Good and evil is barely the start of it, frankly. Fable is one of those rare, fascinating game series upon which nobody can really seem to agree about anything for very long. It's a shallow RPG, or maybe it's a canny and satirical examination of RPGs in general. It's hilarious - oh, the burping! Or maybe it's just juvenile. Let's face it: Fable's easy to the point of being obsequious, isn't it? Or maybe it's choosing to measure itself in ways that go beyond mere difficulty? It's no surprise, then, that with all this discussion churning around it, the world of Albion is so often defined by a mechanic that it doesn't even contain.
It's this week's Eurogamer Show.
18th January 2014
11th March 2009
12th January 2009
18th December 2008
4th December 2008
11th November 2008
20th October 2008
20th October 2008
10th October 2008
21st August 2008
8th August 2008
Work is underway on a brand new, big-budget Fable game, Eurogamer can reveal.
Hello! Hopefully everyone's had a chance to read Wes' spectacular feature on the life and death of Lionhead by now, but if 20,000 words isn't enough to satisfy your curiosity, I had a chat with Wes to discuss how the piece came together. Oh, and we recorded it! That's lucky!
In October 2008, Microsoft released Lionhead's Fable 2 to critical and commercial acclaim. At a launch party an emotional Peter Molyneux held aloft glowing reviews and praised the exhausted team of developers who had spent the previous four years pouring everything they had into the game. Fable 2 would go on to win a BAFTA and become the best-selling role-playing game for the Xbox 360. Lionhead was on top of the world.
Following the news that Lionhead Studios is to be closed, I thought I'd return to the game that, in my mind, showed them at their very best. That game is Fable 2 and I've been playing it again this weekend to see how well it holds up, almost eight years after its initial release.
The best games create stories as well as telling them, and when you ask people about a Lionhead game there's usually a good one. A friend told me how, when playing Black & White, he'd found his inscrutable cow-god familiar taking a dump in the village's food supply. He went to punish it, mis-clicked, and instead petted the beast. From then on the cow went out of its way to poo on food, and no amount of beatings would dissuade it. My friend persevered with his save for days before, finally, admitting defeat and starting over - left only with the memory of handing out monotonous beatings to a bewildered, unhappy, constantly-befouled creature.
UPDATE: Fable Legends ends at 3pm on Wednesday, 13th April 2016, Lionhead has said.
It's a grey January morning and the rain batters the windows of the taxi taking me from Guildford train station to Surrey Research Park. Typical English weather, then, as I head to the home of a developer which has been making typically English video games for a decade.
Fable Trilogy - a collection that includes Fable 2, Fable 3, and the upcoming remake of the first game, Fable Anniversary - has been confirmed for a 7th February release.
This is the same day as Fable Anniversary standalone.
The listing appeared on the Xbox Marketplace, where it noted that it "offers these games together at a discounted rate over individual purchases." Furthermore, it added that this collection won't receive any enhancements to the earlier releases of Fables 2 and 3. "The games in this bundle are available as individual downloads in the Xbox Games marketplace and are exactly the same," Microsoft stated.
Fable developer Lionhead has a new boss.
Update: Aaaand it's back! Here is Microsoft's official reply on the matter:
Games used to be such hostile places. Dropped behind enemy lines or sneaking through monster-infested caverns, everyone you'd meet on your journey seemed to want to kill you. Over the last ten years or so, there's been a gentle rebalancing, however. From Pey'j to Yorda to Alyx Vance, designers have started giving you friends as well as enemies.
2K Games boss Christoph Hartmann has gone and said something controversial. He's declared that only when games approach photorealistic graphics will they be able to broaden their genre-horizon and properly do nuanced emotion like Brokeback Mountain - rather than the Mission Impossible experiences we get today.
Fable Heroes lead designer Ted Timmins has described departed Lionhead figurehead Peter Molyneux as "irreplaceable" and a "total legend", and said "there's no one who can fill those shoes".
