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XBox (Games)

A Morning With Microsoft Games 42

Posted by Zonk
from the no-one-threw-rocks-at-me dept.
For the most part, Tuesday offered insights into independent games, and their growing influence in the games industry. Tuesday was also, for at least part of the day, a chance to get caught up on upcoming offerings from Microsoft Game Studios. Though MGS doesn't have a keynote at this year's Game Developer's Conference, representatives from several of the company's first and third party studios were on hand to demonstrate the future of Microsoft gaming. I had the chance to sit in on demos for Mass Effect and Shadowrun. Additionally, Peter Molyneux was there to offer up a very unusual slice of gameplay from Fable 2: an adventurer and his dog. Read on for my impressions of these anticipated titles.
Mass Effect

I should say up front that I walked into the Mass Effect demo already fairly biased. BioWare's RPG formula has worked for me since the days of Baldur's Gate, and when I sat down in a darkened room with about fifteen other people, I was already keen on the game. It would be an understatement to say that they did not disappoint. The Doctors of Bioware were onhand for the demonstration, and the phrase of the day was "It grabs you and never lets go". For once, the PR actually matched up with what I saw onscreen.

In this demo, we were shown the first hour or so of the game's actual play. He showed us the character creation process, and then moved on into the earliest part of the story. We got to see low-level combat, more of the wonderful conversation system, and caught a glimpse of the arch-villain of the story: a Taurian named Saren.

Character creation allows you to tweak more than just your appearance and gender. The character's background is also subject to your decisions. Did your character grow up on earth, or on a colony? Or were they a station brat? Though it wasn't immediately obvious how this affected the game over the course of the 40-some hours of main quest, it was mentioned in the opening moments of the game. The NPCs who discussed the main character's background seemed to have pre-conceived notions based on where he was born. One could assume that if they know of your history, NPC reactions will change based on this information.

Hopping into the game proper, the player is immediately put onboard the Normandy - the vast space vessel that will serve as the hub of action for the majority of the game. The conversation system was shown off again by allowing us to interrupt, or join, a conversation between two helmsmen. The quick flick of the stick that the was used to select an option was effortless, and it was pointed out again that 'option types' will generally be in the same place. So, if you want to be kind, you can choose the upper right option. Being a jerk is the lower right option. Once you have a mental map in place, the player will be able to respond purely on emotion.

From the conversation on the bridge, Commander Sheppard is led back to a communications room where the ship's captain and a Turian named Nihlus wanted a word. Though the cruise is ostensibly a shake-down for the Normandy, the event also has a diplomatic element. We're to head to a human colony world to recover an artifact uncovered in a dig project. The object is left over technology from the precursor race whose works allow all other races in the galaxy to travel faster than light (utilizing the mass effect). It's obvious throughout the conversation that the main character is a bit in over his head, and it's possible to show that by interrupting and backtalking. A comm call breaks the mood, and we see imagery of destruction and chaos from the planet we're heading to.

Anyone who has seen previous demonstrations for this game knows what's coming: the robotic Geth race have arrived, and in force. Nihlus, Sheppard, and a pair of soldiers land with instructions to retrieve the alien technology and retreat. Nihlus scouts ahead, but doesn't really do that great a job; Sheppard and the grunts are almost immediately set upon by small flying weapons platforms. This allows the team to show off the inventory, skill system, and two of the different character classes. Inventory and skills are very straightforward; anyone who has played a western rpg will be familiar with the object managements system used in the game. Skills are dictated by a character's class, and can be improved via skill points whenever Sheppard gains a level. Initially, Sheppard is the soldier class, which concentrates on weapons and armor skills. After demonstrating some of the combat we've already seen, they switch to a different saved game where Sheppard is an 'adept', a user of the mass effect that can manipulate the world around him. Using the adept powers cover can be created in thin air and drones can be swatted out of the sky. While the early adept powers don't look to differentiate themselves much from weapons fire, judging by the powers available later in the game the adept will be a varied class to play.

