When game design luminary Peter Molyneux left the Lionhead Studios development house he founded in 1997 last year, everyone knew that the Fable franchise he created would continue on without him. Now that Fable Legends has been announced, what does he think of the first Fable to be made without his involvement?
First, he’s not surprised that Legends runs on Unreal Engine 4. The studio began to get away from its own proprietary technology with Molyneux’s final Lionhead project, the Unreal Engine 3-powered Fable: The Journey. “It’s the tools, I suppose,” be began. “You have to have 20 people dedicated to your engine and your tools. That’s 20 people out of making the game. If you use Unreal, those 20 people you can use to make the game. So I’m not surprised that Unreal is their first choice. I think Journey actually looked better for it, compared to using proprietary tech.”
Molyneux is caught off-guard, however, by the fact that the next Fable isn’t Fable IV. “I am a bit surprised that they’re not carrying on the Fable story, because I think there was a great prize to be won there.”
"I hope there’s a chicken,” he says with a laugh.
I tell him it’s set 400 years before the first Fable, back when heroes were everywhere. “Well, that makes sense,” he says. “It was kind of an arc that was gone through, and Theresa was exposed. Presumably there’s no Theresa.”
I share that there might also not be a dog in Legends, as it was not shown in the initial demo and Lionhead chose not to comment on IGN’s inquiry about it when we spoke with them at Gamescom last week. Molyneux’s face turns noticeably disappointed. “Well, I hope there’s a chicken,” he says with a laugh. “At least there’s got to be a chicken, surely.”
He elaborates: “It’s a shame. They’re this emotional driver, this emotional engine. I mean, there was so much more that you could do with the dog, to focus on it being this thing that loved you, loved the player, and would sacrifice itself for you. I think we explored that in Fable II more than it was explored in Fable III, and you could go back to that. It’s a shame it’s not there. It doesn’t surprise me. It’s a huge amount of work, putting the dog in there.”
But you know, they may just be right.
But he wasn’t aiming to criticize, saying, “But you know, they may just be right. Let’s be clear about it. Doing an emotionally driven game is a very tough thing. We can probably count the games that have nailed that on less than one hand. It’s The Last of Us. It’s Half-Life 2. Maybe Fable touched on it. Doing that makes your life tough. Sometimes making your life tough means that you don’t get the quality in the rest of the stuff.”
I concluded by asking Molyneux what he would do if he were making a Fable game today. His answer, if you know Molyneux and his work, is not surprising: “Well, I’d double down on emotion. I’d triple down on emotion, actually.”
I would keep the dog. I would make the dog love you even more.
“I would keep the dog. I would make the dog love you even more, be less aggravating, more insightful. Because any damage that’s done to the dog hurts twice as much as any damage done to you. I’d probably experiment with death mechanics again. I want to mix the casual audience and the core audience together in there. That’s the sort of stuff. It’s easy to say those lines, but how does that transfer itself into actual gameplay? That’s much, much harder.”
Does he have any advice for his former colleagues at Lionhead?
“And the thing that they definitely should do is just focus on the quality. Make every sword swing, every magic spell look amazing. That’s advice that’s hard to take, because it’s an incredible skill to master. Finally, I would say it’s easy to give advice, but it’s very hard to implement. They’re good guys. I’m sure they’ll do a good job.”
Ryan McCaffrey is IGN’s Executive Editor of Previews and Xbox Guru-in-Chief. Follow him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan, on IGN, catch him on Podcast Unlocked, and drop-ship him Taylor Ham sandwiches from New Jersey whenever possible.
Source : ign[dot]com