"How long have you got to talk?" I ask Peter Molyneux at the beginning of our Skype interview.
For the past day and a half, Kerry Turner has been thinking about swans. She's been making a game using Flixel - this is an open-source Actionscript library put together by Canabalt creator Adam 'Atomic' Saltsman - that's loosely based, she tells me, on the fairy tale about the swans and the princes. I have never heard of this fairy tale, but, as she's worked on the game for many hours without taking much of a break, Kerry has the look of a person who isn't to be argued with.
Peter Molyneux's departure from Microsoft and Lionhead sent shockwaves throughout the game industry. Not only had one of the most influential developers of all time ditched the company he founded in 1997, but Fable, a series guided by Molyneux's leadership over eight long years and across two generations of home console, was left without its poster boy.
Fans need not worry about the Fable series following Peter Molyneux's shock exit from Microsoft - so say the creators of the franchise.
Peter Molyneux, creator of Populous, Black & White and Magic Carpet, has left Microsoft and the studio he co-founded, Lionhead.
A number of high-ranking Lionhead staff responsible for the Fable franchise have left the developer to form their own studio, Another Place Productions.
It looks like Fable developer Lionhead is the latest studio to ramp up its next gen plans.
UPDATE: Lionhead has issued Eurogamer the following statement:
"Thanks for checking in with us! We're happy to tell you all about what we're working on. Just apply, get hired, and we promise to spill our guts!"
ORIGINAL STORY: Fable developer Lionhead wants a programmer with MMO skills to help make an unannounced game.
Fable developer Lionhead was "on its knees" before Microsoft swooped in and bought the UK developer, a former member of staff has said.
Microsoft has registered Fablethejourney.org as a domain name, along with three other phrases which seem to suggest a bunch of Kinect titles is on the way.
Lionhead boss and newly-crowned holder of a BAFTA Fellowship Peter Molyneux has admitted making game features up on the spot to stop bored journalists falling asleep during interviews.
The creator of a 2D Fable "de-make" has popped up a video of his progress and explained how he's incorporating systems from the first two Fable games - including some that were mentioned during their development but never made it in.
The evolution of the Fable series.
After arriving 10 minutes late for his Develop Conference keynote, Peter Molyneux took another 10 minutes to plug an Xbox 360 running the latest build of upcoming role-playing game Fable III into a projector set deep within the bowels of the Brighton Metropole hotel.
Microsoft exclusive RPG Fable II was "terribly messy", "rushed" and suffered from "huge design flaws", creator Peter Molyneux has admitted.
Fable II and Fallout 3 - two of Xbox 360's best role-playing games - are now up for grabs from Xbox Live's Games on Demand service.
Microsoft has made two new additions to the Classics collection of Xbox 360 software.
Several months ago, I buried John Romero. I dug a little hole for him in the garden, covered it with dirt, and said a few poignant words over the spiteful-but-soothing strains of Paul McCartney's Too Many People. It was an emotional moment for me, because I really loved the guy. We'd had some great times together: the time, for instance, that his home was destroyed and we went out to get a new one. Or the time he chased his girlfriend around for over an hour, before finally taking a nap in the miniature Taj Mahal nearby. Mostly, though, I just remember him pressing his face up to the water jet, his jet-black, silky, slimy mane billowing out like a raven's wing. He was a spectacular goldfish.
Fable II. We're fans, you may remember. Well, those of you who haven't tried it yet can play a decent chunk of it for free today with the launch of Fable II: Game Episodes on Xbox Live's Games on Demand channel.
Microsoft has announced plans for Games on Demand, Avatar Marketplace and Deals of the Week for September.
(Please beware that the following is a spoiler for the end of Fable II, so if you still plan to play it, do not read on!)
Fable II is to be released as episodic downloads on Xbox Live, Peter Molyneux revealed at his press conference this morning.
