Game designer Peter Molyneux and I talked about death in video games last week, and the failed experiments that led to the unusual lack of player death in "Fable II." Read More...

In the superb 200th issue of Edge magazine (buy it, everyone!), four game developers predict the state of gaming in the year that Edge #300 will be out, hoping to do better than writer Steven Kent, who predicted in Edge #100 that Microsoft would buy Sega. Peter Molyneux tries to top that...

"The early days were… you could experiment and you could play around, but basically it meant that you wouldn't eat because you didn't have any money. [laughs] You could choose from lots to do, you just wouldn't eat. [Today] I think there are different pressures, but still, the same thing came through is that -- oh my god, we have to finish this game. And the same applies today. Now, today, sometimes I'm in the office and I look around and think 'Jesus, we're spending so much f---ing money.' Millions and millions of dollars. Sometimes I can start saying 'my god, I can't believe this is costing this much.'"

-- "Fable II" creator Peter Molyneux on committing yourself to spending three, four or five years on developing a single next-generation game

If you're like me, you play morality-filled games as a generally good person the first time around. The second time, you experiment being the bad guy.

Stephen Totilo asked "Fallout 3" producer Todd Howard if he'd solved what Totilo called the "Han Solo Problem," where it's seldom as fun to play as a mix of nice guy and bad guy, since games tend to only reward only extreme behavior.

Howard claimed "Fallout 3" hadn't completely solved it, but "Fable II" designer Peter Molyneux told me last week it will be fun to play as a character with mixed morality in "Fable II" because it's difficult to be truly good or evil.

His team may have solved the "Han Solo problem." Read More...

Peter Molyneux is an idea man, his mind constantly spinning.

At the end of a brief chat last Wednesday, the "Fable II" designer told me a little bit about what he's up to after "Fable II" ships next month.

"I won't tell you what we're doing next; I'm not allowed to," he smiled. "But it's a single, pure thought and so simple that it's actually far more terrifying…"

Molyneux clearly wanted to say more, but now was not the time. Lessons learned from "Fable" and "Fable II" are directly influencing his approach.

"I think for a long time I mistook the number of features in a game for how good the game will be," he said. "I've come to realize that's wrong. I've got a great analogy. I think a lot of my games in the past, I've been like a cook [and I] just keep shoving ingredients in the pot thinking 'oh, I need more of this, more of that.' I never tasted it, and then normally it tasted a bit weird at the end. And now what I've realized is it's not the number of features you've got in the game, it's the way those features work together."

What do you think he's up to, readers?

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Gamers are a vocal bunch, and Lionhead Studios' fans are no different.

Lionhead's senior community manager Sam Van Tilburgh, who's been with the company since "Fable," is the guy responsible for watching over the fanbase as "Fable II" nears.

And while others working on "Fable II" start to plan vacations, his responsibilities are ramping up because much of the community effect comes after launch.

"My crunch only gets worse," he told me at this year's PAX. "When the game comes out, people start playing it and then everyone's got an opinion! [Lionhead] said to me when I started, if you survive your first game as a community manager, you're in it for life. Ninety-five percent of community managers don't even survive the first game."

Well, he's still there. But that doesn't mean he has an easy gig.


Fable2At long last I've transcribed my GDC interview with Peter Molyneux, head of Lionhead Studios and chief architect of the Xbox 360 fall exclusive "Fable 2."

I teased a video excerpt earlier this week. Now you can read my conversation with him about:

  • What people ask him about at GDC.
  • What the most ambitious element of "Fable 2" is.
  • How you can steal his wife in his game.
  • How to punish your "Fable 2" family with an apple pie.
  • Why you might want to live in a town called Bloodstone.
  • What lessoned he learned not to repeat from "BioShock."
  • How he left me completely perplexed at the end of our interview.

And more! Read on. It's Molyneux, so, you will be both informed and entertained...


Later this week (hopefully Wednesday) I'll post a full transcript of a recent interview I did with Peter Molyneux about "Fable 2," unusual ideas for mini-games, the fate of in-game orphans, lessons learned from "BioShock" and the usual array of fascinating stuff that comes from chats with gaming's most quotable developer.

Today, watch a sneak peek: a portion of our chat about morality, with a bonus discussion of attracting women even while being a jerk.

As with all videos, it is not available to anyone using computers with IP addresses in Japan, the U.K. and Canada (sorry Peter!).

Here’s an excerpt for people who can’t watch the video: Read More...

Fable 2I'm presenting two posts today that excerpt from a big "Fable 2" interview I conducted last month with the ever-fascinating Peter Molyneux. I hope to have the whole thing posted on Wednesday.

But, for Monday I wanted to provide a couple of tidbits.

This tidbit: confirmation that the promised acorns-will-grow-into-trees feature that didn't make the first "Fable" will be in this year's "Fable 2," but possibly in very limited form.

Multiplayer: When I interviewed you for the New York Times for the first "Fable" you talked about the potential for the dropped acorn that grows into the oak tree...

Peter Molyneux, Founder, Lionhead Studios: Yes.

Multiplayer: ...and got yourself into a bit of issues with that.

Molyneux: [smiling, rolling eyes]… trouble…

Multiplayer: Can you clarify the capacity of acorns growing into trees for "Fable 2"?

Molyneux: I can tell you definitively that there is absolutely an acorn and it does absolutely grow into a tree. And it is actually part of the story now. We decided we got into so much trouble over acorns and trees that we are going to make it part of the main thread of the story in "Fable 2"

Multiplayer: So it will be like the ["Portal"] Companion Cube?

Molyneux: Kind of. I'm not as cool as the Companion Cube.

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