We skip ahead a bit, to show some of the extremely dense optional content you can engage in. The squad and Sheppard meet up with a scientist, a survivor of the Geth and their electrozombie deathsquads. She tells us what's going on, as best she can, and tells us to head to the spaceport. There's a conversational option, though, called 'investigate'. Throughout the conversation with the woman, her co-worker is raving and ranting about the end of all things. By going back to investigate we can interrogate her on a number of subjects, including the sanity of her fellow scientist. While she makes overtures in his defense, we are taking none of that ... and cold-cock him. He goes down. The presenters make it a point to say that, though this character isn't integral to the plot, your actions to have consequences. If we were to meet up with this guy later in the game he would definitely remember what we've done. There are dozens of hours of this optional content, and it's totally up to you as the player whether you want to engage with that element or not.

Effortlessly, the story sidesteps to a cutscene showing Nihlus killed by the renegade Saren. We don't get much information about the man or his intentions, but even just having known Nihlus for a short period of time there's a sense of betrayal to the game.

That's essentially the end of the demo, and the doctors load up a save game that has us standing in the Citadel, the vast space station that will be home to hundreds of NPCs we'll get to know over the course of the game. It, like the rest of the title, is absolutely beautiful to behold, and a tremendous place to stop.

The folks at Bioware have already said that Mass Effect won't be at E3 this year ... because it will already have been released. Somewhere between now and July we'll finally get to crack into this game, and I can't wait. My only complaint about the entire experience was some framerate hiccups in the midst of the heaviest combat. Assuming that they get things nailed down to 30 fps by the time the game releases, I think the company will maintain its tradition of always making their 'best game yet.'

Shadowrun

To put it bluntly, Shadowrun was even more disappointing than I'd expected it to be. I've come to terms with the FPS nature of the title, thanks in large part to various impassioned defenses of the game I've seen around the web by development team members. Just the same, the game I sat down to see yesterday was not a retail title. It was a gorgeous, innovative Xbox Live Arcade title: very much not worth the $49-$59 it's going to cost.

At first blush, though, the game has a lot to offer. You've likely already seen the gameplay that Shadowrun offers. The phrase 'Counter-strike with elves' pretty much sums it up. Twitch shooter players will have the chance to combine technologies, magic, and weaponry in an deadly effective 'builds'. The demo team claimed that they'd been playing the game essentially for three years, and there's no doubt in my mind that's the case. While 45 minutes wasn't enough time to get a firm feel for a competitive shooter's balance, it was obvious just from the gameplay I saw that they've put a lot of effort into tuning. For example: the 'smoke' power allows you to be invulnerable to damage and invisible to radar. It is countered by a 'gust' power that can push characters away or cause a good deal of damage to characters under the smoke power.

What's more, the gameplay did feel fundamentally different than your typical FPS. Based on the choices the demonstrators were making, there was a definite tone of 'super-heroics' to go alongside the title's gritty combat. Teleporting into the air, and then through walls, only to float down into a courtyard on a personal glider feels very 'right'. There were a number of weapons in the game, and each has obvious advantages. As far as I could tell, there weren't any weapons that were in there just to pad out the number of options.

Complaints were leveled at FASA last E3 for the game's looks, and it is now easy to say that graphics are no longer a problem. The game looked phenomenal both on a Vista PC and the 360. Lighting especially gave the crooked alleys and byways of the maps a dramatic tone. Seeing another character teleport, or the growth of the 'tree of life' healing spell, is quite striking the first few times.

The problem is (and I experienced this even during the course of the demo) that players will be seeing these graphics, these weapons, these maps over and over and over again. There is no single player campaign; you can't even play the game split-screen with a guy in the same room. They're planning to ship with about 12 maps, and a handful of gameplay modes ... and in all likelihood they're going to charge about $49 bucks for this. I greatly respect what FASA is trying to do with this game, and it really does seem like a charming title.

