NEWS - Sunday, December 7, 2003

New Details on Fable

The guys at Big Blue Box and Lionhead sat down for an online chat last night to discuss details on the forthcoming Xbox RPG ‘Fable’. The interview attracted thousands of eager gamers, and thankfully disclosed some interesting and revealing information on the game. Firstly Peter Molyneux talked about the multiplayer features of the game, allowing players to save their ‘Hero’ to a memory card and insert them into other people worlds. It appears that up to four players can play at the same time, each swapping from ‘alter-egos’ to the main character; when you play as an alter ego you can attack and help the main character, whilst doing this you can earn the right to be the main character. Molyneux also revealed that it’s possible to insert other players ‘heroes’ into your world and allow them to stay there, changing as time passes by. Speaking about his experiences with the game, the lead villager AI programmer described a moment in which he was trying to impress a woman by doing cartwheels in front of her, but ultimately ending up falling on his arse and having the pain of watching her laughing at him instead. A lot of talk has come from the mouths of Lionhead and Big Blue Box regarding what you can do in ‘Fable’, which has led many to believe these are just pipe-dreams that will never end up materialised in the final game, so everybody involved in the chat session were keen to stress that these were actual events in the game and not just conceptions of what will feature in the final build. Adam went on to speak about how villagers build up an opinion of the players hero, claiming that every individual villager has a multidimensional opinion of the hero, which is continuously being influenced by the players actions and the shared opinion of the hero maintained by each village; concluding that it’s entirely possible for one village to love you and another that detests the sight of you. Simon Carter, Lead Programmer and Big Blue Box MD, went on to talk about the engine that powers ‘Fable’, confirming that it does simulate weather accurately and that players will find themselves in gales, rain and snow, whilst you’ll also see the sun moving around the planet and other such touches as volumetric fogging. In addition Carter confirmed that every single line of dialogue will be spoken in the game, and that voices will be a mixture of generic and character voices depending on the importance of the character. The combat system in ‘Fable’ has come in for a bit of attack in recent months, with early talk of an innovative system being replaced by the standard hack ‘n’ slash and number based system. Simon Carter was keen to address the situation, suggesting that the system will be based on rhythmic button presses and tactical decisions, whilst maintaining that accessibility is kept to a high. The team went on to discuss their adventures in the world of ‘Fable’ thus far, confirming that is indeed possible to cheat on your wife and have multiple affairs – although the team did recommend against such acts as the saying goes ‘hell hath nofury like a women scorned’. However it is possible for your wife to go off you and end up with somebody else; sadly it’s not going to be possible to select a female character at the start, although it’s entirely possible for female heroes to join your side and help you in your quest. As with many RPGs a law system dictates the world of ‘Fable’, so if you commit a crime and are seen by a villager, then they will try to alert the guards, in which case you’ll be declared a criminal – thankfully you’ll be able to bribe guards, or have the option to apologise for your crimes, upon failing that there’s always the option of killing the guards or ending up in jail. The team went on to talk about the huge number of mini-games that frequent ‘Fable’, specifically talking about a fishing mini-game and the ability to keep your catch as trophies and hang them above the fireplace at home. Moving back to the games technicalities, the team confirmed that a day/night cycle will last for approximately 20 minutes, however this is subject to change during the games final testing stages and that’s it’s possible to go to sleep whenever you want to in order to skip time, but that this isn’t highly recommended. When dealing with the issue of death it appears that the team didn’t want to include this, as such it’s more likely another hero will come in and drag you back to the village so everybody can have a good laugh at you instead – who said death was cruel??? The villages certainly appear to be a main focus in the game; as such you’ll find various festivals going on and specifically ones to celebrate your arrival when you’re famous enough. Dene went on to talk about an experience with two villagers and a troll that he witnessed: “We had a great scene where someone had a troll near a village. Two of the villagers were exceedingly pissed off waiting for a hero to arrive, so they went up to him and beat the crap out of him. Pleased with their work, their ’Friendliness’ went up, so they shook hands and marched off as if they were the greatest Troll fighting team in the world.” Intriguingly the team confirmed that cut-scenes will be real-time, whilst also making use of a new storytelling device – but sadly the team didn’t want to elaborate anymore on this at present. The issue of weapons has been a sticky subject between the Carter brothers and Peter Molyneux, however it appears that the team are happy to go for a Mature rating, confirming that it’s possible to take weapons into some villages, whilst others require you to leave them at the front door – however it’s entirely possible still to get into a bar room brawl with just your fists in such cases. Finishing up Simon Carter confirmed that the game will be stuffed full of Easter Eggs and special bonuses for players to uncover, claiming that: “we have more Easter Eggs than the Easter bunny himself on a particularly eggy day. Fable is all about discovering things nobody else has seen.” The information has certainly shot ‘Fable’ back to the Top of our Most Wanted list, whilst the confirmation of the final boxart and the fact that the game is in the testing stages, suggest that ‘Fable’ will be released sooner in 2004 then most people thing; we’ll have more news on ‘Fable’ soon.

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