Fable 3: 'Drunkenly seduce your best friend'
18th Oct 2010 | 11:45
Many games boast that they offer an environment in which you can "go anywhere, do anything". But they're lying.
Because unless their definition involves drunkenly seducing your best friend whilst dressed as a chicken, they ain't got nothing on Fable III.
Relationships have always been at the core of the Fable universe - whether vital plot-based meetings or giggle-worthy odd couplings.
Fable III - released on 360 at the end of this month - pushes this reliance on inter-personal moments to a whole new level, not least thanks to the inclusion of a new 'Touch' mechanic. Inspired by ICO, it allows players to grab hold of NPCs - and each other - and get closer than ever before.
Oh, and there's chicken suits. Did we mention the chicken suits?
Here, Lionhead design chief Josh Atkins reveals all...
How has the new touch mechanic affected the relationships within the Fable world?
We spend a lot of time thinking about how to garner an emotional reaction from our players. For example, often we use humour as a method to engage the player and make them care more about what's happening on screen. We used a similar process of thinking when it comes to the idea of our touch mechanics.
In the previous versions of Fable you could express yourself to the people of Albion in a limited way. With the addition of the touch mechanic you can now walk up to a villager and do something like shake their hand or give them a hug and while it is simple that little addition does make you care more about that character in the game.
Now, because this is Fable you could also grab that villager and fart on their head - which might also make you feel something albeit a different emotion then if you hug them.
Is there anything you could do in Fable II in terms of relationships you've removed this time around. If so, why?
There isn't anything we have explicitly removed from the relationships in Fable 3. We have worked hard to clarify the system so we've added several things to try and make the experience more satisfying to our players. For example, we have defined the relationships the player has with any villager in the game so when you walk up to a character you'll know exactly how that character feels about you and if they consider you're a friend, lover, enemy...etc.
On top of that we've added a system that allows any villager in the game to give you a quest asking you to do them a favour. These simple little quests also help raise the player's interest and will hopefully make the villagers feel more grounded and 'real.'
How important is the concept of marriage in the Fable III world?
The fact that the player can get married in Fable III is something we treat with a lot of pride and we try to ensure that there is a lot of fun that comes from the feature. In Fable III we have tried to increase the meaning of marriage by being a game that allows two players to get married and have a family together.
The reason we included this feature is really twofold. First, we had a lot of players tell us that Fable II was one of the first games that they had ever played with their partners and we really wanted to ensure those players could experience Fable III in a really unique way. However the main reason we included the feature that allowed two players to get married is because it creates a strong and emotional bound between those players.
So many games have great co-op but we're trying to make you care just a little bit more. If a monster strikes your co-op buddy that's one thing but if they strike your wife...well that monster is going to get it.
There's a surprising amount of romance and 'pleasantness' in the Fable world - if you wish there to be, of course. Do you think this will be a nice 'change of pace' for gamers surrounded by explosive blockbusters such as Halo: Reach and COD: Black Ops?
I hope the amount of romance or pleasantness in Fable is a nice change of pace of gamers. So many games only capitalise on the emotions associated with adrenaline-filled action experience - and while I love those experiences we are trying to do something different.
We want players to laugh on a regular basis and we want them to feel something endearing when they hug their children in Fable. It is those moments combined with accessible and fun combat that are two of the key ingredients of Fable since Fable 1.
Fable's relationships are as liberal as you want them to be. Do you have any political message you're trying to convey with this freedom?
It is important that Fable allows a user to express themselves in number of ways including the kinds of relationships they have both with other players as well as Albion villagers. We do not often talk about political messages when thinking about a given feature for the game - but we do love working on game that affords the opportunity for a bit of political discourse.
I was continually snubbed by would-be wives in Fable II because I wouldn't buy rings that were expensive enough. Will my tight-fistedness again be punished by picky women in Fable III?
Well much like real life, your spouse's reaction to you and your behaviour is a combination of how you behave, the choices you make combined with the kind of person you marry. Perhaps you need to marry a homeless person as they might be more likely to simply appreciate the roof you've put over their head.
So, having a baby with a friend over Xbox Live. It's a bit weird, no?
I would honestly have to say that depends on the friend and how you feel about them. If your Fable hero gets drunk and then you end up having a special moment with your best friend, it's possible it could lead to awkward morning the next day.
Creating children over Live. Marrying and then murdering your spouse. Cross dressing. Having homosexual affairs. What will The Daily Mail make of it all?
Hopefully the Daily Mail will see this game as lovely tale of romance, political intrigue and a story of trying to make the world a better place. Where you can also have sex with your friends or murder your spouse - all while wearing a giant chicken suit... But, hey it is all about self-expression!
How have you dealt with the more 'intimate' acts of lovers without getting... yucky... this time around? What do you make of other games' attempts to deal with sex - not least God Of War's 'rocking bed post'?
We tend to take a mature approach when it comes to the depiction of the intimate acts between two lovers. We never, ever resort to sophomoric humour, sensual music soundtracks or the addition of random chicken sounds during those 'special moments'.
Quite right too. What's the most messed-up life of relationships you've achieved in Fable III?
It is difficult to describe without making me sound disturbed. While we were iterating on the game I ended up marrying several homeless women who had alcohol problems. At one point two of them seemed to be on the bad end of a particularly adventurous night and both were vomiting quite regularly. So I decided to introduce them to each other which then resulted in a drunk and vomit-filled argument.
In its own way - and if you so choose - would you say Fable III is the most debauched game on the market?
The truly wonderful thing about Fable is that the game is what you make of it. If you want to be the debauched King with a bunch wives, who goes out drinking when your kingdom is crumbling and then farts on the head of all your subject...well so be it. It is all about choices and consequences after all.