Unfortunately, there's just not enough 'there' there to justify that price. PC gamers already have Counter-Strike to chew on, and are slathering in anticipation of Team Fortress 2. Console gamers are playing Gears and Rainbow Six, and in just a few months will be flocking to the Halo 3 beta. I just don't see any room in the lives of multiplayer gamers for this title. While I love the Shadowrun franchise ... who wants to be a foofy elf when you can play the Chief?

Fable 2

Sitting down in the same room with Peter Molyneux is an experience. The man has a very engaging speaking voice. The journalists in the room were all properly cynical (Molyneux has done more than his fair share of overpromising), but even still it's very hard not to take him seriously when he talks.

He begins by talking a bit about Lionhead's philosophy behind games. Sequels should be a reason to play again, get the blood boiling, do new things. They shouldn't just be retreads of the same old thing. After the first Fable they opened the doors to the community, they've listened, and everything you'd expect is going to be in the game. Bigger swords, bigger everything.

But, he says, "Lionhead as a studio means to give you something you've never seen before. I truly believe Fable 2 will be a landmark game." There are three features in Fable 2 that are 'wow' moments, and he showed just one at the event. The other two are for another time. But, he thinks, this one feature will really have us interested. Or, as he put it "You won't get it." Other way, he promises it will give you pause.

The greatest gaming moments of all time, he says, are connected to emotions. FFVII, when Aerith is killed; Ico, when the princess saves the main character. One of the three features, then, is Emotion. Molyneux intends for us to feel something that we've never felt before for a videogame character: love. He wants players to feel love in the game. So, to start with, you'll be able to play as either gender. You'll be able to get married, have protected or unprotected sex, and have babies. If you're a female character, you can get pregnant. As far as he knows, this is the first game where that's possible. There is same-sex marriage, as in the first title, but a same-sex couple can't conceive.

Your children grow up as you adventure along, and eventually they start to look like you do. In Molyneux's view, game worlds just don't appreciate protagonists enough. You save the town from dragons, and everybody treats you the same as before. In Fable 2, villagers will be like "oh, it's that guy that saved us, everybody come see!" Likewise, when your kids come running up to you saying "Daddy, daddy, I heard about the scorpions! Tell me all about it!", he figures you're going to feel something.

As an aside, he says "Oh man ... we're training game testers to be mass murderers." This is in reference to the long hours they have to repeatedly play game content over and over again, and is hilarious with a British accent.

This love/emotion stuff is a core element of the game, and he feels very strongly about it. Just the same, he understands that not every player is going to want to go down the romance/love trail. So, to ensure that every player has to deal with it at least somewhat, every character is going to have a dog.

The dog, he says, loves you. It loves you unequivocally, and the entire thought process behind the dog's design was that it can't aggravate you. If he's in any way aggravating, then he's already lost you. On the other hand, the first time the dog makes you smile, the first time the dog makes you care ... then he's *got* you. And he can exploit you.

One of the folks in the room pipes up with "Can the dog die?" Molyneux demures; he has to save that topic for another day.

The inspiration for the dog was the lower case d in nethack. The dog is completely autonomous. There are no buttons to control the dog. You control the dog by playing the game. The dog understands what you're doing, and that's how you control him.

To give an example of how you teach the dog, he deals with the dog's 'bloody squeaky ball.' The dog digs up the ball, which Molyneux has previous hidden. To tell the dog that he doesn't like the ball at all, he scolds him a few times, but then relents and tosses the ball anyway. Somewhere in the discussion of interaction with the dog, farting comes up. You'll have a command to fart on command. "For an english audience, breaking wind on cue will sell millions."

On an adventure, the dog's job is to watch your back. He keeps watch for new stuff, new enemies, new objects, new opportunities. As an aside, he says that he found it hilarious that they spent many millions of dollars making the original game and 'you could play the whole game on the minimap.' The dog is the way they've 'gotten rid of the minimap'. He shows an example of the dog in a fight, and he points out the high level of the dog's intelligence. The weapon you use dictate's the dog's behavior in a fight. If you have a gun out (there are guns in Fable 2), the dog will attack a melee fighter. If you have a sword in your hand, the dog will attack a ranged opponent.

