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Molyneux Slips Additional Details on Fable II 55

Via Xbox 360 Fanboy, and in the grand tradition of Peter Molyneux's history of saying crazy-awesome things in interviews, comes some fascinating revelations about Fable 2 and past games. Mr. Molyneux's tradition of honesty continues, with up-front admissions of problems with Black and White 2 and a few hints about what we'll be seeing in his upcoming fantasy game. "One of the tiny decisions that we made in Black and White 2 was to use Black and White 1 as the foundation stone for all the code for Black and White 2, and what we found was you had this massive amount of code and you were putting an even more massive amount of code on top, and underneath it was this quite shaky foundation stone, and that meant we had to rewrite quite a lot of stuff. And then it came down that the original plan for Black and White 2 - we thought we had it on time, but we didn't, we ran out of money to produce really - was that it was gonna be twenty-five lands, I think, fifteen to twenty-five lands, the creatures' intelligence could have been much more, we had a real plan to stretch the features out so that you didn't get them all by land, you know, third land I think it was, stretch those features out, there was an awful lot more about the RTSy side of the game, an awful more about the army side."
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Molyneux Slips Additional Details on Fable II

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  • Even though I love Molyeux games, I have grown extremely skeptical about the implementation of Dogs in the game play of Fable II. Have you ever seen a game where a dog sidekick added to the experience. I also am somewhat up in the air about having my emotional connection to dogs manipulated by game play to see dogs hurt and injured to kick an emotion. I don't know why, but the death of a character is a story arc, but watching dogs get hurt seems to be emotionaly manipulative.

    Then again, we'll see how the
    • One word: Dogmeat
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by spun ( 1352 )

      Have you ever seen a game where a dog sidekick added to the experience

      Nethack. Teaching your dog to steal from shops, the fear of seeing them disappear through a trap door, the danger of them going feral, I think it added a lot to that game.

      I agree about seeing animals get hurt, why is that more heart-wrenching than seeing people get hurt? Is it because animals are innocent? Because they are relatively helpless? I don't know, but I've always felt that way.

      • I've always felt that way too. I do think it's because they're innocent. I don't believe an animal has the mental capacity to really distinguish right and wrong (especially not in relation to our laws.) I also feel bad when animals get hurt because they can't understand what's happening to them. They just know it's painful.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DrSkwid ( 118965 )
          So you'll be a vegan then, or does your capacity to empathise finish at your plate ?

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by spun ( 1352 )
            I can empathize with animals. For instance, there's this cow that's feeling particularly delicious today. Hehe. I tried the whole vegan thing for a year, man, I couldn't hack it. Oh God! The tofu nightmares are coming back... Get thee behind me, Seitan!
            • Actually, after eating out in lots of asian places recently, I figured out that it's possible to make tofu really, really delicious. Tofu FTW!
              • by spun ( 1352 )
                Oh of course it's possible to make tofu delicious. I's possible to make nearly anything delicious if you deep fry it and slather it with tasty sauce. Oh man, there's this Thai place in San Francisco near SF General that makes the most delicious deep fried tofu with peanut sauce. That's the kind of tofu I like.
              • by mink ( 266117 )
                The problem IMO is no one thinks about how to prepare it best so they make unappetizing muck with it.
                For cooking it whole you need to press out the excess water and then marinate it.
                It works well cut up and fried or stewed (again it will not add much flavor so you want a flavorful soup like hot and sour).
                Get the soft style and fry it up like scrambled eggs with some seasonings.

                I eat meat and I think tofu can be a great thing to include in meals. Just make it tasty.

            • by DrSkwid ( 118965 )
              Never mind, I'm sure you can use your weak mind for something else.
              • by spun ( 1352 )
                I'm a bad, bad man. Honestly, I really respect anyone who is a vegetarian out of principle. I know how bad the meat industry is. Bad for the planet, bad for people, bad for animals. And I mean really bad for animals, like the lowest depths of hell type of torment and suffering.

                I'm not totally weak minded. I quit smoking. Honestly, quitting meat for the year that I did was harder. Way harder. With cigarettes, you just avoid them and the situations where you used to smoke. You can't do that with meat, it's ev
                • by DrSkwid ( 118965 )
                  I've got fallen comrades like you. It would have been unimaginable to me 10 years ago that it turned out I couldn't trust them after all.
                  In all our decadence people die.
          • I empathize with vegetables a lot more, ever since brother Maynard opened my ears to the cries of the carrots. I will not participate in their holocaust.
          • No, I won't be a vegan but I do feel bad for all the animals slaughtered for food. However, I understand it, and I do like meat. Animals need to be treated with respect and if killed for food, killed in a humanitarian manner.

            • by DrSkwid ( 118965 )
              But they aren't. So you don't like it but you do it anyway. You're drugged.
              • Ahh, so you're one of them. The old black-and-white way of thinking.

