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Microsoft gamescom conference

Molyneux unveils Fable III.

Microsoft has delivered its gamescom 2009 conference, and we covered the keynote live from Cologne, Germany.

Peter Molyneux led the address, unveiling Fable III and discussing the lofty ideas within. Our Fable III preview has all the details.

Read on for a full, blow-by-blow, account of the Microsoft gamescom 2009 conference. The earliest entries are presented first.

Our live coverage of this event has finished.

Coverage

Wilkommen, bienvenue, welcome to the Microsoft / Lionhead press conference.

Robert Purchese

We're sitting in a big room in the Koelnmessse. There are medieval style-banners hanging from the walls - blue and red with crowns and fleur de lys on one side of the room, black with bloody eagle symbols on the other.

Robert Purchese

Molynoire is talking about the success he's had so far. "I've got a little bit of an announcement about Fable II."

Robert Purchese

It's something called "Fable episodic". As of September 29th, episodes 1 - 5 will be released.

Robert Purchese

The first chapter will be free - when you get to the end of one you can opt to buy the next one, or buy the rest of the game.

Robert Purchese

"Let's move on to talk about something else... FABLE III"

Robert Purchese

"Now of course we're developing Fable III. We'd be insane not to." Check the Eurogamer front page RIGHT NOW, Fable fans!

Robert Purchese

Molynoire is on stage.

Robert Purchese

"The third child is always the problem child," says Peter.

Robert Purchese

"The third game in the series tends to be a bit of a lull, you get bored of playing the character and the world..."

Robert Purchese

"We want people to expect the unexpected. I want fans to say, 'Oi, you should clean up this from Fable 2" and so on.

Robert Purchese

He wants to give us something really "new, fresh and different". In the first game, "We made a really good step forward with the dog" AAA STOP GOING ON ABOUT THE BLOODY DOG.

Robert Purchese

"I think there's something fundamentally wrong with RPGs like Fable... It's a mechanic that's been there since the eighties. I'm going to take that foundation stone and throw it away."

Robert Purchese

But he won't tell us what the foundation stone is today - he's leaving it as a "puzzle" for us. Thanks. Will it have a cat this time, Peter?

Robert Purchese

"For me, as a games designer, it's all about power and you feeling powerful."

Robert Purchese

He's showing us a Fable III teaser video now. "The kingdom of Albion is changing," says Zoe Wanamaker. "The kingdom needs a new leader."

Robert Purchese

On screen is a crown lying in woodland. A pair of feet under a skirt wander over. "The race for the crown has begun."

Robert Purchese

Peter again: "You are going to become the ruler of the whole of Albion. You've played in this land in Fable 1, in Fable 2 you became a hero; this time, why not rule Albion? Why not be a king or a queen?"

Robert Purchese

Your judgments will affect the whole of the land. "I want players to feel and experience what it's like to be a ruler."

Robert Purchese

"If you look at our iconic leaders like Obama or HAHAHA Gordon Brown HAHAHA" what? "History and the world and the evolution of mankind is based around these iconic leaders."

Robert Purchese

Do you get to "be" Barack Obama? That would be good.

Robert Purchese

You can "eradicate poverty" says Peter by giving all the money in your treasure room to the people. Or you can keep it all yourself and be more of a tyrant. The point is, there are always consequences.

Robert Purchese

You have a family as well - a king or a queen sitting at your side. Do you also have a son called Milo, Peter?

Robert Purchese

Concept shot now - a king sits on a throne surrounded by a nagging wife and loads of rotten kids.

Robert Purchese

Another pic - a queen relaxing on her throne, using a peasant as a footstool. A bit like when Bertie helps me review Wii games. [Hey! - Bertie]

Robert Purchese

You start the game as the son or daughter of the Hero from Fable II. For the first half of the game you have to lead a revolution against the tyrant king.

Robert Purchese

You must gather support, gain followers and unite factions.

Robert Purchese

"We've really been inspired by people like Joan of Arc, Richard III, Genghis Khan, Ben Fogle." Maybe not the last one.

Robert Purchese

"Ultimately you overthrow that terrible tyrant who rules Albion, but to do that you have to make some promises."

Robert Purchese

This bit of the game is called Journey to Rule, looks like. You have to promise things to the people who follow you.

Robert Purchese

The question is, do you keep those promises when you rule? "I look at Obama, and he's not looking as fresh faced as he was, is he? He looks a bit haggard. It's as if the truth has been revealed to him."

Robert Purchese

I wonder if Barack Obama is watching a live feed of this going, "How does Peter Molyneux stay so fresh-faced and young?"

Robert Purchese

A new slide now - Once You Rule. You're still a hero ruler, "very much like the captain in Star Trek".

Robert Purchese

You are a hero like Ceaser (sic) or Gengis khan (sic - who wrote these slides?)

Robert Purchese

You must decide which promises you can keep. You can use your gold to build up a certain region, help poorer people, let people off taxes and so on.

Robert Purchese

He's now showing us the image you'll see on the Eurogamer front page now. You can decide who will exist there, "Or whether it will be basically one person's back garden."

Robert Purchese

"There's a new house there - what are you going to do with that?" Add a conservatory?

Robert Purchese

Another pic now - a grey canal between cobbled streets. It's an industrial district - "a lot of injustice, crime, poverty" here. "What are you going to do about that?" Put in a Lidl?

