Fable II scored 10/10 on Eurogamer and Fable III scored 8/10. But wasn't the third a better game? Wasn't co-op was better, combat deeper and the map more intuitive? Why didn't Fable IIII receive the plaudits of Fable II?
In this interview, Fable III lead combat designer Mike West sits down with Eurogamer to offer his post-mortem of the Xbox 360 game. He goes on to detail this Friday's PC release, and why the significant alterations he and his team have made ensure this will be "a much better version" of Fable III.
Eurogamer: Now the dust has settled on Fable III, what do you think about the reception it got?
Mike West: We added a reasonable amount of depth to the combat with the new spells, the spell-weaving, the weapon upgrading and the new abilities. The only problem we had from the combat point of view was the difficulty, which is what we've changed in the PC version.
Really we had some of the best quests on Fable III. The Game quest was fantastic - that made me laugh a lot. Comedy like that, and with the gnomes with Mark Heap - he's one of my favourite comedians. Our vocal cast was amazing. I'm slightly disappointed we haven't won any audio awards to be honest, because our music's great, our vocal talent's great - and then you'll see a standard shooter get an audio award. I just think that's because they're more popular than us.
Generally what happens when there's any information about Fable or about Peter Molyneux, you get a complete black and white - pardon the pun - split of forum replies. Half of the people, whatever it's about - if Peter has made the most sensible comment about games development ever - just spout obscenities and terrible, ridiculous things. Whether you like him or you don't like him, he's made Populous, Dungeon Keeper - he's done amazing games in the past.
Then you'll get the other half of people saying, "Fable was actually pretty good, I really enjoyed it." It's a frustrating situation to be in because we make good games, but people expect something that no one else is doing. We're making a co-operative role-playing game - there aren't any co-operative role-playing games out there, we're the only one.
Most role-playing games I play, you go into a town and there's someone standing there, and then you walk up and you press a button and he says the same line over and over again, he doesn't move and it comes up in text. In ours, everything is vocalised, everyone has a personality, you can marry people, you can buy every building in the game - we can do this huge width of things in Fable. Many of the games we're compared against have 60 hours of killing the same creatures over and over again. I love Fallout and I love Oblivion, but when it comes down to it, you do the same things quite a lot. If you want a 60-hour game then play one of those.
"A lot of people that play [Fable III] think it's a Lord of the Rings - and it isn't."
But if you want a fun, wide game... And that's the thing, if you play [Fable III] to finish it as soon as possible, Fable won't give you as good a game as Oblivion. But if you play the game to enjoy the world, try everything and play all the little bits and bobs hidden around the game, you'll have a much more fun experience.
Every time you finish playing Fable you'll have a smile on your face. Every time you play Oblivion you'll say "I enjoyed my time there but now I want to go play something fun". [Fable III is] a different type of game: it's more of a fun, comedic TV show than a serious Lord of the Rings film. I think a lot of people that play it think it's a Lord of the Rings - and it isn't.