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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It just keeps going wrong for poor old Fable 2 Pub Games, which we gave 3/10. Now it turns out that you can bet 600 gold coins for the price of 60, massively improving your odds in one of the card games.
The idea behind Fable 2 Pub Games is a Peter Molyneux special: gamble fictional cash and one day you can merge your Pub Games drunkard profile with your Fable 2 hero profile for a wodge of extra green on the streets of Albion. Or in this case gold. Pub Games will be bundled with Fable 2 - the standard and special editions - and is also available as a pre-order incentive for people who pick the game up at specific retailers, including branches of GAME in the UK. (Update: Lionhead now says something's up with this and codes aren't being distributed after all. We'll look into it.)
The question we've got to answer today though is whether Fable 2 Pub Games is good enough to stand alone, which is what it does on Xbox Live Arcade: you may be able to get it for free elsewhere, but otherwise it costs 800 Microsoft Points, or the equivalent of GBP 6.80 / EUR 9.60. Does it do enough to justify that?
Booting it up, you're presented with the choice of six playable characters, each with a fancy Robin Hood-style wanted poster avatar, and there are six "Hero" slots to fill as well, which is where your Fable 2 characters will be offered. Once you've made this initially arbitrary choice, you'd best head to the Tutorials page to get acquainted with the three gambling mini-games on offer.
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.