Robert Purchese

A pic of the castle now, with the sun setting in the background. Are you going to spend loads of money on upgrading it, or let it go to rack and ruin and spend money on the poor? I vote loft conversion.

Robert Purchese

Another pic under the title "Not just Albion this time" - looks like a desert with strange pointy rocks sticking out of the sand. "You haven't seen all of Albion... We'll be unveiling more of that world in Fable III."

Robert Purchese

A new slide now - "Drama". Getting drama is tricky, says Peter. He should watch The Hills.

Robert Purchese

The slide says there will be some characters from Fable II returning.

Robert Purchese

"Look up the tale of what's happened in Oman in the last hundred years - it's fascinating and it almost fits perfectly what we're trying to do."

Robert Purchese

Apparently one brother tried to hold Oman back and the other tried to overthrow him - "It's like a story in itself."

Robert Purchese

"When you start investigating that, the amount of intrigue, backstabbing, terrible events that went on is almost unbelievable."

Robert Purchese

"But the big problem games have time and time again, especially with something like Fable - it's such a massive game... The big problem is seeing the story early enough."

Robert Purchese

They didn't quite get to the drama in Fable I and II because they didn't get to see the story till the game was almost finished.

Robert Purchese

So they've been experimenting with a new way of seeing the story early - it's called "staging". They wrote all the scripts, then went to Shepperton and hired a big sound stage, got a load of actors and actresses in and a proper director, and started acting out the whole story.

Robert Purchese

We're seeing some footage of that now. A woman kneels in front of a man on the throne - she is accused of treason.

Robert Purchese

Molynoire says they'd written the scene with the King walking around, but the staging and the ad-libbing by the actors enabled them to recast the whole scene.

Robert Purchese

"Our story isn't just one thread, it branches and merges and there are lots of choices and consequences, and we have to get to the centre of that as quickly as possible."

Robert Purchese

The staging video then goes back to the animators and the gameplay scripters. They're inspired as a result.

Robert Purchese

A new slide now - "Need some new gameplay."

Robert Purchese

"I know what you're thinking out there, you press people, because you're sneaky. You're thinking, is it going to be an RTS, then?"

Robert Purchese

NO, says Peter. They're putting a new mechanic in called "judgments". As king you can judge people and make them defend themselves.

Robert Purchese

Let's take an example - but this example "isn't in the game". Oh.

Robert Purchese

Say you're in your throne room and they bring in a girl caught stealing food. You can listen to the witness's statement and arguments for setting an example.

Robert Purchese

You can investigate things further yourself, or at any time say you've heard enough and make a judgment.

Robert Purchese

Or you can listen to the girl's case and excuses for why she stole. You can go and visit her family, for example, and see if they really are as poor as she says.

Robert Purchese

Then you can choose what to do - throw the girl a handful of gold or throw her in the dungeons? Can't you just give her an ASBO and an ankle bracelet, Peter?

Robert Purchese

There will be all sorts of judgments: "Everything from a crust of bread being stolen to a huge countrywide thing - shall we go to war?"

Robert Purchese

There's another new mechanic called Touch, too.

Robert Purchese

He's talking about how the English think farting is funny but Germans don't. Or something.

Robert Purchese

They were considering whether to do expressions in Fable III - "Could you really do the Michael Jackson moonwalk on your throne?" Well, he couldn't.

Robert Purchese

"In many games for me, the main character feels detached from the world. It's rare you see them physically touching people."

Robert Purchese

"In Fable 2, OK you could stroke your dog" that's two dog references now Peter THAT'S ENOUGH.

Robert Purchese

"Now we've got this new system of touching. When you meet someone you can shake their hand or refuse to. Later on you can turn that into a hug. Later on that can turn into an embrace." Where is this going?

Robert Purchese

"A full passionate snog. Then I won't tell you where it leads to, but you can use your imagination... I'm not saying there's cupping, by the way." Is there teabagging?

Robert Purchese

"Imagine being able to embrace your child. How does that make you feel?"

Robert Purchese

That's expression touch, but then there's dynamic touch, which "enables you at any time to reach out and touch someone - to hold someone's hand, to pull them along, to be pulled by then, to take the person you love to the top of a cliff and look at the sunset." And cup them?

Robert Purchese

"Imagine hearing the cries from a young child in the house, and you as a ruler storm in to save the child." In Fable I and Fable II, you'd get a button prompt - press A to save the child. With dynamic touch, you can pull the child out of the flames and the burning house.

Robert Purchese

You can cuddle them and reassure them and carry them out of the burning house. BUT WHO WILL SAVE THE DOG PETER.

Robert Purchese

"I am going to tease you with how we're doing this" NO CUPPPING PLEASE "That's only one tiny sliver of the gameplay we're unveiling."

Robert Purchese

Fable III is out in 2010 - "Don't expect it too early in 2010"

Robert Purchese

"On the Xbox 360. And we're still working hard on Milo and Kate."

Robert Purchese

"Please enjoy the sense of power we're going to give you with Fable III."

Robert Purchese

"One more thing - I am giving a talk at 1pm where I'm going into more detail about choices and consequences." Righto.

Robert Purchese

And he's off, and it looks like that's it. What no Xbox 360 Slim?

Robert Purchese

Well there you go, a first glimpse at Fable III from Pierre Molynoire himself. For more, check out our exclusive feature on the front page right now. Byeee!

Robert Purchese

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