Peter Molyneux on Fable II: “there were huge design flaws.” – Console news

The game design legend ripped into his own RPG at Develop, while also introducing his new one.

Say what you like about Peter Molyneux, the veteran British games designer is unsparingly honest about his mistakes. In his keynote at the Develop conference yesterday, he admitted that his epic RPG sequel Fable II, “had some terribly messy things about it”:

“As we always do in development, we rushed at the end. And you have this terrible phase, which we all know, where the world looks this beautiful with this many game features, and it slowly transitions into something less beautiful with less gameplay features, because you’ve got so many bugs. And on Fable II at one point we had about 67,000 bugs. The Microsoft test team rated us ‘super black’. No-one had even been black before – they’d had red and orange and green. But we were super black and it was considered utterly impossible for anyone to come out of that. And that’s why we had to scale down.

But he wasn’t finished there. “And there were also huge design flaws in Fable II – we had a lot of game features that people just quite frankly didn’t use, or just used once. A great example of that was getting married. It didn’t mean anything, it didn’t add anything to the game, it was just an excuse to have sex; people wanted to find out whether or not sex in Fable was going to be another Hot Coffee. That was a huge problem. There was this piece of research that came out which basically said, more than 50% of the people who played fable only used 60% of the game features. So 40% of the content in Fable II people didn’t use.”

Molyeneux was at the event to run through a new demo of Fable III. Here, you play the son (or daughter) of the hero from Fable II, and must now usurp your evil brother for control of the kingdom of Albion. We’ll run a proper preview soon, but things look very promising with a revised combat system (your weapons morph into new variations depending on your individual combat style), and a new visualised inventory: menus and sub-menus have been completely abandoned, in favour of explorable areas in which your items, clothing and power-ups are stored on screen. In the demo, we saw a vast cavern complex, and an icy mountainous forest area, both of which offered up a huge vista of navigable terrain. Certainly, whatever lessons Lionhead have learned from Fable II, they’re not cranking down on the epic-o-meter. That Microsoft test team had better brace itself.

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Keith Stuart

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