E3 2010: Fable 3 PreviewBy Andrew Pfister - Posted Jun 18, 2010
What We Already Know:
Fable III was announced at GamesCom in Germany last fall, and since then Lionhead's Peter Molyneux has been slowly doling out details on the third chapter of his ambitious project. The focus is on a new hero, sixteen years after the events of Fable II, and the theme -- much like the game itself -- is two-fold: revolution and rule. The first half of the game pits you as a revolutionary leader bent on overthrowing the current tyrannical king, Logan. Once that happens, you are then actually asked to rule Albion...governed by your internal desires and the promises you made as a revolutionary.
What We're Seeing Now:
A small group of us sat down with Peter Molyneux just a few hours ago for an fresh look at Fable III. I hadn't seen the game since X10 and the announcement of weapons and gear that level up and morph on their own as you use them. We saw a glimpse of that again today, and I had the chance to ask Molyneux about how that worked, specifically if we as players were going to get feedback on exactly why our stuff was changing. He couldn't show us yet because the feature still isn't in proper working order, but he explained equipment evolution trees would be entirely visual, and we'll know what upgrade paths our gauntlets and swords are on. He then joked that "the old Peter Molyneux would say that you're leveling up everything in the world," but it does seem to be done to an extreme: weapons, gauntlets, spells, even houses and family members can rank up to a maximum of five stars.
The other key question I had for Molyneux ever since X10 was just how the end-game was going to change once you became ruler of Albion. I had posited that at some point on the journey to the throne, you'll break a promise or wrong someone...and when you become King, the game then switches to you preventing a revolt against your own rule. Molyneux was being extremely careful and cagey with his answer, which essentially boiled down to asking rhetorically "Why was Logan a tyrannical figure?" Something happened to the previous King that we'll find out, and that will change our perspective on that question. The promises we make and actions we take in the first half of the game will determine the consequences of the second half. Molyneux punctuated this explanation with an assessment of Lionhead's approach to making us feel bad: "We're bastards. Especially if you care about stuff."
It was a bit of a freeform demo, as the next thing we saw was the new pause menu. It might not sound enthralling, but Lionhead's being extremely visual about this aspect of the game as well. Hitting the start button will pause the game, but it'll also instantly transport you into The Sanctuary, a quiet place where you can change clothes, options, and look at the world map. But the world map isn't a simple map, you can actually zoom down to ground level and see what's happening in the game world. You can even make purchases from shops and realtors in this method, without having to travel to specific locations. The emphasis was on making everything fast and visual, learning from the UI mistakes Molyneux copped to in the first two Fable games. ("The worst-designed GUI ever.")
Fable III is out late October, and this one will take us a while to play. The decisions of the first half guiding the actions of the second half is something utterly fascinating, and I can't wait to see what Molyenux is going to put us through.