                No, I don't like it, and I still eat meat. But I would like animals to be treated better. Is that any different from so many other issues? I don't like pollution, but I use computers with mercury in them, that consume electricity, and I think global warming is a serious problem but drive to work. Sometimes I take airplanes across the country *gasp*. Should I become a homeless bum to save the environment? Isn't there an alternati
                • by DrSkwid ( 118965 )
                  It's called "direct action". The punishment metered out by the state should tell you how successful a strategy it. That's why speech is free.
      • It's because they're adorable. Nobody ever cries when a star-nosed mole [google.com] gets shoveled, or a possum [byu.edu] gets run over.
        • by spun ( 1352 )
          Star nosed moles are so ugly they've wrapped right back around into cute. Kinda like pug dogs. Now, naked mole rats [wikimedia.org] took a wrong turn after they hit ugly and veered off into monstrously hideous instead of wrapping back to cute. Most people would breath a sigh of relief knowing a naked mole rat got whacked.
    • Not dogs per se, but I have seen many games where silent, animal companions have added significantly to the experience. Shadow of the Colossus springs to mind as one of the best examples.
    • the cujo patch to quake one was certainly a good dog sidekick
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by adisakp ( 705706 )
      I saw the "Dog" presentation at GDC. It was probably one of the most impressive demonstrations of a companion system I've ever seen in a game and it was in a very rough pre-alpha state at the time.
    • Have you ever seen a game where a dog sidekick added to the experience.

      Shinobi: Shadow Dancer.

      Ninja dog. Hells yeah.
    • by nuigi ( 924821 )
      The dog in Secret of Evermore worked pretty well. It changes form in the different worlds; my favorite is Robo-Dog of course.
    • There's a dog sidekick that's playable in MDK 2. A six-armed pistol-packing dog no less.
    • by soupd ( 1099379 )
      I used to be a real fan of Molyneux and Bullfrog - back in the Amiga/Atari ST days of Populous, Powermonger and Syndicate but the uber-hyped Black & White and it's lacklustre follow-up have just engendered an inate dread of any new Molyneux game. Better this time? Uh-huh.. lessons learned? Uh-huh.. The games always sound incredible but always seem with have some humungous gameplay deficiency or the game shipped before it was really finished/fleshed out (ignoring the damn bugs). There no doubt Molyneux
    • by mog007 ( 677810 )
      Fallout had a bad ass dog companion.

      And Fallout 2 had TWO of them.
    • by mink ( 266117 )
      Hewie in Haunting Ground (PS2 survival horror)that you can, to a limited extent, train to do things.

  • by ScotchForBreakfast ( 1060672 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @12:33PM (#19239213)
    Peter's enthusiasm is always nice, but does anyone put a lot of weight into what he says before a game is released?

    His games are usually good, but never nearly as revolutionary as he talks about before they're released. The innovations he tries end up being around the edges of the game and the core game often is very... typical.
    • by Control Group ( 105494 ) * on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @12:58PM (#19239947) Homepage
      No. And if they do, they shouldn't.

      I mean, come on - what did he actually say in that interview? It's obvious he's excited, and that's neat and all, but he didn't tell us anything.

      Except that death is going to be involved some how, some way. Maybe. But he can't tell you anything about how, or why it might be cool. But it'll be better. Or maybe just different. Or maybe not, but it's something he's thought about a lot.

      And there'll be one-button fighting. If it works out well when people test it. If they have people test it. But that's risky.

      Also there's this other thing that's super-duper awesome, but he can't tell you anything about it. Well, OK, he can. It's one word. But he can't tell you what that word is. But it's awesome.

      I mean, I can respect the fact that you don't want to let the cat out of the bag prematurely when you're making a game and trying to innovate. And given his history, it's not surprising if Molyneux is trying to be far more careful than he's inclined to be about letting information out. But if that's your goal, then just say there isn't anything you can say except you're working on things that you hope will be innovative and fun.

      It's a much shorter interview, I admit. But, brevity and wit and all that.
      • From your post I got the impression that the cat is high on crack, and the bag is large enough to fit a 747. That does sound like Molyneux though.
    • Not really. His ideas are great for what they are and have probably served as the catalyst for many other ideas in this industry. However, as with everything else, coming up with a new idea and implementing it are two entirely different things. Like you I usually enjoy his games, but I think a lot of that is because I play them as the game that they turn out to be, not as what I was hoping they would turn out to be.
    • by Tarison ( 600538 )
      It's probably worth stating that this was an interview by one of the members of the Lionhead community forums (fel64), who happens to run the fansite, Loinhead. Peter and Dene also did interviews for one of the 'The Movies' based podcast/radio shows (rjb2112/Roger). Details about them both here [lionhead.com]. The latter (TMOA interview) was probably a little more candid, in that the interview wasn't really as Fable-focused as the Loinhead one was.
  • by Control Group ( 105494 ) * on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @12:46PM (#19239587) Homepage
    Molyneux's history of saying crazy-awesome things in interviews

    You know, removing one word from that phrase would transform it into an accurate representation of reality.

    All right, technically one hyphen followed by one word.
  • "So I haven't talked about death, there's another thing which I haven't talked at all about which is another word that you're gonna hear me use - which I'm not gonna talk about - it's another big thing."

