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Molyneux's Fabled Fable Finally Close To Release 79

Rainier Wolfecastle writes "A couple weeks ago, we had the opportunity to visit Peter Molyneux and Simon and Dene Carter in Guildford, UK, for some hands-on time with Fable, their highly anticipated, finally ready for release Xbox action-RPG." Kikizo admits "Fable has been a long time coming, and for better or worse the media has elevated expectations considerably", but likes what it sees, calling the September 14th-due title "huge, gorgeous and a joy to play." Eurogamer also weighs in with impressions, expressing some reservations despite "feeling relatively upbeat" about the title, explaining: "As much as we enjoyed our time with it, it's the sort of game - typical of Peter Molyneux really - that we can't really assess piecemeal."
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Molyneux's Fabled Fable Finally Close To Release

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  • About time (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Satertek ( 708058 )
    It's about time

    I remeber hearing somewhere that multiplayer was cut from the game. Did they ever get around to putting it in?

    • AFAIK, it was never a multiplayer game. At the least, there is no multiplayer in the game as it stands.
      • Re:About time (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        It was slated to have a multiplayer feature, but it was canned.
    • Re:About time (Score:5, Informative)

      by bugbread ( 599172 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:27PM (#9940431)
      Yessish and noish.

      Originally, it didn't have multiplayer.

      Then they decided to put it in, tried it out a bit, but it didn't work out, so they took it back out, and that's where things stand now.
      • If I remember correctly, it more as a co/op mixed with deathmatch, as there was only two players allowed, each being a different facet of the whole who vied for control or something to that effect. Any corrections would be appreciated, as I am digging into the already foggy depths of my brain meats.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:15AM (#9936646)

    System sellers midway through the console life. Can't wait for this one.
  • Publicity god (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kamapuaa ( 555446 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:17AM (#9936658) Homepage
    Peter Molyneux may have designed some pretty good games, but he's an expert at playing the media. I remember the exact same absurdist hype for the piece-of-shit "Black or White."
    • If I remember correctly, and I think I do because I own Black & White... Black and White was an amazing game that added a whole new way to play games. When it came out it was nothing short of amazing. Black & White 2 is coming out soon, and looks to be even more amazing than the first.

      If you didn't like it because you couldn't figure it out, that's one thing. But the critics loved B&W.
      • Re:Publicity god (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @01:07AM (#9936872)
        Will all due respect, I think B&W has a really good, innovative concept but a deeply flawed, clunky, implementation. I think that the critics loved the idea behind the game and didn't play it long enough for its flaws to come to the forefront.
      • Cannot speak for Back and White, but I got Dungeon Keeper... After 5 missions i tossed it into the garbage bin.
      • Re:Publicity god (Score:5, Informative)

        by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @04:12AM (#9937624) Journal
        You're certainly in the minority for having liked Black & White, although you're entitled to your opinion and it'd be a boring world if we all agreed.

        I think the critics' reaction to Black & White highlighted a lot of what was wrong with the video gaming press at the time (and perhaps continues to be today). When a huge new title came out, there was an overwhelming urge to be the first to have the full review. For the monthly gaming mags, this wasn't necessarily a problem if they had a full month to play the game before their next issue. However, if it arrived a few days before the deadline, then they had to hurry. With online gaming sites, beating the competitors to print can mean reviewing a game in a matter of hours (just look at the recent Doom 3 reviews and the difference in review quality between those who tried to get out first and those, like IGN, who held off for a couple of days).

        Black & White was good fun for the first few hours. I found it was only about 6 hours play that I started getting seriously annoyed with the game and that its flaws started to show up. Chances are, many of the first reviewers were stopping playing and starting writing before this point. I remember that several gaming magazines expressed regrets in later issues that they'd ranked the game so highly and said that if they'd waited longer, the reviews would have been more balanced.
      • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @09:28AM (#9938798) Journal
        All the reviews where glowing and then a few months late one by one the mags and websites had to admit they had forgotten to review the game as a game. Sure the critter was nice but you had very little control over it. Often you were punishing it or rewarding it for the wrong action as the interface blew chunks.

        The micro management of the villages was another gigantic screw up forcing you not to be a god but an accountant.

        The worst mistake was that I tried to be a nice player. Then a I planted a house wrong. It was on a slope with the door underground. So when I destroyed it it turned out I had just torched half the village as a hord of people that had been stuck inside streamed out.

