Lionhead has shed some light on the characters you'll meet while exploring Fable 2, and claims to have "one of the most evil people in videogame history".
These nasty, or nice people you meet during side-quests in Albion will act as "moral signposts", according to creative director Dene Carter talking to IGN, and will tie in with but not drastically alter the outcome of the main campaign.
You'll also not be able to accidentally butcher a key figure and "ruin the story"; Lionhead likes its open world, but also wants you to see certain bits and do certain things it has spent a long time making.
The first examples of the faces you'll come across in Fable 2 are Arfur, a murderous and vicious thief who sounds like the infamous Bill Sykes; Barnum, an unlucky inventor likely to be laughed off of Dragon's Den time and time again; and Giles, a tough-as-old-boots farmer who used to be a soldier and now has problems with a violent gang.
We're told there are all sorts of characters to meet and each will have a story of varying length to unravel - some may not even exist because of your actions elsewhere in the world. Carter is coy over how many will be in the final game, but suggests that 50 hours of voice-acting gives us a rough idea. That's more than a season of Buffy, admits Carter.
Doing tasks for people earns you renown that can cheapen services offered by those characters. You can also do things for normal people ambling around.
But not everyone will like you, and some will make their mind up based solely upon what you are wearing. However, Carter says there will be a section of the interface to help us understand what makes certain characters "tick".
You can also kill people so you can buy their house on the cheap. Beat that, housing market.