Retailers including our old friends ShopTo and Play.com are both listing a Fable II Game of the Year edition for release on 18th September.
Lionhead has promised "a big presentation" during the Microsoft E3 conference, which runs on Monday, 1st June from 6.30pm UK time (BST). And we'll be reporting live from the event, remember.
Lionhead has announced that Fable II: See the Future will be released on 12th May on Xbox Live Marketplace and cost 560 Microsoft Points (GBP 4.76 / EUR 6.72).
Microsoft has told Eurogamer there are no announcements to make regarding the Xbox 360 Elite Game of the Year bundle heading to Europe.
Microsoft and Lionhead have revealed the second batch of Fable II downloadable content, which will be arrive in May for 560 Microsoft Points (GBP 4.76 / EUR 6.72).
Peter Molyneux is a familiar face at the Game Developers Conference. He often uses it as a platform to unveil new features in Lionhead games - remember 2007's infamous dog revelation?
Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux has said that more Fable II downloadable content will be released within weeks.
Microsoft has pooh-poohed Jonathan Ross's claim that he has been invited to provide a voiceover in Fable III, but has confirmed plans for more Fable II DLC.
Celebrity talker Jonathan Ross seems to have inadvertently confirmed the development of Fable III on his Twitter, claiming he's been offered a voice-over role.
"Tweeting" after last night's BAFTA shindig, the British TV and radio star wished his gossip-hungry fans goodnight with this message: "Goodnight all. Must go to bed. Got asked to do voice in Fable 3 tonight. Subarashi. Oyasuminasia. Woss out."
When asked to confirm the slip by a fellow Tweeter, Ross proclaimed, "Yes they are doing it. Charlie Brooker said he would do a voice for it to! Great fun!!"
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is heading up the nominations for the British Academy Video Game Awards this year, which take place in London on 10th March.
A Lionhead employee has put paid to rumours that Fable II is in development for PC.
Lionhead has sneaked a copycat Halo Assault Rifle into the still-warm Knothole Island downloadable content for Fable II.
Lionhead has finally popped out a Fable II patch to clean up a variety of minor niggles and bugs, according to the official community site.
The title update addresses problems such as the unresponsive Abbot in Oakfield, the temperamental Guild Cave chest, your children being picked as assassination targets and the level of stock in the Bowerstone furniture shop.
All of which clears the way rather nicely for the brand new Knothole Island downloadable content arriving tomorrow, priced at 800 Microsoft Points (GBP 6.80 / EUR 9.60).
Lionhead Studios has announced a finalised date of the 13th of January for the global release of the first nugget of Fable II DLC.
Fable II has been named the most animal-friendly videogame of 2008 by campaign group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Lionhead has confirmed to Eurogamer that the Fable II: Knothole Island downloadable expansion pack has been delayed until January 2009.
An announcement on Xbox.com yesterday said the pack had been pushed back from 22nd December until "late January", which the developer confirmed this morning.
Xbox.com cited "unexpected technical difficulties".
Lionhead has told Eurogamer that the Knothole Island DLC for Fable II will definitely arrive on 22nd December, and not 12th December as was first thought.
You may think you know everything about Peter Molyneux by now, but did you know he once chatted up a ghost's girlfriend and then killed her in front of him? You may think you've heard everything about Fable II, but do you really know why it only has one save slot? Or which two simple things could have improved the co-op?
Lionhead has a title update for Fable II in testing and waiting for finalisation, and has said everything is "coming along nicely".
That's according to the community website, which has also supplied a list of bugs being addressed in the patch.
The Ritual/Monk's quest no longer presents an unresponsive Abbot if you run out of the region before he finishes talking, which is quite a rude thing to do. Still, part of the main quest and that, so even those with no manners ought to be able to continue.
Lionhead plans to expand the world of Fable II with a new area, Knothole Island, on 12th December.
The big Fable II anouncement mooted last week on the Fable II dev blog has been delayed until Monday the 24th.
