Exclusive: Molyneux on Dimitri, Fable 2

Are they the same game or not? What's the deal?! We caught up with Peter on a coach journey to get some answers directly from the man himself.

Sitting next to Peter Molyneux on a coach is not the most likely of interview settings perhaps, but that's the situation we found ourselves in last week on the evening of X06 in Barcelona, a little different to the times we've caught up with him at his Guildford office or inside a meeting room at the LA Convention Center. Since we didn't have any formal time scheduled with Peter during the business event the next day, we though, what better time to ask a couple of burning questions than right here on the coach?

We couldn't help but notice that in our last interview (which I didn't conduct myself) Peter was talking about Fable 2 in ways which sounded a lot like another secretive Lionhead project known as Dimitri, leading us to speculate that the two peojects had become the same game. Today we can reveal that this is NOT the case!

Back in May, Peter told us, "everybody looked to me as if I was just completely insane... I'd have to show you the feature... if I told you it, you'd think I was just mad". And way back in September of 2004, when he first broke the silence surrounding Dimitri, he told us, "it's so easy to describe what Dimitri is - and I'm just gonna be tantalising here - if I were to describe it to you, you would have so many questions about it, and unless I could actually show you the game physically working, then you just wouldn't believe me. You'd think I was mad." Well, now we really do have questions about it...

Peter Molyneux - Managing Director, Lionhead Studios

We hope you can forgive our speculation - particularly as Lionhead's own official site, which is run by a lovely guy called Sam who works closely with Peter, even posted an update that spread our theory: "If you want to find out how Dimitri could be Fable 2 then make your way to this page", it teased.

Further - and we challenged Peter on these theories during our chat last week - we pointed out that the Fable 2 teaser trailer also says, "welcome child, your story is waiting", which fits with a detail Molyneux mentioned to CVG that the unique feature of Dimitri is that you play through an entire lifetime - specifically, you somehow re-live your own entire lifetime.

So what's the deal, Peter? "Ah yes. I can see where you get that from. Here's the thing, Fable 2 and Dimitri are not the same game, Dimitri has been in development for a very long time, but when we started on Fable 2 we decided that some of the technology or ideas from Dimitri should be in Fable 2 as well, and we haven't started to talk about the specifics of that yet." Previously he described Dimitri to us as Lionhead's "flagship technology project".

He continued: "With Dimitri, we still need to decide on a final name, because as you know, this is just a project name that is the name of my godson... I don't think you'll hear anything further in terms of announcements for about another year on this project".

Peter could not confirm whether Dimitri is still a PC title that would now be a Games for Windows product, or if it would be on Xbox 360, or both.

However, he insisted that Fable 2 and Dimitri are currently the only two projects that Lionhead is working on, both obviously to be published by Microsoft. He explained, "I want Lionhead to be about innovation across the board... we're not doing anything with expansions for The Movies, or sequels or conversions, let's just concentrate on these two key projects."

He said that Microsoft has seen Project Dimitri and that they were enthusiastic about Dimitri throughout the talks that lead to their acquisition of his Lionhead studios.

Moving on to Fable 2, Peter admitted that they were not yet ready to talk in more detail further to what has been said already. Being Peter Molyneux of course, this is never the case; he elaborated: "The E3 trailer was sort of a teaser that was CG based", which was pretty obviously designed to whet our appetites for what the actual game might look and feel like. He said that Microsoft helped out a lot with the trailer.

Peter also gave us some interesting comments about lighting in the game, which he said would be an important aspect. Pointing out of the windows on the coach to the sun-drenched building passing by on one side of the street, he talked about lighting and how high dynamic range, or HDR, makes this sort of scene look great in games nowadays. Then, he pointed to the other side of the street, which was buried in shadow. "It doesn't look as good over there, does it? It looks bland. In Hollywood, they engineer their scene to make it look nice but it's not always the reality of a scene that gets the result we want in the game."

So we still don't have much of a clue about anything. But we know they're separate games for sure. And we know we want to know more! Peter, throw us another bone?

Adam Doree
Director, Kikizo

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