Peter Molyneux says he's terrified Fable-series fans will balk at radical changes to Fable 3, changes he'll apparently reveal this week at Microsoft's Xbox-oriented X10 gaming event.
Chatting with Game Reactor at Game Jam in Copenhagen last week, Molyneux confirmed he'd be making some announcements about Fable 3 at X10.
"Yeah, we're making some announcements about Fable 3, and there's some...wow, there's just some very, very big things happening in Fable," said Molyneux. "Bigger than you think. And it's going to really upset people."
The designer of games like Populous, Magic Carpet, Syndicate, and more recently Black & White and Fable 2 (PCW Score: 100%) admitted that he's terrified the design direction could alienate fans.
"I'm really scared that when I go out and tell people what it is, they're going to get super pissed off," said Molyneux. "They really are. But it's the right thing to do man, I'm sure it's the right thing to do."
Is it Natal-related? Is Fable 3 losing the gamepad entirely? Will the game require you work the interface (as it reciprocally 'works' you) with your body instead of thumb-nubs and buttons?
Whatever it is, I hope it's wild, because what we know about Fable 3's plot so far isn't. In Fable 2 your goal was to become the ruler of Albion, and in Fable 3, your goal is...to become the ruler of Albion. On paper, anyway. If that's the journey, okay, but Fable 3 needs something visionary like a brilliantly executed interface overhaul to upend the way you move from A to Z.
If anyone can do it, Molyneux can. The guy gets games, despite over-designing a few problematic ones. Check out his advice to fledgling developers, which dovetails with his approach in Fable 2.
It took me years and years and years of stupid mistakes to realize one thing simple thing is, making something complex doesn't make something good. As I used to keep adding game feature after game feature after game feature, without thinking about these fundamental things, every feature you add to a game, a player has to understand... Every time you add one level of complexity, each one of those has to be explained and has to be meted out to the player. So keep things simple and pure, and just, you know, take one mechanic and just try and stretch it and expand it and surprise people with one simple mechanic. If you can do that, you're probably more likely to get something which is fundamentally good.
Gaming's coming wave boils down to one word: Consequentialism. How do your choices reverberate? What's the backwash of a given decision (or a chain of them)? How might a game hold you accountable without jeopardizing the bits that make it fun? Is being entertaining always the end goal anyway, if you can craft an experience with the gravity and emotional power of a book like The Road or a film like There Will Be Blood?
I'd rather see more guys like Molyneux fail magnificently, pushing around stuff like that, than commercial copy-from-template mindsets that succeed--if that's even the proper term--incrementally.
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