In the course of the fight, the dog gets hurt and begins limping along. You have the choice, Molyneux says, to not have a dog. They give every character the opportunity, but you don't have to do anything you don't want to. If the dog gets hurt, and you just don't care ... you can just walk away. Then he says "Sometime you'll be in a tavern, though, and you'll hear a scratching at the door." The dog will try as hard as it can to get back to you. While I've been with him most of the way so far, this feature strikes me as something that will be quick to go when the development cycle starts looking too long.

As you develop in the game, the dog follows the same lines. He'll develop skills, the same way your character does, and will change in appearance to match your character's personality. An evil character will have something like a doberman; a good character will have something much more fluffy. Voice recognition will be in the final game, allowing you to train the dog to perform things on voice command. It's not currently in the demo, so we can't see how it's shaping up so far.

You don't have to feed him. They tried working with a feeding mechanic, but it was just too aggravating. He'll feed himself (hunting rabbits is the example), and you can feed him if you want. It's just not a crucial game mechanic. You can end up with a fat dog if you feed him too many treats.

With that portion of the demo completed, he loads up a movie that shows a quick flythrough of the game's capital city. In the first game, the city was just 40 houses. In Fable 2, 500 years in the future, it's a sprawling metropolis with three complete districts. Every house and shop and stall in the city is purchasable, apparently. He takes a great deal of pride in pointing that, while they're still nailing down the emotion stuff, the in-game economy is done, solid, nailed. It's fully reactive too; if you buy a bunch of houses and then jack up the price, you become slum lord. That area of town changes, too, with more trash in the streets and the look of the buildings getting sketchy. As Molyneux says: "Buy a grocer, and decide not to sell oranges one day. See what happens."

Every shop and house that you purchase has the possibility of unlocking quests. You can become the city tailor, or grocer. Why not own a castle? Own a dungeon! Own a temple of Evil. All of these elements are completely optional, and represent possibly hundreds of hours of gameplay.

This immersion extends out into the countryside too. In the first game he was famously quoted about acorns and trees. "We've gone beyond that." The whole countryside is changeable based on your decisions. If you help a gypsy camp early in your career, dozens of hours later you may come back to find a small village has cropped up. If you wipe them out, on the other hand, there will a pristine glade. My game of Fable won't be the same as your game of Fable.

Wrapping things up, he says that he can't talk about combat today. They're nailing things down, and it will get implemented this summer. He feels, very passionately, that this is Lionheads magnus opus. It has to be. "If I don't get this one right, I shouldn't be in this industry." He concludes by confirming the game won't be out this year, and the session ends.
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A Morning With Microsoft Games

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  • by ASkGNet (695262)
    Fable 2 will be cut
    Shadowrun will suck
    Mass Effect..we shall see.

    Nothing surprising there.
    • by CDarklock (869868)
      Fable was cut. Massively. Even the Lost Chapters expansion was heavily cut.

      And it still made everything else in the RPG market look like garbage.

      Now Lionhead's got major corporate backing that frees up Molyneux to concentrate on the GAME instead of running the company.

      So pardon me if I think it doesn't really matter how much they cut. Fable 2 is going to beat the everloving shit out of everything else. Between F2 and GTA4, Microsoft is going to pwn Sony.

      Yeah, I know, Sony has GTA4 too. But they won't have t
      • Pat on the back (Score:3, Insightful)

        Between F2 and GTA4, Microsoft is going to pwn Sony.

        I think you deserve a pat on the back.

        Finally a corporate shill has the balls to say who he is!

        VTE contractor @ Microsoft: Windows SH team
        • by CDarklock (869868)
          I say what I actually think. Full-stop. If you have a problem with that, fuck you. If Microsoft has a problem with that, fuck them.

          If you think that makes me a corporate shill, you're retarded.
      • Fable was hit and miss. It was basically KOTOR with less character. It's sales basically showed what people thought of it. Which was "meh".
        • "It's sales basically showed what people thought of it." Yeah, in excess of 1.4 million units is obviously 'meh' :/
          • by CDarklock (869868)
            Wasn't it 2.5 million? Checking...

