IncGamers Network

IGTV: Peter Molyneux Interview

At this year’s X10 event, IncGamers managed to track down game journalists’ holy grail, Peter Molyneux, in the hope that the Lionhead man might give us one of his famous accidental reveals. So do you want to know the Project Natal launch line-up, the storyline to Fable IV and when we can expect to see a Syndicate reboot? Well, you’ve come to the wrong place because he didn’t tell us any of those things. For some new Fable III info and an intriguing snippet about Milo, though, read on. The press release promises an unprecedented action-adventure experience. What can you tell us now about Fable III?

Peter Molyneux: It’s all about power, man. As a game designer I want you to feel powerful. I always ask myself – how can I make you feel powerful? And yeah, it’s about fighting, and weapons, and combat; we’ve got that in spades. But maybe I can use the story to make you feel powerful. So here’s the big thing in Fable III: part of the game is about building up people to believe in you to take on this tyrannical leader and overthrow him, and then the other part of the game is what it feels like to be king or queen. What would your kingdom be like, man? Would it be a place where no-one starved and everyone was happy? You’d find, perhaps, that with power comes great responsibility. So you mix all that with all the stuff that you’ve seen in Fable before, some new mechanics like the ability to touch, the ability to craft; it’s simpler, more accessible than ever before. More dramatic. It’s certainly different to what you thought Fable was.

Talking about the new mechanics and new technology, what’s changed? Do you expect a strong reaction? What’s your most controversial change?

PM: I think the biggest change… I was inspired by one single thing. It kept rolling over in my mind. Half the people who played Fable II only used half of the features of the game. I thought, “That’s just wrong, man!” So when we came to think about things like health bars, experience, levelling up, we thought “It’s not working properly. People don’t really understand it. Let’s just throw health bars away, redefine what experience is, put levelling up into the playing of the game.” Which are fundamental cornerstones of the RPG genre, and that might upset people, but actually, when you get your hands on it and feel it, you can feel how accessible that is.


You’ve talked about getting hands-on, but what about hands-off? Talk to me about Project Natal. Will it be used in the game? How do you see the potential for it?

PM: As someone who is a designer and someone who’s not very diplomatic, I would love to tell you absolutely everything I can about Project Natal, but obviously I have to be diplomatic. I would say Fable III is a controller-based game for sure. As a designer I love Natal; I love the uniqueness and the freshness that it brings to gaming experiences, and as a designer I would love some of that freshness in something like Fable – but maybe not require you to have it.

How do you see Project Natal changing gaming, though? What’s the potential for this?

PM: Again, purely as a designer, it makes the industry and designers really think differently about experiences. And that’s what you have, you know. When you have a new invention it changes a lot of things, and that’s the greatest thing about something like Natal. With me as a designer, it forces me not to just make another action-adventure game, or another role-playing game. It forces me to think about making completely new experiences.{PAGE TITLE=Peter Molyneux Interview Page 2}

I interviewed Charlie Brooker and he talked about Milo, and he worried that it might make older men feel like a paedophile. What do you say to that?

PM: [Grins] Well, I think it says more about Charlie Brooker than it does about Milo! I mean, here’s the thing: I was very, very tight about what was actually being said about Milo and not being said about Milo. I think it did its job. It made people look around and say “How could you make a game out of a character like Milo?” And I think that question is still out there; I’m just not allowed to answer it. I might hint… Milo is a character in a bigger and more dramatic story that we’re telling.

Fable III, very quickly. How has the game lore changed? Are we still in the same universe?

PM: It’s very important to me that when you play Fable III, you’re still in Albion, and I’ll tell you what we’re really inspired by – Albion is actually England. That’s the way we think about it. If you look at how it’s changed, it started off and we moved it 500 years forward. Fable III is 50 years on – but it’s a crucial 50 years in Albion’s time. It’s the start of the industrial revolution, when suddenly those green leafy fields have been replaced in a lot of cases by factories, and industry, and mines, and pits, and you may look at the land and think “God, this is terrible! Where’s that beautiful place gone?” You’ve still got all the beauty of Albion, of course, but you’ve now got industry being spread out, and that’s really interesting. Coupled with that is that we are introducing a whole new continent, and that continent is called Arora. You can think of that continent just like when America was discovered – suddenly, the map of the world got a lot bigger, and so there was this whole new continent which will be there, which you will be going to and visiting. It’s very different, and very…

Different races?

PM: Everything’s different.

Everything’s different. Environments, and…?

PM: Yeah.

Moving onto Project Natal quickly, I want to talk to you about Milo and how he’s going to be involved in the rest of the technological advancement. Are we going to see him spread throughout different games, are we going to be able to talk to him about maybe… coming out, and being homosexual?

PM: The frustrating thing is that I am veiled. Three and a half minute experience at E3, featuring Milo, which is a character – a single character – and it was exhibiting some of the technologies that we could do with Natal. I didn’t say anything more than that, and whether that was the whole game or not, and I think you’ll just have to wait and see how that fits into a much, much, much bigger and much more dramatic picture.

One more question: favourite thing about Fable III?

My favourite thing about Fable III is unquestionably this thing called touch. For the first time I’ve seen in a computer game, reaching out and touching people, hugging people, caressing people, chastising people, whether that be non-player characters in the world or whether it be your co-op friend – it’s just very unique.


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