        The mouse gestures was a nice idea but while it works in opera it sucked in the game. Apparently nobody told the devs how your mouse works. Namely that it only records certain points and even less if the computer is busy. Meaning a circle drawn to fast becomes a square.

        But peter has admitted the mistakes, he himself says that version 1 was not good. Now he wants us to shell out for number 2 again. Kinda like with the dungeon master game?

        No peter has some nice ideas but he needs to get some people in his team who actually play the games and have the power to tell him that it sucks.

        A good game has you battling the AI and the odds. Not the interface. If I wanted that kinda challenge I would just break my spine and control the game with my tongue and blinking. What next, a racing game where you can only steer left? Oh wait I forgot, nascar.

        • It's funny, everybody with a negative review of B&W complains about having to micromanage the villagers. But the thing is, the only thing you really have to micromanage is dropping structures.

          The little guys do have some of the AI that's included in your creature. They tend to learn what works best for satisfying their needs and do more of it. So if when they bitch for food it miraculously appears in their stores, guess what they do next time? Instead, plant a couple fields and let them do the work the
          • I agree its an open ended sim. And no id didnt suck at all, I found it fun the entire way through, even though there were very few worlds.

            And the interface was not shit- at least not to me. It worked well.

            The worst thing about the game was the ai of the pets were too shallow.

            I really don't know how so many people can think it sucked. Maybe they need to open their mind to new ways of gameplay. IMO these people are the ones who stifle innovation.
    • About Black and White, I liked the creature fights, although they suck as a method to win the game. I also liked how the rocks heated from fireballs and started glowing in the night. It was nice what you could do with rocks.

      On the strategy level, at least the way I played it, it sucked because it was very tedious to enlarge the scope of your village. Although I liked that you could make rain to grow trees, that gets tedious as well if its the only way to keep your village growing.

      Maybe I lack a teachers s
      • There's a nice trick with the rocks. You take lots of them, pile them up around the enemy creature, then throw a few fireballs at them.

        Due to some game defect, they'll continue glowing pretty much forever. The enemy creature will get stuck casting rain on itself all the time.

        This worked in single player, might work in multiplayer too, but I haven't tried.
    • Re:Publicity god (Score:4, Informative)

      by Wyrd01 ( 761346 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @09:55AM (#9938991)
      I think "Black and White" was a learning experience for the Lionhead crew. It was fun in an open ended sort of way, but they got some of the parts wrong, and some of those parts made the game more frustrating than fun.

      Now I believe "Black and White 2" will be a different story. A good review can be found here: x.php?article_id=5638 []

      Some of the finer points from the preview:

      "If you look after your people's basic needs, they will manage themselves. You are no longer an errand boy to your people - you are a powerful God. Now you easily have the time to affect your people's lives as a nation, not worry about where their next meal comes from. Though, if you want to mess around in the detail, helping farmers, you are still able to."
      "Unlike B&W1, the whole world exists all the time, so if you have been to one land you can revisit it at any time and play God. Your people may have progressed since you last visited them though..."
      "Some of the key features discussed in the game are about waging massive wars, sieges and battles, discovering and using new 'Epic Miracles'... There is research and players can create new forms of weaponry, from swords to bows to siege machines. Build and design unique defensive gates and walls. Control and marshal huge and varied armies. Create and control settlements that include housing, farming, and many other buildings, like fountains and lush gardens (if you're Good) or stocks and guillotines (if you're Evil). Multiple tools to help train and improve Creatures are on hand. As well as using sticks, whips, and feathers, players can create their own unique tools."
      "The thing I am most proud of is that the game 'makes the player feel like a God'. In Black & White 1, you never felt significant enough - you felt like an errand boy. In Black & White 2 you are a powerful God."

      Wyrd One

  • Multiple Saves (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xplenumx ( 703804 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @12:56AM (#9936815)
    Great job with the preview - it was well written and enjoyable to read. While the recent crop of RPGs are nothing short of phenomenal, when it comes to saving one's game, I feel they've actually taken a step back from the old school RPGs. Why is it, with the Xbox's hard drive, that both my wife and I are unable to each have our own character? Back in the day, my brother, sister and I were able to each save our own Zelda game - yet we can't do this with today's games. I want my wife and I to think of Fable as our game, not my game or her game. Please bring back the multiple save slots.
    • there are xbox rpgs besides KotOR? :P
      • Morrowind, which has two expansions.
      • Kotor was absolutely fantastic. I can hardly wait for the second one, and Jade Empire. Bioware is probably one of my favorite developers next to team ninja. Sudeki just recently came out and the reviews have been so-so, my friend can't put it down though. I'm definately going to pick it up after I finish with Doom 3, I just hope it's as good as I wanted it to be.
    • Maybe your memory cards are full? I haven't played ALL the rpgs out there, but a good many have multiple save slots. Not in the sense of zelda, but you start a new game, then when you save, you select the second slot instead of saving over the already started game... Sort of like on the pc, same deal. Which games havent allowed you to do that? If they do it and only allow one save slot, they have serious design issues.
      • and then accidentally save over your wifes saved game because it's 3am and your vision is blurry...