Fable II has proven to be the most popular videogame in America throughout October.
A mysterious post on Lionhead's development blog suggests a Fable II announcement is due "early next week".
The post, made by community manager 'Sam', promises some "good news for all Fable II fans next week", but there are no further details. In a related post the cheeky teaser also promises, "Next week we're announcing something that will make you want to revisit Albion. That is, if you're not already there..." Which could indicate something which would provide an extension of game-time.
Microsoft's being tight-lipped about the whole affair, claiming they'd be "hung, drawn and quartered" were the cat to escape the bag, so we're assuming it's quite big potatoes. The obvious answer would be some DLC - there are a few clues kicking around in the game's interface already and items are available from the Fable II puppet show web site - but there are other options such as patches or an expansion.
Microsoft and Sumthing Else Music Works are going to release the Fable II soundtrack on 25th November, both in shops and on iTunes.
Lionhead has said that fixing the Abbot bug in Fable II is a "matter of priority", and that a patch to fix the multiplayer glitch stripping characters of gold and experience will be made available "very soon".
Peter Molyneux believes core and casual games need to begin to converge, or the market will suffer for it.
Lionhead has confirmed that a patch enabling online co-op in Fable II will go live tomorrow, 21st October.
That's according to the Lionhead community blog, which has provided running updates on the multiplayer feature that once looked likely to be missing at launch.
Fable II will be released across Europe this Friday, after much talk of dogs and emotions and shooting husbands and revolutionary this and simplified that.
Fairy tales may be primarily about getting married and shoving elderly eccentrics into ovens, but more often than not, there's a thread of revolutionary spirit running through them as well. Along with the enchanted footwear and talking mirrors, there's a corrupt king who requires overthrowing, or a cruel and mysterious grip on the land that needs to be broken. It makes sense, then, that alongside the high adventure and tumbledown castles of Fable II, in amongst the midnight intrigue and haunted swamps, there's a similar spark of revolution at work. But this is regime-change at its most fundamental, and Lionhead's fascination with the world of choices and consequences has lead it to topple some of gaming's most accepted idols. Fable II explores what happens when a game does away with most forms of punishment, and does nothing but reward its players from start to finish. The results are astonishing.
It's worth stepping away from the tried and tested Pavlovian mechanics that games have inherited from the coin-crunching arcades to consider what Lionhead is proposing. Almost every game ever made has reinforced its rules with penalties: if you fight and lose, you're killed; if you go off and explore, you get lost; if you're spotted when you're meant to be hiding, you're deported back to the start. It's a strategy that undoubtedly works - many of gaming's finer moments are often interlinked with its harshest challenges - but there's also no escaping the fact that when it all goes wrong you're often treated like a lab monkey undergoing a rather cruel experiment: you may really want that banana, but the chances are you're going to get a lot of electric shocks first.
Fable II, to continue this somewhat tenuous analogy, would rather shower you with bananas as often as it possibly can. The biggest surprise is that the game's inherent generosity never feels gratuitous, even when it's overturning many games' most fundamental design principles. Fable II's glowing breadcrumb trail leads you ever onwards to your next objective, but even though you can't get lost it still allows for deep exploration. It also makes you consider why so many games force you to traipse around in circles or click on every NPC you meet to access the next mission. Similarly, the game's death-free combat makes you wonder why you've been settling for mere survival all these years when you can spend your time working towards mastery instead. These ideas were originally introduced to Fable II so that it would be more accessible to non-gamers, and while that's undoubtedly been achieved, it hasn't excluded the more experienced player either.
Two years ago he said he'd be "killed to death" if he revealed what Lionhead was working on besides Fable 2, but now it sounds like veteran developer Peter Molyneux may get his chance as soon as the Game Developers Conference in March.
Lionhead has tentatively announced a launch-day patch to enable online co-op in Fable 2.
