Eurogamer: Did Fable III live up to your expectations that you had at the beginning of the project? Did you have enough time?
Mike West: It was a two-year project, so it's the shortest project Lionhead has ever done. I probably shouldn't say this, but we have released some buggy games in the past and they have been fixed. Fable II was buggier; Fable III wasn't very buggy - it was pretty polished. It all fitted together very well and as a product it was very good. People expected more. That was the only thing we were guilty of, that people expected it to be this next step. That's a problem we've created for ourselves being Lionhead. Because it was a two-year game, it wasn't going to be a big enough step.
[Fable III] is a better game than Fable II. We did really well for the time we did to release the game with all the elements working together. The consumer doesn't care how long it takes us: they know that it costs this much and that it's in a box.
Eurogamer: Was there any particular criticism you felt was unfair?
Mike West: People saying the story wasn't very good was unfair. It's an interesting situation of you gather people together and then defeating the main bad guy. It's a pretty good story and it's pretty fun.
I talk to people down pub and I bump into people in their early 20s and I mention what I do and they say, "Wow, I love Fable III, I love Fable II." Most of them are too young to play Fable 1, worryingly, but they love these games and I haven't had that before until about the last three or four years.
Eurogamer: So what's new for Fable III on PC?
Mike West: We didn't want to make it feel like a port. The main thing was to completely redo the control system. It's a modal system now where you switch between modes and the mouse buttons do different things. You feel like you're in melee mode, you feel like you're in ranged mode, you feel like you've gone into magic mode. It's actually got more depth on PC because of the mouse.
When you use the mouse with the guns you can strafe while looking in first-person mode. If you're doing a PC game where you can go first-person, you've got to be able to move.
The second big change is the engine, with the high resolution and the 3D as well. Fable and Albion have never looked better for anyone on any machine. The Xbox guys got it first, but the PC guys are going to have a much better version.
This is definitely the best Fable PC - it's much better than Fable 1.
"The Xbox guys got it first, but the PC guys are going to have a much better version."
Eurogamer: Why is Fable III more difficult on PC?
Mike West: Partly in response to some of the fans and partly because we've always thought PC gamers are slightly more hardcore. You've got core gamers on Xbox, but you very rarely get casual PC gamers with a 3D card. If you've gone out and bought a 3D card you're usually a core gamer, just because of the cost - a good 3D card these days costs the same as an Xbox.
In future games we're going to have difficulty levels for everyone on every machine, but this time we wanted to give PC gamers something more challenging. We've upped the difficulty level; we've stopped the player's health regenerating all the time - the player has less basic health, the AI attacks more often. It's tweaks. A couple of designers had time to go in and really ramp it up and make it feel a lot more hardcore.
Eurogamer: How much bug fixing and engine improvement has been done on Fable III?
Mike West: All the time has been spent on the engine and doing bug fixing for multiple formats of graphics cards and PC set-ups - all those elements you don't get on Xbox.
If you mean bugs that were on the Xbox build: I don't think we had a huge number, to be honest. We've done some title updates and they've covered most of the ones we're aware of, but Fable III hasn't been too bad, especially compared to some of the games that are coming out at the moment - they're pretty terrible and I don't think we're really in that class.