        Profiles aka Zelda is simply where it's at.
    • Re:Multiple Saves (Score:4, Informative)

      by wbm6k ( 593413 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @02:29PM (#9941636)
      I have no idea what you are complaining about.

      Everything on the gamecube or PS2 (prior to the PS2 hard drive) saves to a memory card, not any internal storage. So, if you want two saves (or ten), it is trivially easy to just switch out the memory card. Plus, most RPGs (from my own experience on the gamecube, Tales of Symphonia, Skies of Arcadia, the first Baldur's Gate) will allow you to make as many saves as you like, limited only by the size of the memory card.

      Moving on, the RPGs I've played on Xbox (Morrowind, Kotor) both allow you to make as many saves as you like, limited only by the space available on the hard drive (which is huge compared to the size of any single save).

      Are there particular games you are complaining about, or was that just an anti-Xbox/console troll?
      • Generally, with the XBox, the problem seems to be it's a bit difficult to know which games are yours.

        Saved Games:
        2hr 45 mins
        3hr 12 mins
        1hr 6 mins

        Which are mine, and which my wife's? Granted, it's not impossible to figure out, but it would be nicer if it was something like:

        Saved Games:
        MyName 2hr 45 mins
        MyName 3hr 12 mins
        WifesName 1hr 6 mins

  • Morrowind (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Flyboy Connor ( 741764 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @03:21AM (#9937459)
    When I read the reviews, I cannot help thinking Fable will be a LOT like Morrowind. Perhaps with a few extras, like the ability to marry and changing appearances, but also with a lot missing, like Morrowind's ability to create your own spells and a toolset to add to the game.

    Of course, Morrowind is already 2 years old, so we might expect some advancements. But on the whole, I get the feeling that Fable will be not as revolutionary as it is hyped up to be.

    • Re:Morrowind (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Ayaress ( 662020 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @01:19PM (#9940933) Journal
      I don't know. Morrowind didn't let you pursue an entire lifetime. After you finish the main quest, nothing you do really effects things anymore. You can kill half of Vvardenfel, and people still hole you in abject awe. Plus, there are only two RPGs on the Xbox that I consider worth anthing (Morrowind and KOTOR), so it doesn't have to be revolutionary, if you ask me. Just good enough for me to unplug the PS2 for a couple weeks.
    • Re:Morrowind (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Xaviar21 ( 790883 )
      I disagree. In Morrowind, you just didn't have -impact- on the world. I became the Lord Dragon, or whatever it was called of the imperial legions, and when I went to go see if the local guards reaction to me changed, was told that I "should be honored to serve in the Imperial Legion!." Then, a lowly little guard asked me to deliver a letter for him. From my impressions thus far, your actions and rank and status or whathaveyou will have far more impact. Just my thoughts... On the whole, I didn't think M
      • I fully agree with the assessment that Morrowind was flawed with respect to the PC's integration in the world. And it would be great if Fable would solve this problem. However, I predict that it won't. The first review gives a clear indication for that. It relates how a player murders a whole village, then buys the property cheap, and becomes megarich when people start moving in again. I ask you: how the hell is it possible to murder a whole village and then just quietly get away with buying the property? S
        • I don't know about that. I think that with Fable, they were more going for "Fun" than "Realistic." I mean, sure, you -could- have it horribly realistic, but then all those people who want to play as mercilessly evil (the larger crowd, if the buzz is believable) would be screwed, because then they couldn't really do -anything-. I think that the Fable team did think ahead in creating a situation like that. They want people to be able to be as evil as they want, and still have fun. I personally think that
  • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @04:03AM (#9937592) Journal
    I read a lot of "Peter Molyneux sucks/doesn't deliver/is nothing but a shameless self-publicist comments in this thread. I have to say that I disagree entirely.