"Remember we said we were busting our balls to get [the patch] ready in time for a 'Day One' release? Well - good news folks! It looks like we've done it," reads a developer update on the Lionhead blog.
"Taken into account we don't fail certification," added the post.
Having given Fable 2 9/10 in his own unofficial review last month, Lionhead's Peter Molyneux is now dispensing tips and instructions to those of us who had to wait.
Microsoft has reduced the number of goodies included in the Fable 2 Collector's Edition, blaming supply chain issues.
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".
Fable 2 is so close, you can almost taste it. After what seemed like endless delays and date slips, the first game won the hearts of many with its charming presentation, surprisingly open world and the ability to be a bisexual bigamist who sacrificed innocent villagers. At least that's how we played it.
Lionhead and daddy Microsoft have announced that Fable 2 will ship without online co-operative play.
Lionhead has unveiled the full list of Achievements for October-bound role-playing game Fable 2. And we rather like them.
Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux reckons the PlayStation 3 is still waiting for a console-defining game.
Peter Molyneux has claimed that the Fable 2 Pub Games glitch, which allowed bets to be increased ten-fold by some timely button pressing, was absolutely intentional.
Peter Molyneux reckons there was something "slightly off" about Too Human, and says he would have done things differently had he been in charge.
Lovably chat-happy Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux reckons Fable 2 is worth 9/10.
A patch to rectify the money-making exploit in the Fable 2 Pub Games "is on the way".
Developer Lionhead prepared us for the fix alongside some general hints and tips for the card games that are based entirely upon luck.
"If you are wondering about a 'much talked about' exploit, just ignore it (and know that a patch is on the way)," reads a Lionhead post on the Fable 2 blog.
Wondering how to transfer money into Fable 2 from the Xbox Live Arcade "Fable 2 Pub Games" due out tomorrow? Good news then, because Lionhead's been in touch to tell Eurogamer how it works.
Microsoft has announced that Fable 2 will be released in Europe on 24th October exclusively for Xbox 360.
Meanwhile, the Fable 2 Pub Games title for Xbox Live Arcade will be released next week on 13th August for 800 Microsoft Points (GBP 6.80 / EUR 9.60).
Fable 2 is a vast, branching, emotional action-RPG developed by Lionhead, in which players embark on a journey heavily influenced by practical and moral choices.
Lionhead already has plans for three more Fable games, according to Peter Molyneux.
Few game developers speak their minds as honestly as Peter Molyneux, and while it's landed him in trouble with publishers and gamers alike in the past, it doesn't seem to be hurting his overall reputation as one of the industry's most interesting personalities. Just before he unveiled Fable 2's typically iconoclastic take on co-op at E3, we caught up with him at Lionhead's offices to discuss, among other things, the dangers of complexity and how his team feels when he goes off to speak to the press.
Peter Molyneux ducked questions about a possible Lionhead MMO game during a chat with Eurogamer prior to E3 and gave the impression that he's bound to secrecy.
The main quest in Fable II only takes 12 hours to finish.
Peter Molyneux has said Fable 2 will be released in October.
"I'm not a planner," Peter Molyneux is telling us. "I don't plan my life more than a few seconds into the future." We're sitting in a demo room in Lionhead's Guildford offices. There are timelines on the walls, and spreadsheets littered about the table. Controller in hand, Molyneux isn't admitting why most of his games show up late, he's explaining why his team decided to reinvent the wheel when it comes to co-op gaming. "Planning to play co-op for a few hours is not part of my experience," he sighs. "To me, co-op should be dynamic. If there is an opportunity, I should be able to take it, but it shouldn't interrupt my normal game."
Microsoft has decided to release the Fable 2 Pub Games on Live Arcade this August.
A new developer diary for Xbox 360 exclusive Fable 2 has offered a strong hint the game will be released in October.
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".
Microsoft plans to give us a look at Halo Wars during the upcoming July E3 event, as well as reveal more about headline-grabber Gears of War 2.
