is about expressions and getting married, and doing other things in the world should be as important as fighting. As soon as we said the world ‘Followers’ – just saying the word ‘Followers’... what people think of you means more to the entirety of the game.


How much of Fable III is going to be defined by your Followers and the choices you make?

Everything you do in the game, including what you wear, including the way you fight, including Touch and Expressions can gain and lose you Followers. So for example, if I marry someone in the game, and that was the daughter of someone significant – say, the Mayor of the town – I get more Followers. The more Followers I have, the more powerful I am. Once you get a certain number of Followers you can lead the revolution to takeover. And once you’re King the more Followers you have, the more power you have. So it all flows into one big pot.

And Touch really does change everything. Ever since I played Ico, it was lodged in my mind. It was such an important game for me; an emotional game. In Fable and Fable II and a lot of other games you’re presented with choices – whether you’re going to save someone or not save someone – but in Fable III you have to physically drag someone to their fate and it really does emotionally change it. It’s especially true when – and this is telling you more than I should be telling you anyway – you’re going to execute someone. We make sure there’s enough space between where you’re going to execute them and where you are now that I have time to make you feel just a little bit guilty about doing it.


Crumbs. You have to actually drag people to be executed?

I think it’s very right that I don’t talk too much about what happens after you’re King because there are some real surprises there...

On the day of your Coronation, I definitely want you to feel supremely powerful, but then we’re not going to make life easy for you. I mean, could you point to any King or Queen or Prime Minister in history that’s had an easy life? Obama already looks like he’s aged ten years and he’s only been there a year.

This may be politically incorrect but Obama is a great inspiration to me. This guy is the first person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize without actually doing anything; he won it on a promise. Now, he guaranteed to close Guantanamo Bay in a year. To me, that’s as simple as picking up a phone and saying “close the place. I’m the President.” One year later and it’s still open. What went wrong, man? To me that’s a simple one.

And that’s what makes – and this is a PR line, I’m not going to apologise for it – the story of Fable III relevant today. You’re gonna be idealistic by the time you get on that throne. Most people will wanna close those workhouses and turn them all into schools; they’ll wanna get the beggars off the street, they’ll wanna empty the coffers of their treasury and put it out there with the people, but man… I’m not gonna make it that simple. There must be a reason why Guantanamo Bay is still open and that’s gonna be a great story to tell – but I’ve promised not to say anything more than that!

Mar 24, 2010

10 comments

  • Stebsy - April 7, 2010 1:49 p.m.

    for me fable 2 was a huge disapoinment wheneva for a game that prides itself on making you care about what desicions you make there were about 1 or 2 that actualy worked and that was only because i didnt want my character to get old and wrinkly. there was so many undelivered promises, and now here we are again being promised new things that most likely wont work exactly to plan either. what molyneux should do is stop making new promises and start delivering on the ones he made about fable 1. he should be trying to refine and perfect the original premise of the first game before he gets so carried away with all these ideas. dont get me wrong i enjoyed fable and completed fable 2 and its not that there bad games its just that they never seem to be quite as good as they could be. let me know if you agree with me or not.
  • jackthemenace - March 28, 2010 7:02 p.m.

    I'm worried. i'm very worried. This looks awesome, and it does seem brilliant, but ditching XP is stupid. but, that's just me. and hopefully once i start to play it, the followers system will become totally clear. I hope.
  • JADENkOTOR - March 26, 2010 5:36 p.m.

    There is no reason to think this game will fail. Molyneux is a weird guy, but his ideas implemented in the game are always fresh and work most of the time. The first two games in the series were great and I only see this one raising the bar. I also think there will be much more physical evolving in this game(appearance, weapons, armor, ect.)instead of the usual leveling that we are used to. To see your character progressively change would be ten times more satisfying than any attribute/skills menu in recent memory. @ TooSpliced "my guy got fat!" That was fucking hilarious.
  • CaseD - March 25, 2010 2:41 p.m.

    Well man, considering this came from molyneux, and like, we all know what he's like man. I'm just waiting for it to come out so as not to be disappointed... man.
  • TRAVthe3RD - March 25, 2010 5:11 a.m.

    by taking out the experience and health bar it sounds like the action and looting aspect is taking a back seat to emoting.. they even said theres gonna be less magical monsters cuz of the industrialisation of albion.. @ toospliced did ya even think of eating the healthy foods like celery?? they make ya skinny aw wells bit late now :p
  • TooSpliced - March 25, 2010 3:53 a.m.

    Hes got my attention but after the experience, I think almost ANYTHING with motion is probably going to epicly fail. Its like you want to save someone right? What if you accidentally move or sneeze and accidentally KILL them? Im a fan of Fable. Biggn. And I'm scared motion stuff would kinda be its downfall. And the no health bar? Why not that? Are you going to do a CoD kind of effect were the screen turns red? And I hope it gets more into the good and evil stuff. And PLEASE! PLEEEEEEEEEEASE! Make a wat you can lose wight! On Fable 2 I accidentally ate a meat pie and my guy got fat! Had to start over cuz I like my guy to be perfecto. Sooooooooo, yeah.
  • Samael - March 25, 2010 1:04 a.m.

    Ohmygod you idiot! Shut up about Obama and talk about your damn game! He really just doesn't get it does he? Still, taking out expressions is a good move. It was supremely stupid that you could marry someone in 1 & 2 just by farting in their face and doing an arm pump a billion times. And then you find out that marrying someone doesn't do anything! There is no benefit whatsoever! *sigh*
  • BMW89 - March 24, 2010 10:05 p.m.

    I get the feeling this game is either going to be awesome or an epic fail. Hopefully it's the former.
  • ergreenday - March 24, 2010 9:54 p.m.

    Well peter has gotin alot beter at explaning games in these past few years, thats for sure. I can't wait for this game to come out!:)
  • penguinsrule3 - March 24, 2010 9:02 p.m.

    I was worried and still am, but this article eases some of my concern about Fable III. If the concept works out (Mostly) like he says it will then this is definetly a game i'm interested in.

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