            According to Microsoft's press archive [microsoft.com], 2 million sold as of April 6 last year. I don't know, maybe we sold a half million this year. It's possible. I think Molyneux said in a recent interview that it sold 2.5 million, but I don't want to go searching for it.
            • The data points I have
              from here [wikipedia.org]

              fable - 1.5 mil

              FFXII - ~3.75

              FFX - 5 mil +

              FFx-2 - 3 mil

              Oblivion - 3 mil +

              morrowind - 4 mil +

              Kindom HEarts - ~5 mil

              KH 2 - ~3 mil

              KOTOR - 1.3 mil

              DQVII - 4.50 mil

              WOW - 8 mil

              Fable may have sold more lately. but you do know that games have high initial sales then a really small volume after. I doubt they sold 500k recently. I cross compared some of those titles with info from various soruces online and they're a few months older but close. I somehow doubt the sales for fable are 40%
              • by CDarklock (869868)
                Excuse me, but you do realise that those figures say Fable outsold KOTOR, right?

                Hardly "meh".
                • lol. no compared to other RPG's it's "meh". the GP said it blew away the copitition. not in sales. It was a 5-10% better then KOTOR and less then all the other RPGS.
                  • by CDarklock (869868)
                    There are roughly 40 RPGs available for the original XBox.

                    Fable is one of the top five.

                    That blows away the competition.

                  • It was meh. As a hack 'n slash it was okay, but the plot was weak tea. And sales really don't tell you how good a game actually is on their own, or else the fucking SIMS pwn everything.
              • by Itchyeyes (908311)
                According to your linked Wikipedia article, Fable was the 4th best selling game on the Xbox. That's definitely a franchise that Microsoft wants to hold on to. Furthermore, the list you linked only gives US sales for Fable while most of the others are worldwide sales. Given that Lionhead is a European developer that could mean a significant margin of error. Something else worth pointing out is that Fable is the only game on your list that was an original IP. Every other game is either a sequel or based
                • The GP said "And it still made everything else in the RPG market look like garbage". I merely pointed out it's sales put it squarely in the "meh" catagory. It's sales were good, the critical reception was good but it's did not blow away the compeition for either sales or critical reception and "meh" is the word to describe this "not amazing, didn't suck" catagory. It means most people didn't care.
            • The press release is most likely refering to units "sold" to retailers. I can beleive that.
      • >And it still made everything else in the RPG market look like garbage.

        damn i need to get your copy of fable because mine blew chunks.

        >Yeah, I know, Sony has GTA4 too. But they won't have the downloadable content.

        yes it will... the downloadable content will be different between the 2 systems but both will have it.
      • And it still made everything else in the RPG market look like garbage.

        Eh. Fable was okay, but KOTOR kicked its ass up and down the street in both dramatics and gameplay. Furthermore, the "good/evil choice" mechanics in Fable (which were supposed to be the focus of the whole game) were clumsy and ham-handed compared to the ones from KOTOR (which were only so-so to begin with).

        Now Lionhead's got major corporate backing that frees up Molyneux to concentrate on the GAME instead of running the company.

        Tha

        • by CDarklock (869868)
          > KOTOR kicked its ass up and down the street

          I don't agree. Not that KOTOR wasn't a great game, but a tremendous amount of KOTOR's goodness was comparing it to all the other Star Wars games that SUCKED! "I want to play a Star Wars game, ooh here's one AAAAAAA OMG MY EYES WTF!!!!"

          So I played KOTOR, and it was a great game, and I had great fun. And then I played it again, so I could be evil this time. And then I tried to play it again, and... and... hey, this game sucks.

          Meanwhile, I've played through Fable
      • by LKM (227954)

        And it still made everything else in the RPG market look like garbage.

        Hahahaha! Even without your own admission that you work for MS, this sentence would have so made you.

