Peter Molyneux Interview June 2006
Possibly the best interviewee in the games industry talks to Kikizo once more to get all loose-lipped about Fable 2 and being part of Microsoft's gaming empire. Plus: Is Project 'Dimitri' actually... Fable 2?!
Peter Molyneux says that now his Lionhead Studios is part of Microsoft, they're more independent than when they were an independent developer. And for Lionhead's many fans, the Microsoft buyout raises more questions than answers. Not all of the questons have answers right now - at least, not ones Molyneux is in a position to give - but that's exactly the best kind of time to talk to Peter. He loves to be tantalising - and we love to be tantalised.
And with that said, we caught up with Peter recently to learn more about the enormous sequel that is Fable 2, and we're in fact speculating some rather interesting theories based on his various answers. Could Fable 2 in fact BE the near-legendary secret project known as Dimitri? We offer our thoughts within this latest in-depth chat with Peter. As always, he has plenty of inspiring new stuff to share with us. Enjoy.
Kikizo: Peter thanks for your time as always. Let's start with Fable 2. The trailer looked very cool indeed. How much are we going to get out of you about it today?
Peter Molyneux: I'm here, sadly, to not really talk about Fable 2, since we're not talking about the details of Fable 2 at the moment. I can't really talk to you about what else we're working on at Lionhead, because it's all too new, but I can't resist giving you some of the ideas that are bobbling around in our minds about what our approach is to development. So, although I can't tell you feature by feature, there are some things I can say, especially about how we are approaching it as a sequel, and how this is part of the plan of the Fable story, and the flow of the Fable story.
Kikizo: We know there was a lot of content cut from the original Fable due to time constraints. Will some of this be appearing in Fable 2?
Molyneux: Well, there was... hmmm. Well, that's an interesting question. In the trailer, there are hidden some little hints about some of the features that are going to be in Fable 2. Definitely, when you're approaching a sequel, you can sit down and say "Okay, we know what we're making, these are the things that people enjoy, we'll do more of that." That's definitely NOT how we're approaching Fable 2. First and foremost, we wanted to say, "Right... we've got to surprise people, we've got to amaze people..." and part of the reason some people enjoyed Fable 1 was they felt they were gonna play a game in a way they've never played one before. They've got to feel that again in Fable 2, and that means introducing all new features.
Now there were some features that didn't make it into Fable 1 - famously, there was the little acorn growing into a big oak tree... which my big mouth let off before we really tested the effects on the framerate and we didn't put it in. And, sure enough, I, you know, that immersive, changeable world is very important to me. There are things like the concept of freedom, and how much freedom do we give you... whether there are things like free roaming, I think are very important things for us. But, for me, it's surprises that you don't even guess, or couldn't know what we are going to do in Fable 2. And there are a couple of those that are... quite off the wall.
When I presented them to the team I said, "OK, this is the way we work it right here." We all think about what we're going to do, and then, I tend to sort of chip in and say, "OK, that is really good, but here's what I'd like to see." One of those things certainly, that I said to the team... everybody looked to me as if I was just completely insane. They said, "how is that going to work?" I think... I'd have to show you the feature. If I TOLD you the feature, you'd think I was... just mad. So, the answer to your question is, "Yes, there's things that we sort of discovered in Fable 1 that we want to do in Fable 2, but there's also a huge toybox of things you'd never expect. That's a long answer to a very short question!
[Editor's note - I can't help but note here how he describes this feature in exactly the same way as he discussed Project Dimitri with us a couple of years back - I can't help but wonder whether Dimitri has perhaps now become Fable 2, or whether features are merging together from Dimitri. Since he spoke to us back in September 2004 to break his silence on Dimitri, Peter has elaborated and said that the unique feature of Dimitri is that you play through an entire lifetime, specifically you play out and re-live your own entire lifetime. Sounds crazy indeed, and sounds like it could fit nicely in something like Fable 2. In addition, the voice in the Fable 2 trailer (see below) says "welcome child, your story is waiting". So just to note, we called this first - although obviously this is pure speculation. We'll bring you updates on this. If we've got completely the wrong idea here Peter, drop us a line].
Kikizo: So, you're looking forward to doing these new things with of the increased power of the newer platform?
Molyneux: Yeah, it's the power of the platform. Here's the things, these are the good things about Fable 2. One is that it's on next generation, it's on an incredibly powerful platform, there's a lot more memory to deal with, there is - and I'm not saying there's any secret feature, just think about what online and Live means to something like Fable... I'm not saying, you know, that there's a specific feature, but as a designer I find that absolutely fascinating - so that's really different. And there's all the things about customization, customizing the world, the choices and consequences, that was a really big thing in Fable 1 that I thought was very important. You kind of... you know, you found out a little about yourself, and we really want to extend that , so there's a lot of reasons why Fable will be, you know, a truly customizable game. [More clues?!]
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