Just after he wrapped up his presentation on the upcoming Fable 3, I had the opportunity to have a one on one chat with the man whose games I have been playing and enjoying for over 20 years now. With Peter Molyneux responsible for classics such as Populous, Syndicate, Dungeon Keeper and Black & White, my mind was buzzing with memories of the many hours spent playing this man’s productions. Trying to keep my excitement in check, we talked a little bit about how gaming has changed in those years and of course zoomed in on Fable 3 in some more detail.
A lot of today’s gaming genres originated in the early eighties. What elements from that era do you still see in the modern gaming world?
It’s a very interesting heritage to look at, even when looking at today’s games. A game like Fable 3 is of course very different from those games, but when I look at the market for casual and mobile games, I see games that are essentially a restart of those early days of videogames. A lot of them are based on relatively simple and addictive concepts, and the wonderful thing is that those games are actually drawing new gamers in just like the original classics did in the early eighties.
So with the open structure and diverse paths one can take in Fable 3, how can we still see the goals that ‘traditional’ gamers generally strive for?
Well, it’s definitely true that there isn’t a traditional ‘score’ like there used to be in for example Donkey Kong or other classic arcade games. In the world of Fable, your ‘score’ or how far you are in the game is presented in a more visual or visceral way. For example, a bigger or more powerful sword is a representation of where you are and how you did in the game, and therefore similar in a way to a traditional score. But while scores were traditionally a focal point and very much on the foreground, Fable actually has its scoring systems running in the background. At any point in the game, I could look at the code and see values that very closely resemble scores. However, the way those are represented in the game is through development of the story and character.
How does such an experience appeal to more competitive gamers?
Though there is no traditional scoring system in place, there are still a few options to consider where people might get some competition going. Perhaps looking at the amount of gold that can be collected in a certain timeframe, or reaching all the achievements in the shortest amount of time possible. The achievements in Fable are story-driven, so reaching all of them ‘quickly’ still gives you a relatively full experience. This as opposed to a speed run, which generally means taking shortcuts that I feel are a bit unfair to the experience of the game.
In terms of competing in a multi-player setting, Fable 3 is definitely more of a cooperative game than it is a competitive game. A more competitive version would be great though, and the game already has a lot of the elements that are needed in place. Who knows, it might be part of future developments…
Many thanks to Peter Molyneux for taking some time to talk to us during the busy last few weeks before Fable 3’s launch.