    • by Itchyeyes (908311)
      Wow, what deep insights you have. Here are mine Fable 2 will end up being what Fable was supposed to be but not everything Molyneaux says Fable 2 will be. It will be a solid game but thousands of people who got their hopes up will proclaim it as one of the worst games ever made. Shadowrun will suck on the PC and in single player, but as an online console FPS it will be good, maybe even great. Mass Effect will be a masterpiece but will suffer from a slow frame rate.
  • Molyneux? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rycross (836649) on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:27PM (#18291760)
    "Molyneux has done more than his fair share of overpromising," is a bit of an understatement. The man deserves a lifetime achievement award for overpromising and underdelivering. All of those features sound great, but they aren't anything that an RPG fan couldn't come up with in a heavy brainstorming session. The mark of a truly great game designer is the ability to make those pie-in-the-sky ideas a reality. And while Molyneux ends up making fun games, he's totally unable to realize the kinds of ideas he gives out in press conferences.

    You say its hard not to take him seriously... I find it hard to take him seriously.
  • Having a kid (Score:2, Interesting)

    by VickiM (920888)
    Just to be nit-picky, your female character gets pregnant in the Harvest Moon games. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean your husband will suddenly be helpful around the farm, or that you stop working sun-up to sun-down. I wonder if Fable 2 will make you stop adventuring for that time, or risk losing the kid.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Just to be nit-picky, your female character gets pregnant in the Harvest Moon games. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean your husband will suddenly be helpful around the farm, or that you stop working sun-up to sun-down.

      So you mean it's like real life then?

      I wonder if Fable 2 will make you stop adventuring for that time, or risk losing the kid.

      I certainly hope so. But then I doubt that most of the complexity of Fable 2 is actually going to make it into the game.

  • by Kelbear (870538) on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:41PM (#18291958)
    I think Molyneux is overreaching again. Guy's got good intentions and dreams for gaming, but making them happen has been pretty hit or miss. It's just hard to be as excited about what the guy has to say at this point. His games will all be prioritized as "Just wait and see" until he pulls off a slam-dunk.

    Mass-effect, can't wait.

    Shadow-run, I'll try a demo.
    • by Kelbear (870538)
      Incidentally, I just watched the HD demo of this dog at gametrailers(It's one of the featured vids) and that dog is CUUUUUUTE. While the rest of the game still has plenty of potential to crash and burn, I will love that dog for doing nothing other than hanging around going through it's idle animations.
  • hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday March 09, 2007 @02:48PM (#18292070) Homepage
    First the short stuff:

    Mass Effect, GIMME.

    Shadowrun...eh.

    OK. Now. I have been playing RPG's since the late 80's....also did Paper RPG's. For my entire gaming life (which has been since I was 4...almost 23 now) RPG's have always been my favourite genre.

    Now that being said, even though he didn't deliver on many things he said he wanted to do in the first Fable, it still stands out as a favourite game of mine...the atmosphere, the control scheme, the graphics...for it's time, everything was top notch. He has expressed regret in it not being what he originally envisioned multiple times...and frankly, I don't care. I wouldn't call Fable an Achievement in gaming, but it was damn well done.

    If they can implement the dog with the same level of training as in Black and White 2, yet can make the dog AI more complicated and intelligent, that alone could make a big difference in the game. I can only imagine how my buddy whose child-hood dog died last year would connect with an intelligent in-game dog that follows you, obeys you, and loves you.

    The economy mechanic sounds good, as does the family mechanic. Really, in my opinion, they need to nail the story. Don't get me wrong, the first Fable had an ok story to it, but it didn't really suck you in...to me, that was it's largest shortcoming.

    Regardless of how Fable 2 will come out, it's being made by Lionhead. I have yet to play a game from them that I did not like. I don't expect Fable 2 to be any different. If he does deliver as he has announced, however...well, let's just say between Fable 2 and Spore, gaming will have truly taken the "next-gen" leap.
    • "Regardless of how Fable 2 will come out, it's being made by Lionhead. I have yet to play a game from them that I did not like."