    It is, I feel, beyond all doubt that Black & White was not a very good game. Indeed, it was a pretty damned awful game, with tedious mechanics, some serious flaws in the camera system and an underlying concept which turns out not to have been as much fun as it should have been. However, it *was* a serious attempt to be innovative and to do something different. How often do we get heartfelt pleas in the comments threads on slashdot for games designers to be more innovative? How often do we get rabid fanboys shouting "I only play Nintendo/Sony/Nintendo/X-Box/Nintendo/iD/Nintendo games because they're the only people who innovate"?

    This is why so many designers are reluctant to innovate. Innovation is an easy thing to get wrong. The over-riding impression I got while playing Black & White was that it had come very, very close to being an excellent game, but had somehow gone awry just inches short of the goal and detoured into the land of awfulness. I don't blame Molyneux for this; as I say, innovation is hard to get right.

    I hate it when people pre-judge a game before it appears and I'm a long way from being a Molyneux fanboy, but you have to admit that other than Black & White, the guy has one hell of track record. Look at Populous, Magic Carpet and Dungeon Master; all games which did things that nobody had done before and none of which were surefire commercial hits. Molyneux may have made mistakes, but nobody could reasonably accuse him of being a Derek Smart figure, built entirely on bullshit and never having delivered a decent product. You can't even accuse him of being a John Romero figure, with most of the notable successes being based on collaborations where many now feel the real talent was in the other partners. I say give the guy an break and go into fable with an open mind.
    • Well, first of all it is Dungeon Keeper not Dungeon Master. And Magic Carpet and Popolous were his only two good games. Dungeon Keeper promised basically the world, but delivered one boring mission after the other and basically at least up to the point I kicked the game away (that was basically mission 6 or 7) every mission was the same. Molineux is very good at raising expectations and constantly fails to deliver them. One thing why I was so dissapointed with DK was that it was supposed to be an RPG and
      • by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @04:27AM (#9937696) Journal
        Yeah, I realised my Keeper/Master error the moment I clicked submit. However, I strongly disagree that these were his only two good games. Syndicate was absolutely revolutionary and also had perhaps the most satisfying weapons of any game ever. Theme Park has created an entire spin-off genre and was a surprisingly competent business management sim which managed to marry ideas that had existed before (with some modifications) to a concept that actually made mainstream gamers want to play it. Oh, and Powermonger was pretty fun as well, although I've got to admit that it's been a loooooong time since I played it, so I don't remember it all that well.

        It sounds like you're just bitter because you didn't like Dungeon Keeper. I take your point that it felt at times like a standard RTS, but it did offer many features that were new to the genre. You couldn't control large numbers of units directly, but you could possess individual creatures and fight through their eyes. The experience system for the creatures can be seen as an early precursor of the heroes system we've seen in more recent titles such as Warcraft 3. In many ways, Dungeon Keeper was a long way ahead of its time.
        • I agree. The orginal Syndicate was amazing, and while the addons were a little tough for me at the time, I enjoyed them. The sequel, Syndicate wars, wasn't as enjoyable, but it did have some great elements. Dungeon Keeper was remarkably different from most of the cases at time. Not only was the focus on the Anti-Hero, but it had real style.
          • Well I dont think Dungeon Keeper was really that original. It was an out of the mill RTS game which was adverticed as RPG game and hyped to death. It hat two major flaws. a) It did not really introduce anythign new. You had the usual style of mining and fighting units, just moved to a dungeon. The fog of war was replaced by stone which you had to dig yourself through. b) The missions were boring as hell, first you had to build up your army and then enemies started to invade. Every mission basically was the
        • Actually syndicate was done by another designer not Molineux, same goes for the Racing game by Bullfrog. Molineux was the Designer for all the Popolous games, Magic Carpet, Dungeon Keeper and Black and White. His titles seem to be a hit and miss thing with more misses towards the current games.
    • maybe it's just due to the fact that the more his games are hyped beforehand the worse they end up being when released.

      it would be better for him to not generate shitload of hype around something that might actually suck balls no matter how innovative it was. that's how you end up with a crappy reputation, hype games with your name and then fail to deliver, it doesn't matter if you have 20 excellent games before that(that nobody knows you made them).
    • by imr ( 106517 ) on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @01:03PM (#9940767)
      i play video games since taito's space invaders and my opinion of peter molyneux comes from having played all his games since the first populous and having followed his carreer.
      That said you can't accuse him of being anyone else tham himself so your point about him not being Romero is weak (and btw you don't do Romero justice either, as well as pretty much everyone on the internet).
      The bad opinion about him comes from experience and it is a fact you have to accept. Peter Molyneux delivers incredibly good speeches, where he displays incredibly attractive videos of ingame footage, which are followed by a game which is in noways close to the speech or the video. It's all about hype.
      And his game interfaces suck most of the time, because they try to much to be innovative instead of being efficient. (sometimes it is the same for the gameplay like in b&w, but some other times, his gameplay is quite nice and novator, like in populous).

