Lionhead supremo Peter Molyneux has taken the unprecedented step of apologising to fans on an official message board for any features that were described during Fable's development that didn't make it into the final game.
Xbox exclusive RPG Fable, recently released in the States and due out in Europe next Friday, October 8th, was in development for some four years at Lionhead satellite studio Big Blue Box, and Molyneux regularly popped up in the press during that time extolling the game's virtues and highlighting the original thinking behind the game.
"When a game is in development, myself and the development teams I work with constantly encourage each other to think of the best features and the most ground-breaking design possible," he told visitors to the Lionhead message boards.
"However, what happens is that we strive to include absolutely everything we've ever dreamt of and, in my enthusiasm, I talk about it to anyone who'll listen, mainly in press interviews. When I tell people about what we're planning, I'm telling the truth, and people, of course, expect to see all the features I've mentioned. And when some of the most ambitious ideas get altered, redesigned or even dropped, people rightly want to know what happened to them."
"If I have mentioned any features in the past which, for whatever reason, didn't make it as I described into Fable, I apologise. Every feature I have ever talked about was in development, but not all made it. Often the reason is that the feature did not make sense."
Molyneux then went on to outline an example - the way trees were meant to grow in the game as time past. "The team did code this but it took so much processor time (15 per cent) that the feature was not worth leaving in. That 15 per cent was much better spent on effects and combat," he says. "So nothing I said was groundless hype, but people expecting specific features which couldn't be included were of course disappointed. If that's you, I apologise. All I can say is that Fable is the best game we could possibly make, and that people really seem to love it."
As a result of the reaction to Fable in some quarters, Molyneux is considering whether to hold his tongue a bit more in his future dealings with the press, and limit exposure to games in development until a bit further down the line.
"I have come to realise that I should not talk about features too early so I am considering not talking about games as early as I do. This will mean that the Lionhead games will not be known about as early as they are, but I think this is the more industry standard," he concluded.
You can read Molyneux's full message here. Look forward to a review of Fable in the coming days.