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TVG chats with Peter Molyneux to get his opinion on the Fable critics…
With Fable breaking records across both sides of the Atlantic it seems as though the â??epicâ? RPG has been a success for all concerned. However in a manner befitting any title that Molyneux has his name attached to, the game came under heavy attack upon its release, with all manner of criticism over the games length and missing features to name but a few.
TVG caught up with Peter Molyneux after work was completed and the game shipped to retail, to get his thoughts and opinions on the criticisms along with some interesting details after the release.
TVG: With Fable breaking records across both sides of the Atlantic, what are the thoughts of yourself and the team?
PM: Obviously weâ??re all immensely proud that we managed to create a game that people enjoyed espeacially since it was our first attempt at an RPG and a console game to have pulled all of this off was tough. Fable isnâ??t perfect but it is a really good first vision into what Fable could become
TVG: It appears that any Lionhead title is always going to attract criticism after its release; have you been upset by any of the comments found on forums/websites across the net?
PM: Not at all â?“ only in as much as Iâ??d love to have done a game which appealed to everyone and I still hope to do that one day. A great many people have really enjoyed Fable but we do assess the good and bad points of every game we do.
TVG: Do you feel that concerns over the game length are justified, with an average time of 15 hours to complete *all* quests within the game?
PM: One of my focuses in the design was to make a game that people could finish and so our idea was not to create a core story which would take say 60 hours to complete but to make something that could be finished by more people and then to create lots and lots of side quest that would tempt players to continue playing. In retrospect I think the side quests should have been more appealing and maybe the story should have been longer
TVG: Weâ??ve heard some concerns that too much emphasis was placed on the image of your character, and not enough on aspects such as weapons and quests; what is your opinion on this?
PM: I still believe our focus on allowing the player to be a hero and for them to be the hero they wanted to be was the right one as I mentioned above I do wish weâ??d done more side quest though.
TVG: Do you feel that any of the aspects left out of the final game (riding steeds, owning pets, trees that grow, etcâ?¦) harmed the overall experience?
PM: Certainly some game features which seemed very important at the time seemed less so as the project progressed as they didnâ??t fit so well or we didnâ??t have the time to fully test them. Absolutely Iâ??d have loved to see pets, different modes of travel and growing trees in the final game but in the end we came to realise as we approached the games final push that Fable didnâ??t need more features it needed more polish.
TVG: The environments are very linear with a strict on-rails structure throughout them; this certainly appears to have irked a number of gamers, with previous claims of dense forests that you can get entirely lost in. Do you share this belief, or was this design always in the original concept?
PM: Actually I never envisaged Fable allowing total free roaming - I wanted people to be able to transport themselves around the world easily but I think free roaming and getting lost for the sake of it is not a terribly appealing prospect.
TVG: It was originally claimed that players would never have the same experience twice, with this quote appearing in 2002 â??Once an adventure has been completed, players can forge a new tale full of unexpected twists and turns, with new skills, powers, influences, allies and enemies.â? Do you believe this to be true with the final version?
PM: I still would claim that it is very hard to play through the game a second time and end up with exactly the same hero as the first time we did experiment with a randomly generated storyline but we could not get it working to the right quality. I have heard from lots of people who have played the game through several time playing evil and then a good hero
TVG: TVG personally enjoyed the definite structure to Fable, however some have raised the issue that it was too structured; do you believe that in particular the progression of your character from child to man is too rigid, as weâ??ve received numerous complaints from gamers who wanted to spend longer as a child?
PM: Originally we did have you playing far longer as a child but we found that you wanted to grow up as quickly as possible so we decide to let the hero progress to adulthood as soon as possible so that players could start on the game proper as quickly as they could
TVG: Fable was originally billed as the â??best RPG ever createdâ?, do you still believe this to be true?
PM: When you set out to make a game of course you should set your sights as high as possible and even though it was our first RPG yes we wanted to make it the best RPG ever - in game development you have to be ambitious - I think Fable introduces quite a lot of things that have never been seen in an RPG before but Iâ??d be a bit silly to claim that it is the greatest RPG of all time
TVG: Recently you have made suggestions that you will no longer talk about games until a relatively later stage in development to avoid disappointments; having enjoyed watching the development of several of your titles (most notably B&W and Fable) during the various stages of development, do you think this decision will hinder the loyal fans that follow Lionhead titles?
PM: I think that when I do talk about a game Iâ??ll have to be much clearer about what is in the game, what is being experimented with and whatâ??s been dropped. So you can expect more articles from me giving more detailed statistics on how the game is being developed
TVG: All set for Fable 2 then???
PM: I think you know better than to ask that question ! (Well it was worth a try â?“ ed)
TVG would like to thank Peter Molyneux for taking the time to answer our questions and hope that it provides a balance to the pages of criticism that have plagued forums across the Net.
Weâ??ll have more from Peter Molyneux and other Lionhead titles soon.