      Now that I said all that, I can make a parallel between carmack and romero. If they are being attacked as they are, it's because they impersonnate a very popular trend among video games:
      compagnies that delivers hype, burn a lot of cash and fail to deliver the basics of what makes a game PLAYABLE.
      Most of the time, there is nobody to blame but a faceless entity. "EA games suck. Atari licenses based games are really shitty! ... etc etc". With those 2, it is possible suddenly to have a "real person" to blame. That makes us, the crowd of disappointed gamers, rush for the killing. Sorry, we're only human.

      The real problem with living on hype is that once you have built a negative hype on yourself you just CAN'T ask people to "try your game with an open mind".
      • Now that I said all that, I can make a parallel between carmack and romero.
        should have been
        Now that I said all that, I can make a parallel between molyneux and romero.
        which should give more sense to my meaning since carmack isnt attacked in any way.

        Nice lapsus though, and one that gives some justice to romero and molyneux, who, after all, don't deserve such flak in a market where deer hunters games are at the top of the box-office.
    • How often do we get rabid fanboys shouting "I only play Nintendo/Sony/Nintendo/X-Box/Nintendo/iD/Nintendo games because they're the only people who innovate"?

      Oh-ho, that stung.

      But this kind of dismissive phrase isn't really accurate. Nintendo does innovate, to a much greater degree than most software companies. They are not the only innovators (I still don't regret buying my Dreamcast on release day) but Nintendo *does* innovate, a great deal, more than any other first-party, more than any other top-r
  • I don't buy very many titles as I don't have the extra cash. As far as Fable goes, I do like the design and the execution of what this title entails. Going from a youth to old age and having your actions dictate how those around you feel about you sounds like fun. As well there are all sorts of intricate systems in the game as well that, I feel, will give the game some replayability.

    I did buy Black and White too and I couldn't get past the 3rd world where you lose your creature. The game has some amazing
  • If it's a typical Molyneux game (typical as in, like the one other game he's produced in the last 5 years), then everyone will love it, give it 9/10 or perfect scores, and then 2 months later think the game blows and laugh at it.
  • Which has sparked some debate in the small "gay gamer" demographic...the problem with these "true to life" games is they start dabbling in some cultural / social areas that create controversy. It's already been decided that Gay Marriage will not be allowed, and that you cannot kill children in the game.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2004 @03:14PM (#9942055)
      Which has sparked some debate in the small "gay gamer" demographic...the problem with these "true to life" games is they start dabbling in some cultural / social areas that create controversy. It's already been decided that Gay Marriage will not be allowed, and that you cannot kill children in the game.

      As a member of the (admittedly small) "gaymer" demographic, I feel like I should respond.

      The real issue, I feel, is that the RPG genre is all about freedom to do what you want. It's one of Fable's biggest selling points ("Want to be evil, sure! Want to be good, no problem!"). But things like "sorry, no gay relationships" put up what are (IMHO) patently artifical restrictions. For me it can be incredibly frustrating to want to play a certain type of character and have the game prevent me from doing so. If you're going to make romance part of the gameplay, I should have the freedom to direct that romance in any direction I choose. Games like "The Sims" have shown that gender-neutral relationships can be done (and done well) in games.

      And this may sound sick, but I wouldn't mind if you could kill children in the game, as long as consequences existed for your actions. A previous game by the same author ("Black and White") involved child sacrifice, and I don't remember people being up in arms over it.

      If the game's tagline is "For Every Choice, A Consequence," then I should be able to make the choices I want, no?

      Just an AC's $.02

  • cuz this game gives me a major woodie.
  • populous is defined as a game in which you play a god, with the ability to sculpt terrain, buildings, or feelings of your minions and thus indirectly affecting the outcome of their actions in some way.

    populous - its like sim city 3. youre a god. your actions have indirect results.

    populous 23 etc - populous

    theme park - populous, except the consequences of your actions become even more obscure. what will happen if i put a hamburger stand here? perhaps in the time it would take to write my masters thesis i

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