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Interviews

Fable III

Peter Molyneux shines a light on the return to Albion...

Some love him for his fiery, rapacious ambition - and the sheer scale of his aspirations. Some denounce him for the exact same reasons.

But most with any interest in video games will agree that this would be a far more tedious industry without Peter Molyneux.

Not to mention a stationary one; creator of Populous, Black & White and Fable, he's propelled software design forward - and influenced more great games than many of us have played in our lifetimes. And he shows no signs of stopping.

Despite his well-documented keenness to stretch beyond the realms of possibility - and aching inability to admit defeat in doing so - he is still very much a legend, and one with an immense talent.

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Molyneux pledges that his latest opus, Fable III, really is a step change - both for the series itself and the RPG genre.

A new 'Touch' mechanic (deftly lifted from ICO) is front and centre, but other surprising flecks - the lack of a power bar, the outright removal of Fable II's experience and expression systems - make Fable III one of the year's most intriguing prospects.

We caught up with the man himself to ask him all about the title - and a little game called Milo & Kate...

Why make such bold changes to the setup of Fable II - which was a very successful title critically?
We could make just another Fable with combat, with a very similar story - we could literally replicate what we did in Fable II. But I think we like some of the surprises we offered in Fable II - and would like people to be surprised again.

We've concentrated our changes in three big areas. The first area is story - I think stories [in modern games] are a little bit formulaic. The second one is to do with what you think Fable is - is it an RPG game or an action adventure game? Looking at things like experience and health bars, should they stay there?

The last thing is to give people new mechanics and new things that they've never seen before in games to play around with.

What exactly has changed with the story?
Most computer game stories - including Fable and Fable II - are the same. They start off with you very powerless.

Over the course of the game you build up your power, then there's some terrible bad guy - in Fable I he was called Jack of Blades, in Fable II he was called Lucian and Fable III the bad guy is called Logan. You build up your power and you have some big final battle... you usually kill the bad guy, end of game.

Well this time in Fable III the bad guy is the King of Albion. He rules Albion, and the way he's ruling is awful. There are dungeons full of prisoners there are people starving in the streets, he's tearing down beautiful forests of Albion and replacing them with industry - he's a real tyrant and your job as a hero is to build up support so you can have a revolution.

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In that revolution you can overthrow that evil tyrant. We thought: Why don't we make that the halfway point in the game? If halfway through this game you defeat the bad guy, and the rest of the game lets you rule Albion?

Why not allow you to decide what's right and wrong for the whole of the kingdom? Why don't you decide where you spend the money in the treasury? And that is pretty unique, I don't think I've seen or played that in many games before.

You mention the debate over whether Fable III is an RPG...
Now, RPGs have experience. In Fable III we don't have experience anymore - we have this new thing called followers. The idea is whatever you do in the world either gains you followers or loses you followers. If you complete quests that is a great way to gain followers.

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