Peter Molyneux has said his next creation will be regarded as a "significant scientific achievement".
Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux has told Eurogamer there will be no playable demo for Fable 2 - at least not if the decision is left to him.
Peter Molyneux has said Fable 2 will be "content complete" by the end of this week, and assured us that any rumours it will slip to next year are "unfounded".
Microsoft has sneakily changed the Fable 2 release date to "this holiday", which is probably one of its favourite words.
Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux has revealed there will be a total of three Xbox Live Arcade games that will let you earn money for use in Fable 2.
Phil Harrison and Peter Molyneux have both agreed that game controllers are too complicated and put newcomers off, GamesIndustry.biz reports.
Peter Molyneux has revealed that certain Xbox Live Arcade games will allow you to earn virtual money that you can then spend in Fable 2.
Peter Molyneux is one of the headline speakers at this year's Game Developers Conference. As you'll know if you read the preview published yesterday, he's here to reveal more of Fable 2. Specifically he's been discussing co-op, and the innovation that will allow players to earn in-game gold by playing XBLA titles.
A Microsoft employee called Josh has shot Peter Molyneux's husband in the head. Molyneux confirms that this impossible to undo, and that his child will now be sent to a nearby orphanage. "You can get your kid to follow you," he points out, but you can't quickly get hitched again and dump the sprog on someone else. How about playing a sort of Pied Piper to other people's orphaned children? "You can go around and collect children," he says. "Whether or not that stays in to be honest depends on legal. What I worry about is children witnessing horrific things, like death of parents and stuff like that."
Peter Molyneux says that while he would prefer to have a hard disk to work with as standard, he believes that backing low-price console hardware is "really important".
Microsoft Game Studios boss Shane Kim has confirmed that the Marvel Universe MMO has been canned.
Fable 2 will be released in "late 2008", Peter Molyneux told Eurogamer readers today in a wide-ranging LiveText interview.
Good news, Eurogamers! Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux is lining up to talk to you in our second LiveText interview this Friday, 30th November, from 3pm GMT!
Lionhead president Peter Molyneux says that games have lost their sense of "wonder" and are in danger of becoming "increasingly niche".
Fable 2 staging director Georg Backer has spoken of Lionhead's desire to put games on the same footing as film and television drama by introducing "emotional, motivational, dramatic and immersive gameplay".
Peter Molyneux has admitted to GamesIndustry.biz that he feels there are "no excuses" for Lionhead not to make a "great game" any more, and that while they've come close in the past, they've never quite managed it - yet.
The Eurogamer TV crew will be catching up with Peter Molyneux for tea, chat and maybe more this Thursday at the Develop Conference in Brighton, and we're giving you the opportunity to interview the Fable creator as he sweats under the glare of our spotlight.
Including a couple of exclusives.
Lingering lovingly on Eurogamer TV this morning is a new developer diary for Fable 2.
Peter Molyneux has finally let slip one of his big secrets for Fable 2, revealing at GDC that you will have a canine companion to follow you throughout your adventures in Albion.
Lionhead has said today that Peter Molyneux's Fable 2 keynote at GDC in San Francisco will provide a "surprise and a revelation" for those following the sequel's development.
Lionhead's Peter Molyneux will be speaking at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in March - and he's promising to let us all in on one of Fable 2's big secrets.
Lionhead's Peter Molyneux has admitted that he sometimes changes things in his games to match the things he's been quoted as saying by the press.
Enthusiastic developer Peter Molyneux has revealed how he thinks the games industry needs to innovate in order to grow - by creating games that make a player feel loved.
As journalists we love Peter Molyneux, because when most people say they can't talk about their secret game projects, like the stone-hearted spoilsports they are, they generally mean it. But when Molyneux warns us he's taken a vow of omerta, what he actually means is he's going rattle away for ages and say as much as he possibly can without quite hoisting himself by any specific petard.