Microsoft did not have a formal showing at GDC this year, but popular game designer Peter Molyneux gave a lengthy introduction into Fable III, with tons of brand new information and a lot of clarification on old information. There’s some big changes coming for the Fable franchise with this iteration, and for once we were able to see the grandiose promises of Peter Molyneux in action as he demoed every new system he described for the game today.
Starting at the beginning, with the story, Molyneux clarified that only half of the game is the journey to becoming King of the land, and this was to give the player a sense of power. He says the goal of Fable III’s plot is to be clearer (easier to follow) and more dramatic than its predecessors. Of course, with Fable, most of the cinematic experience really comes from the interaction, and that has been expanded considerably here.
The dog in Fable III has undergone big changes to be more receptive and responsive, and have more of a personality for its own. For example, apparently your dog hates rabbits so much that no matter how disciplined he is, if he sees a rabbit he’s going to chase it. Molyneux pointed out this was originally going to be chickens, but they decided they had abused them enough already.
The touch system is finally explained. Touch is now your interaction with everything. Molyneux showed touch in a few different ways in particular. The first was drag, as you pulled a homeless person you found on a street forcibly into slavery at a factory, to sell him for money. The second was hold, as you played with and tossed your young daughter in your arms, and finally was lead, as you lead your daughter back home to your wife.
As she was lead through town your daughter made comments on her environment. For example, as you passed the pub she said that you “promised Mum you wouldn’t go there anymore.” Her interaction and dialog was leagues above what was seen in Fable II, and even in the short few minutes we saw her in the demo I found myself interested in and connected to her character.
Now, and this bit is important, there will be much more Monty Python style humor in this game, according to Peter. You have a butler. I almost gave this information its own story. Why? Because your butler is John Cleese. Hold on, maybe you missed that. Your butler is John Cleese. I also feel I should note the applause to this announcement was akin to a full game announcement. If you do not know who John Cleese is, I suggest some googling, followed by movie rentals, to find out how awesome this is.
As with any Fable game, customization is a big point of focus, and this has been improved all around for Fable III. You know longer gain muscles from adding strength to your character. Instead you gain muscles from using large/heavy weapons. This means you women out there who didn’t like your big buff female heroes can now avoid this much easier. Weapons The wings were shown again, and it was explained that your wing size is based on your number of followers (more on them later).
Co-op has been expanded to what it should have been in Fable 2. You are no longer limited by the location of the person who’s world you are in. You can completely explore, destroy, play, and, according to Molyneux, sleep with your friends’ wives. Of course, you still have to have permission to do so. You can also now marry and have sex with your co-op friends.
Wrapping up the extensive preview of is the combat. Size, weight, and texture of your weapons will change based on what you kill and how much. Even your gamerscore effects your weapon’s appearance, apparently, although the exact details of how were not disclosed. Special functionalities can be added to your weapon now based on how you use it, like unique blows. Combat sticks to the one-button format of Fable II, but has been streamlined even further. Molyneux says the low difficulty of Fable is intentional, and he does not intend to change that.
Overall looks like an enormous upgrade to the previous entries in the franchise. Some of the complaints people had about the quality of the dog’s AI have yet to be addressed, but there are some incredibly promising and exciting new developments here.