    That about sums it up...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Shinmizu ( 725298 )
      That word is "it." Yes, that's right, Fable II will have segways, a revolution in transportation.
  • Perfect term... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nick_davison ( 217681 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @02:28PM (#19241967)

    In the grand tradition of Peter Molyneux's history of saying crazy-awesome things in interviews... his upcoming fantasy game.
    I think the accuracy may have been unintentional there. Peter makes awesome fantasy games. Sometimes they are set in the past, sometimes the future, sometimes, fantasy worlds, sometimes sci-fi settings. Unfortunately, what he tends to describe to the press, pre-release, are always "fantasy games" - fantasies of what the game could be.

    It's a shame in some ways because each of his games have actually been amazing, particularly in terms of innovation, in their own right. They just always fall short of the fantasies he had in his head and described to the press and so always get judged accordingly. It's like a high jumper setting the bar at a mile in to the sky then jumping twice as high as the previous world record - everyone leaves disappointed that he failed to reach the bar he set for himself rather than impressed by what was still a great jump.
    • It's a shame in some ways because each of his games have actually been amazing

      Have you and I been playing the same games? Are we talking about the same Peter Molyneux? I found Black & White to be a tedious and frustrating take on the RTS genre. The giant animal pets were a nifty concept, but they just weren't backed up by good gameplay, there was far too much micromanagement and not nearly enough fun. I found Fable to be a boring, linear, uninspired take on the RPG genre. The thought of having your character's appearance change over time was a nifty concept, but it just was

      • Amazing isn't necessarily the same as "fun" ;)

        Populous amazed for its time - and was actually a huge amount of fun for the era.

        Syndicate - a truly fun strategy based RTS before anyone coined the term RTS.

        Magic Carpet - Any game, especially considering how long ago it was, that can render stereograms in real time to give genuine 3D (even if it sucks in practice) will manage to amaze me.

        Dungeon Keeper - Regularly amazed with moments of humor and turning the dungeon crawl on its head.

        Black And White - Admitted
  • Not optismistic. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2007 @04:36PM (#19244151)
    I'm not expecting much from Fable 2. Molyneux obviously has a history of promising too much and then not delivering on most of it. I'm convinced he'd like to do everything he describes the problem is that ultimately most of it just isn't feasible given a reasonable budget and schedule. Ultimately his games suffer from feature creep.

    The first Fable is a good example of it. The game is actually quite decent. It's entertaining. However, the story is extremely simplistic. In general the game is much more simple than Molyneux would imply. It's got many of the features he originally promised; the lead character's visual appearance changes based on his alignment, he can get married, his actions sort of have an impact on the world and he ages. However, the implementation for all these features is severely lacking.

    Aging doesn't really affect anything because the developers clearly didn't have the nerve to profoundly affect the main character in any way. It's fairly easy to move alignment back and forth between good and evil because the scripting for that aspect is so simplistic. It renders alignment meaningless. NPC interactions leading to marriage are even more superficial. With the necessary items a player can pretty much go from being a stranger to a spouse within a minute. Changes to the world consist of NPC responses to the character. For all the supposed character development the fact that I couldn't really customize the look of my own character was a disappointment. And on top of all that the storyline is very linear and uninspired.

    It almost feels like they spent too much time brainstorming about what they could do and not enough time actually implementing those features. Many of the features in the first Fable feel like they were slapped on at the last minute just so they could live up to some of the promises. Graphics aside I can think of quite a few Gameboy Advance games with more depth than Fable.

    The team would have been better served coming up with a handful of ideas and sticking to those insuring a higher level of refinement. As I've mentioned, despite those shortcomings the game was fun. Well, specifically, I found the fighting to be fun. And I thought the game had potential. Fable 2 may address many of these issues, but given Molyneux's record I'm not optimistic.
  • Surprisingly no Molyneux bashers today, weird!

    Peter definately does hype his stuff up and yeah they never are as good as he claims, that being said Fable is quite a good game and Black and white was certainly new and innovative fun for at least 8hours :/

    I'm looking forward to Fable 2, although I must admit I couldn't care less about the dog sidekick or the terrible bland graphics from the demo but I'll still play the game, it'll hopefully be as good as Fable 1.

    Also, Peter made Syndicate and really, that des
  • I seem to recall both of Peter's Black and White games being riddled with bugs upon release to the stores.

    Perhaps Peter should spend a bit more time debugging his code rather than sharing his "wisdom" with us.

  • I hope this is not considered off-topic, but IMHO Molyneux missed a huge opportunity and perhaps they could put it right...

    Lionhead's game 'The Movies' is essentially two things:
    - a ho-hum management game based on running a movie studio
    - an extremely powerful machinima generator

    When The Movies was released, it was released as a management game -- you have to play for a couple of hours to get to the machinima maker. Most people weren't interested; the game was a flop, and contributed to LH being bou
    • If Apple owned it, I'm sure they'd have released it already, calling it "your movie studio in a box" etc.
      And then it wouldn't just be a failure, it'd be a failure that no one played.

The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.