Fable II's finished, and if you don't like it then Peter Molyneux has "failed as a game designer", the very candid developer told us in our recent London sit down.
Like all of his creations, admits the Lionhead boss, his first game of the generation has its share of flaws (which he's not shy on discussing below), but it's also his proudest creation to date - something he seems to have taken to heart quite significantly.
Here's what the game designer had to say when we sat down to talk all things Fable, and what he's moving on to now it's in the can...
Fable II is finally finished. How does that feel?
Molyneux: You know the funny thing is it's never really finished because, for me, I'm just about to go from here tomorrow morning at 7am to the airport and I fly to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Redmond, Paris, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney, Wellington and back for home. So I'm... just talking about it is quite terrifying!
But I sit back and I look at Fable 2 - and I've played it a hundred times - and I'm just incredibly proud this time. I'm proud of what we've achieved and how much uniqueness is in there, and I'm proud of the fact that we're not... [pause]. I haven't made the mistakes I made in Fable 1 and tried to shove all the game features into the game, just because they were game features, and not even thought about pacing. You know, I'm immensely proud of what we've done. The story is incredible.
So have you fulfilled your original vision?
Molyneux: I think so, yeah. I think you can measure me by this game, I'd say that. If you don't find Fable 2 cool then I shouldn't be a designer any more, I don't think.
It's interesting you mention mistakes it Fable 1, because overall Fable 1 was thought of as a great game...
Molyneux:It wasn't a great game, it was a flawed game.
Well a lot of the criticism came from the final game not matching what you were promising...
Molyneux: Exactly, that's exactly right. I didn't do this because I'm some PR guru, I did this because when I talk to you I'm a kid showing off my toys at Christmas, that's who I am. I just can't help myself getting excited and saying, 'you've got this and this and this.' And I talked to you lot and I put this game up here [raises hand], and when you looked at it, it was actually there [lowers hand].
So it came down from where it actually was, so of course what are you going to write? 'I thought it was so much more,' that's what you're going to write. Now on Fable 2, I've pitched the game here [raises hand again] but I think the game's up here [raises hand higher]. So when you write about it, I hope you're going to say, 'this is a lot more than what I expected.' That's what my secret plan is.
Did you make a conscious decision not to over-sell the sequel?
Molyneux: Absolutely. I wrote this letter and I really meant that. If you look, there was Peter Molyneux talking to the press before that letter and after that, so everything in that letter I meant. And I said, 'Look, I'm sorry. I oversold it, I got too excited. I realise that I spoke about features before they were in the game.'
And I really meant what I said, so everything in Fable 2... firstly I've only spoken about the stuff I could demonstrate. I've never talked about the story, I've never talked about how it all links together. So when you actually play the game, you actually see what I mean by the dog and the combat and the simulation and stuff like that. I want you to come away and say, 'Why didn't he tell me about this?!' because it's really exciting, because that is so much cooler. I think it was just me not thinking properly in Fable 1. I think I had a duty to prove to the world that, you know, I could be responsible.