Lionhead technical art director Ian Lovett has told Eurogamer that the game's original "visual mission statement" was "that we wanted Fable 2 to be like Fable, but done by Ridley Scott".
"The idea behind that is that Microsoft understand Ridley Scott, they understand that this means that we wanted to mature the franchise a little bit. Not losing its charm, but basically trying to grow it up ever so slightly," Lovett explained in an interview published today.
'Visual mission statement' may be a "horribly wanky thing", as Lovett puts it, but getting Microsoft onboard with the concept was vital.
"You know, Microsoft weren't just going to rock up with a fat chequebook of X million, or whatever, and say 'hey guys, go ahead, we're going to take a punt on you despite the fact that you were years late with Fable - do another one for us!'"
Lovett also paid tribute to Microsoft for the trust they showed when Lionhead decided to create its own game engine. "That it's a tremendous amount of faith on Microsoft's behalf," he told Eurogamer. "We decided that we weren't going to use a middleware engine. We looked at Unreal - and it's an amazing engine, don't get me wrong. We've got nothing against it. But it wasn't what we needed for Fable, so we said, let's go and develop another engine.
"Of course, that means that for the first two years of development, you're not going to see anything. All you're going to see is concepts, a couple of tests... The amount of faith which that takes when you've got a franchise which, in Microsoft's eyes, is number two only to Halo, and the money that goes with that. That's a tremendous punt to take on a bunch of people."
With Fable 2 out on 24th October, we'll soon get to find out whether it paid off. In the meantime, check out the full interview with Fable 2 artists Ian Lovett and Mike McCarthy elsewhere on Eurogamer.