Fable II

Spotlight

VideoEG Expo: Peter Molyneux keynote

The evolution of the Fable series.

Lionhead's Peter Molyneux

"If I'm not careful I could break into tears."

The Lionhead King

Peter Molyneux on Fable, Jonathan Ross and parrots.

Key events

What's Fable really all about?

With a new game in development with a new team, what truly drives this fascinating series?

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.

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.

VideoWatch: My favourite game from Lionhead Studios

It's this week's Eurogamer Show.

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.

A celebration of Lionhead's finest games

One of Albion's greatest legends.

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.

Definitely not on rails

Post-Molyneux, Fable and Lionhead enter the next generation.

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 confirmed for February

Fable Trilogy confirmed for February

Includes Fables 2, 3 and Anniversary "at a discounted rate."

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.

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Making friends

Eurogamer investigates the complex world of companion AI.

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 says photorealism aids diversity, Notch disagrees

Can games do nuanced emotion like Brokeback Mountain yet?

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.

The new Lionhead "more about lots of individuals"

Fable dev praises Peter Molyneux as "irreplaceable".

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".

What Would Molydeux?

Eurogamer drops in on Brighton MolyJam 2012.

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.

Out of the Lion's Den: Why the Creators of Fable Left to Go it Alone

We talk exclusively to Another Place Productions' Dene and Simon Carter.

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.

Fable: The Journey domain registered

Along with three Kinect-themed titles.

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.

Molyneux: "Sorry if I've over-promised"

Admits telling fibs to keep journos awake.

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.

Fable de-make to revive promised ideas

Yes, you can plant the sodding acorn.

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.

Lionhead's Peter Molyneux

"If I'm not careful I could break into tears."

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.

Charge That Windmill

Alex Gambotto-Burke stands up for the Romeros, Molyneuxs and Cages of gaming.

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.

First Fable II: Game Episode is live

Details on how it works inside.

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.

Fable II GOTY edition in September

Original game plus two add-ons.

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.

E3: Molyneux reveal during MS conf?

Lionhead promises "a big presentation".

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.

New Fable II DLC gets date and price

See the Future in early May, under a fiver.

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).

Second batch of Fable II DLC revealed

See the Future offers just that.

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).

The Lionhead King

Peter Molyneux on Fable, Jonathan Ross and parrots.

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?

More Fable II DLC in development

But there's no Woss Fable III deal.

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.

Ross accidentally announces Fable III

Ross accidentally announces Fable III

UK broadcaster blurts news on Twitter.

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!!"

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BAFTA game nominations revealed

COD4, Fable II, GTAIV, LBP top the bill.

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.

Fable II gets bug-fixing patch

Fable II gets bug-fixing patch

It's paving the way for tomorrow's DLC.

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).

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Fable II DLC coming next week

Knothole Island date confirmed, again.

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 wins animal rights award

PETA praises Peter's pet project.

Fable II has been named the most animal-friendly videogame of 2008 by campaign group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Lionhead confirms Fable II DLC delay

Lionhead confirms Fable II DLC delay

Following Xbox.com report. Late Jan now.

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".

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Fable II Post-Mortem

EG chats to Peter Molyneux.

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?

Fable II patch

Fable II patch "coming along nicely"

Children taken off assassination hit list.

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.

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Fable II reveal delayed

Curtains to be drawn Monday 24th.

The big Fable II anouncement mooted last week on the Fable II dev blog has been delayed until Monday the 24th.

Big Fable II announcement next week

Big Fable II announcement next week

Dev blog post sparks DLC rumours.

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.

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Lionhead prioritising Fable II Abbot bug

"Some things slip through the net."

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".

Fable II online co-op for launch

Fable II online co-op for launch

Confirmed and free.

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.

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Fable II

Fable II

Heroic.

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.

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Molyneux's next game to show at GDC?

It'll be "politically contentious" if it does.

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.

Fable 2 co-op at launch - Lionhead

Fable 2 co-op at launch - Lionhead

"It looks like we've done it."

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.

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Molyneux asks critics to do him a favour

Wants us to get a non-gamer to play it too.

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.

The Art of Fable 2

Lionhead's artists down brushes for a pre-release chat.

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.

Fable 2 Pub Games glitch was intentional

Cheaters to face in-game consequences.

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 picks apart Too Human

"It tried to be something it was not."

Peter Molyneux reckons there was something "slightly off" about Too Human, and says he would have done things differently had he been in charge.

Fable 2 Pub Games to be patched

Fable 2 Pub Games to be patched

Gambling exploit on last legs.

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.

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Lionhead explains Fable 2 money transfers

How XBLA Pub Games make in-game gold.

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.

Fable 2 release date announced

Fable 2 release date announced

XBLA Pub Games also dated.

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.

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Lionhead's Peter Molyneux

On Fable 2, rubbish ideas and his admiration for MMOs.

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 considering MMO options

But won't say any more than that.

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.

Fable 2

Shock and orbs.

"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."

No demo for Fable 2, says Molyneux

Not if he has anything to do with it.

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.

Earn Fable 2 money in XBLA games

Plus, drop-in co-op confirmed for RPG.

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.

GDC: More from Molyneux

On hard drives, PC gaming and the Wii.

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.

GDC: Fable 2

Peter Molyneux shows us RPG co-op.

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."

Molyneux would prefer to have HDD

But he believes in 360 Core system.

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".

Fable 2 in late 2008 - Molyneux

Dev also talks up Lionhead's other game as you interview him.

Fable 2 will be released in "late 2008", Peter Molyneux told Eurogamer readers today in a wide-ranging LiveText interview.

Peter Molyneux LiveText on Fri

Facing your questions live.

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!

Wow factor has gone - Molyneux

And he's not happy about it.

Lionhead president Peter Molyneux says that games have lost their sense of "wonder" and are in danger of becoming "increasingly niche".

Your chance to grill Peter Molyneux

Flip halfway through.

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.

Fable 2

Including a couple of exclusives.

Including a couple of exclusives.

EGTV: Fable 2

It's all about love.

Lingering lovingly on Eurogamer TV this morning is a new developer diary for Fable 2.

GDC: Molyneux's Fable 2 revelation

One man and his dog.

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.

Fable 2: "revelation" at GDC

Lionhead releases first art.

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.

GDC promises Fable 2 reveal

Molyneux to speak (unusual!)

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.

Molyneux on emotional games

Says they'll push things forward.

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.

Peter Molyneux on Fable 2's 'big, big' secret

It's one word. Can you guess?

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.