      Apparently you did not play the original Black and White.
  • Fury III remains the greatest game that MS games has ever released.

    A sublime, giant-pixel-shootin', gravity-ignorin', high flyin' shoot-'em-up. What's not to love?
    • by drinkypoo (153816)
      Personally my vote is either for Mechwarrior IV or Crimson Skies. I know Mech IV pissed off people to no end, as it broke most of the rules of Battletech, but I think it was quite an excellent game and it kept me busy more than any other game I've ever played, period. Mech III is a buggy pile of shit that doesn't run right for me today, the graphics system is hosed and it misdraws things. But Mech IV is still going strong. Crimson Skies, which I have played only on the PC, is amazingly fun and had only one
      • Shit! I forgot about the Mechwarrior series! Of course, I was half-joking anyway, but Fury III really is fun as hell :)

        I liked Mech II: Mercenaries the best, personally. Mech III was OK, and as for Mech IV... well, I held on to it through three different computers--all on the low side of top-end for their time--before I built one that it would even install on (crash with no error message when it would try on the other two, I never researched the cause because I didn't really care enough to put forth the
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Maybe it's bitterness from that experience, but I only played for a few minutes because the graphics didn't seem as good as III's, and the controls were much harder than I remembered them being, but that may just have been my own faulty memory, as I hadn't played a game from that series for ~3 years at the time.

          I found the two to be about equally easy to control.

          I really need to try Crimson Skies. Isn't it in the $10 bin at a lot of places these days?

          Yes. One word for the wise: rudder. You NEED rudder co

  • by kinglink (195330) on Friday March 09, 2007 @03:13PM (#18292422)
    Well let's see Black and white, amazing AI that you can easily teach and train to help you do all sorts of thing. Wait it didn't have that.

    But wait Fable, everything you do will change the entire world. Amazing... wait but it's a shadow of what you promised.

    The answer is simple Molyneux blows too much smoke, and almost never delivers, at least not in the first game or the expansion. Why is the Sims 2 amazing? because Will Wright promised us an amazing experience and we got it. Why is Meier games a huge hit because we are giving great gameplay. Molyneux constantly promises huge experiences but never delivers.

    This time he's promised us a Spector-esque type game where everything you do matters (again), but personally I won't be buying into the hype.
    • by Jesterboy (106813)
      I do agree that Peter Molyneux is quite the blow hard, but he has made some decent games. Dungeon Keeper, Theme Park, Populus... Just his recent offerings have been somewhat lackluster; they seem more like tech demos than complete games. Black & White, Fable; all promised more than was ultimately delivered, but they were still enjoyable. Largely shielded from Peter's hype machine, I actually enjoyed Fable quite a bit for the straightforward action RPG it was, instead of staring at the trees for hour
  • For Canadians like Terrance & Phillip...

      "For an english audience, breaking wind on cue will sell millions."

    I just about spit milk out my nose. That was the funiest thing I have read all day!
  • by Mongoose (8480) on Friday March 09, 2007 @08:15PM (#18295948) Homepage
    If you never played a game with summons like in the Elder Scrolls you might miss the point. Just load up Oblivion, and make a character with high Marksman and Conjuration skills. Now play a couple of hours and see what I mean. You can use them as meat sheilds for sure, but it really helps with strategy and balancing fights. You can take on more enemies at a time now without making your character 'godlike' or making enemy AI do a 'holding pattern'. I don't have to mention games for those two as it's often seen. ^_^

    The fun part about the marksman+conjuration character is you can swap out dozens of creatures for their special abilities while you're pointing them in the right direction and gimping enemies from far away. It's almost like a fantasy Advanced Fire Squad or Call of WWII game gameplay. I'm sure a lot of the content will be cut in Fable, but I think the dog is going to stay from what I've read in other interviews and it'll be nice. ;)
  • Fable 2: an adventurer and his dog

    Is that a sequel to "A Boy and His Dog"? ;) For those who missed it: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072730/ [imdb.com]
  • a same-sex couple can't conceive

    This is what I come here to read. Both informative and educational.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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